Michigan State University has long been a contender in NCAA tournament play. From their record-breaking NCAA tournament appearances to their Big Ten championships, the Spartans have a history of success.
This article will provide an overview of MSU’s credentials and answer the question: will MSU make the NCAA tournament?
History of the Program
Michigan State University (MSU) first fielded a basketball team in 1898, becoming one of the first college teams to do so. Through more than 120 years of competition, the Spartans have established themselves as one of the country’s premier basketball programs and earned three National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships. The program’s most successful period came under legendary head coach Tom Izzo, who began his tenure in 1995 and has since taken MSU to six Final Fours, eight Big Ten Conference tournament titles, and nine Big Ten regular-season titles.
The program is also well known for producing some of the best players in collegiate basketball history. MSU is a proud alma mater of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, one of the NCAA’s most decorated players ever, and former NBA legend Steve Smith. In recent years, future pros such as Miles Bridges and Draymond Green have been produced through the Spartan team before going on to become high-level professionals in their respective leagues.
Having produced three NCAA championships and with a successful history that includes some incredible players over its existence thus far, Michigan State continues to be a constant contender at both divisional and national levels today. With an experienced coach at the helm and an outstanding cast of returning veterans leading an energetic roster each year — it’s no wonder why many expect MSU to continue its strong perennial showings on college basketball’s biggest stage for many years to come.
Overview of the Current Team
Currently, the Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball team is ranked No. 14 in the nation and possess an impressive 21-9 overall record. Headed by head coach Tom Izzo, MSU currently holds a ninth seed in the NCAA tournament. Through leadership and cohesive teamwork, Michigan State ranks as one of the top teams nationally and among Big Ten conference rivals.
Led by five seniors, including last year’s Big Ten Player of Year Cassius Winston, MSU has talented players at every positional spot. Winston serves as a vocal leader for young players on the roster like Aaron Henry and Xavier Tillman Sr., who rely on him for guidance through perimeter play.
MSU excels with its matchup-zone defense which typically confuses opponents due to its unpredictability. The Spartans are also opportunistic with their transition offense. With highly efficient shooters from range like Gabe Brown being complemented by a post presence like center Xavier Tillman Sr., the Spartans possess an offensive attack that can match or exceed most opponents.
Due to their depth and superior play as a team unit this season, MSU have solidified themselves as contenders for postseason success in 2020. Three of Michigan State’s losses have come against elite competition such as Indiana, Maryland and Penn State who are all nationally ranked near the top 25. Nevertheless, many observers are optimistic that MSU will make it deep into this year’s NCAA tournament if they sustain consistent team play on both ends of the floor going forward.
Michigan State University is a strong contender for the NCAA tournament. The Spartans have a talented group of players that are poised to make a run at the championship.
Leading the way is Miles Bridges, who takes great care of the ball and is an all-around strong player both on offense and defense. He’s got an impressive stat line this season, averaging 17 points per game while shooting 44.9% from beyond the arc. He also leads with 8.3 rebounds per game, dishing out 3 total blocks and hits 1 steal every contest. His leadership on court will be key if MSU looks to make a deep run in March madness this year.
Cassius Winston is another major threat to opponents when on court for Michigan State as he ranks second in scoring with 14 PPG, passes for 6 assists a game and adds 2 rebounds each matchup to his resume as he continues his Sophomore drive pushing him closer and closer to the NBA draft come time in 2021 when he becomes an eligable draft pick after his Jr year ends.
Jaren Jackson Jr., also has given MSU’s team quite pivotal play this winter boasting 12 points per game while dominating opponents in rebounds through snatching 7 boards each matchup as well as blocking 1 shot every opportunity guarding his sides of play within the midst of most matches. His defensive skill set was recently outlines as one of 20 players undrafted yet still invited to partake in the NBA’s Draft Combine pending further medical scan results which will affect how high or low potential teams looking too draft him may range with offers without skipping any steps along their decision making path come draft night prepare later this upcoming mid-May meaning Jaren more than likely looking forwarded later during March’s Championship when all may look silly but still deserve recognition even during losing ties associated between such outcomes remains studied throughly by multiple teams looking for future and current big name affiliations thrusted within rank amongst avid N-Ball devotees eager awaiting various conferences success patterns surrounding schools abilities via there respective hopeful streaks victories or shortcoming results allowing.
Will MSU Make the NCAA Tournament
MSU’s performance in the Big Ten has been impressive this season. The Spartans are currently second in the conference standings and have a respectable 10-6 record against B1G opponents. They have also won their last five games, which has put them in contention for an NCAA Tournament berth.
Let’s take a closer look at MSU’s recent performance to determine if they have what it takes to make it to the Big Dance.
Michigan State University has had a long and storied history when it comes to college basketball. From 1979 until the present, the Spartans have been a regular fixture in the NCAA Tournament and have had notable success in the Big Ten Conference. The program has produced numerous All-Americans and is consistently one of the top teams in the nation. For example, under head coach Tom Izzo, the Spartans have won seven Big Ten regular season championships (1999, 2000, 2001, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) and five Big Ten Tournament championships (1999, 2000, 2012, 2014 & 2016).
The Spartans have an impressive record when it comes to making NCAA Tournament appearances. Under Izzo’s guidance they’ve earned 15 bids to the tournament since 1999. They’ve advanced to at least the Elite Eight nine times during that span with College World Series runs in 1999 & 2015 as well as three Final Four appearances (1999 ,2000 & 2019). With such a successful track record it is easy to see why MSU is a contender for postseason play each year.
Strength of Schedule
Michigan State University (MSU) is a highly competitive team in NCAA Division I sports. As the Spartans, they are members of the Big Ten Conference, where they consistently rank at or near the top in performance. To analyze their chances of making the NCAA tournament, it is important to consider all aspects that may impact their strength of schedule.
The Spartans have one of the strongest schedules in college basketball season after season, consistently facing off against powerhouse opponents from strong conferences like the Big Ten and ACC. Notable opponents they have faced include Kansas and Duke, along with regular Big Ten opponents such as Purdue and Wisconsin.
In addition to formidable opponents in their conference schedule, MSU also takes on challenging out-of-conference competition with games against Villanova, Kentucky and other NCAA powerhouses almost annually. With these challenging teams on their schedule each year coupled with multiple games against their dangerous Big Ten competition, MSU’s performance will always be tested throughout an 18-game conference season.
Finally, if MSU performs well in non-conference match-ups before beginning their conference season and then knocks off top contenders during league play like Purdue or Ohio State, there is no doubt that the Spartans will be a contender for March Madness every single year. The Spartans have all of the necessary components needed for success on both sides of the court with elite backcourt leadership from Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford supported by a deep frontcourt rotation led by Xavier Tillman Sr., Kenny Goins Jr., Malik Hall and Marcus Bingham Jr who could make them among one of Hawaii’s toughest teams to beat this season.
The Michigan State Spartans have been one of the most successful teams in the Big Ten Conference, reaching the NCAA Championship game in both 2018 and 2019. In 2020, MSU looks to be a contender again, boasting an impressive roster led by Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston and All-Big Ten honorable mention Xavier Tillman.
The key to making a deep run this season for MSU will be a few key wins. It starts with the always-tough Michigan Wolverines who finished two games ahead of MSU in the conference standings last season. A win against U of M would give a confidence boost and some momentum as they begin their tournament run in March.
Another big game will be when they play defending champion Virginia Cavaliers on December 28th at home. With so much talent on both sides it should be an incredible game. A win there could solidify their spot as one of the nation’s elite teams and make them even more likely to make another deep tourney run this year.
Finally, if MSU can manage solid wins against tournament contenders Purdue Boilermakers, Maryland Terrapins and Ohio State Buckeyes in Big Ten play then there should be no doubt that MSU will make another NCAA Tournament run. With a few key victories, Michigan State would cement their status as one of college basketball’s premier programs once again!
NCAA Tournament Outlook
Michigan State has had a solid basketball season thus far and is a serious contender for the NCAA tournament. With several key wins, strong defense, and an experienced coaching staff, the Spartans are in a good position to make it to March Madness.
In order to better understand the NCAA tournament outlook for MSU, it’s necessary to look at the various factors that will determine their chances. Let’s explore.
The charm of the NCAA Tournament’s unpredictable nature has made it one of the most popular post-season competitions in sports. Every season, college basketball fans voraciously follow their favorite teams throughout the regular and post-season in hopes of winning it all. But before coaches, fans, and players can even think about competing for a national championship, teams must first be selected by the Selection Committee.
Unlike many other professional sports leagues which use season records to determine playoff qualifiers, NCAA Tournament selections are based on an array of criteria that is evaluated and employed by a selection committee comprised of athletic directors and conference commissioners across Division I college basketball programs. Generally speaking, these criteria can be broken down into four categories: wins and losses; strength of schedule; general metrics (including RPI); and team resumes (including quality wins).
For all Division I teams hoping to make March Madness, their performance throughout the regular season will be judged on such metrics as overall wins (both in conference games as well as out-of-conference games), conference standings, total losses, strength of schedule rankings (which take into account factors such as opponents win percentage), won-loss records against “at large” teams (teams that were ranked for two weeks prior to February 1st), margin of victory/defeat in their last 10 games; individual player performances; and how they fared against common opponents. Additionally, the Selection Committee also takes into account other metrics such as rankings from major polls (AP/Coaches Polls) as well as team rankings generated by statistical models such as KenPom’s Adjusted Efficiency Margin or Sagarin Ratings. Ultimately though, decisions are based on more than pure numbers — every decision is subjective to some degree.
While there is no one set formula used when selecting tournament qualifiers, understanding the various criteria involved can help you gain insight into which teams will likely make it to the Big Dance come March. Shrewd analysis often pays dividends when trying to forecast tournament results ahead of time — so grab your notepad and start researching!
RPI and NET Rankings
Michigan State’s RPI and NET rankings are a major factor in why the Spartans could make a deep run in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Currently, Michigan State is ranked third in RPI and 11th in NET. These rankings show that no team is more equipped to make a Final Four run than the Spartans.
With an 18-6 record overall and 15-4 against Division I opponents, an NCAA berth should not be out of reach for Michigan State. Additionally, the Spartans have proven to be one of the best teams defensively, with an adjusted defensive efficiency rating of 90.1 according to KenPom rankings. Showing this level of performance on both ends of the court bodes well for MSU’s chances at making it deep into March Madness.
Further helping Michigan State stand out from other potential NCAA contenders is their impressive strength of schedule (3rd nationally) which looks even more stellar when coupled with their conference record (10-3 Big Ten). Not only will these metrics boost the Spartans’ chances at tournament selection, but they indicate that Michigan State can hold its own against any team that it might face in March Madness.
The combination of these two metrics— RPI and NET ranking — along with Michigan State’s impressive resume as a whole makes them a strong contender for this year’s NCAA tournament selection process.
NCAA Tournament Predictions
The NCAA Tournament is one of the most anticipated events in college basketball. Every year, 68 teams participate in the tournament, but only one team will emerge as national champions. Numerous factors are taken into consideration when predicting which teams have the best chance at making it to the big dance and it’s often hard to identify who will make a strong run deep into March Madness. So why is Michigan State University a contender?
Michigan State has consistently shown its ability to win tough games and make deep tournament runs under head coach Tom Izzo, making them a popular pick for NCAA Tournament success this season. The Spartans have plenty of experience with players like Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman, both senior guards who were key contributors on last year’s Final Four run. Their talented roster also includes Senior Aaron Henry, who is an exceptional all-around performer and has continued to show growth from when he was a freshman. Michigan State leads their conference with a record of 20-4 (14-4 Big Ten). They are currently ranked #7 in the AP Top 25 poll and boast wins over other top teams such as #2 Kansas, #3 Maryland and #12 Louisville.
Beating quality opponents is just one factor that contributes to making Msu serious contenders for an NCAA Tournament run this year. With their deep bench littered with upperclassmen as well as freshmen such as Rocket Watts and Malik Hall they possess diversity throughout their lineup essential for long term success come tournament time. No matter how far they go in the NCAA Tournament, Michigan State stands out as one of the toughest teams in college basketball and remains a favorite amongst sports fans everywhere due to their exciting style of play each night out on the court.
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