Monday, February 17, 2014

Michigan, MSU losses disappointing, but not critical

When I look at the Big Ten, I see one legitimate NCAA championship contender. It is Michigan State. The Spartans not only have athleticism, but depth and experience. I am not sure if Gary Harris and Adreian Payne aren't the two best players in the Big Ten. The Spartans have had to fight through an uncommon rash of injuries this season, and just lost at home to the Big Ten's version of college basketball plankton Sunday, Nebraska.
But ultimately, it likely will make the Spartans a better team. Tom Izzo has this tendency to turn such adversity into teaching moments because he commands the attention of his team even more at time of crisis.
Michigan got a lot respect going to Madison and knocking off the Badgers when they were ranked No.3. Wisconsin returned the favor Saturday, but it wasn't a shock.
The Wolverines are more flawed than the Spartans. They either hit their outside shots or they are in trouble. The downside of getting the big-time respect Nik Stauskas did after the Wolverines defeated three Top 10 teams, two on the road, in a span of a week, is the extra attention it gets from opposing defenses. Stauskas hasn't handled that extra defensive attention too well, and the Wolverines are very dependent on his scoring. But it doesn't mean Stauskas won't come out of his funk. He is capable, and Wolverines' coach John Beilein has displayed continually he has the ability to get the most from his teams, flaws and all.
This past weekend's losses are not going to diminish the MSU at Michigan game this Sunday, by any means.
It's not like both teams are at the bottom of the Big Ten standings. Rather, they are at the top.


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