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This is all too familiar for Michigan State


Down on Michigan State? That’s understandable.

The Spartans began the season No. 2 in the polls (guilty), but have been mildly disappointing through nine games. An optimist would say that their three losses have come to UConn, Duke and Syracuse, none of which have lost yet.

But 6-3 isn’t what fans expected. (Or us media/blogger types. But let’s focus on who’s hurting the most, shall we?))

Except … this kind of thing has happened to Tom Izzo’s team before. And by before, I mean every season. KJ at The Only Colors has the details in this excellent post, though it’s best summed up through this table.



AP Rank


Top 50


Top 100

Big Ten




NCAA Result

2002-03#91-22-310-6#7Elite Eight
2003-04#30-52-512-4#71st Round
2004-05#130-22-213-3#5Final Four
2005-06#43-14-18-8#61st Round
2006-07--1-23-28-8#92nd Round
2007-08#83-15-112-6#5Sweet 16
2008-09#62-12-215-3#2Runner Up
2009-10#20-22-314-4#5Final Four

The Spartans are old hat at this. Still, it’s not easy on the fans, who are right to worry about several factors. Per KJ, those are:

  • Turnovers
  • Offensive cohesion
  • Disappointing play from the frontcourt

Is there an upside to all of this? Yes, but much of it depends on Kalin Lucas’ health and finding reliable bench production from Keith Appling, Garrick Sherman, Derrick Nix and/or Adreian Payne.

Also, there’s the notion that Izzo’s team always find a way to perform come March.

But, just once, I’d like see what happens when an Izzo team plays like a Top 5 team from the start of the season. Guess I need a time machine for that.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller.