COLUMN: MSU tournament quickly approaching

Zak Everett, Reporter

With a tough loss to Maryland in the Big Ten tournament on Thursday, Michigan State now has to wait until Sunday to see if they will make their 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance in a row. Now with Michigan State’s tournament hopes hanging on the balance, I will make a case as to why Michigan State should make the tournament.

Quality wins

Michigan State has maybe the best collection of wins in the country, with three top five victories over Illinois, Ohio State, and Michigan. No other team has more than one top five win. Michigan State also has quality wins over Indiana (twice), Duke, and Rutgers. Michigan State has five “Quad 1” wins. A “Quad 1” win is defined as one of three things: a home win against a team in the top 30 of the NET, a neutral-court win against a team in the top 50, or a road win against a team in the top 75. Not only does Michigan State have several quality wins, Michigan State does not have any losses to a “Quad 3” or “Quad 4” team. Quality wins is just one indicator as to why Michigan State is a tournament team. 

Strength of schedule 

The second reason is the strength of schedule. Michigan State has had a gruesome schedule, especially to end the season. They played seven games in 16 days, and three of those teams were top five teams in the country. Not to mention they play in the toughest conference in college basketball. To illustrate how tough the Big Ten is, this stat will prove it; every single Big Ten team has the top 20 toughest schedule. 14 Big Ten teams all have the 20th toughest schedule or higher! Meaning every Big Ten team beat each other up during the season. Michigan State having a (9-12) record in the Big Ten does not mean they are bad, it just means the Big Ten is good. 

The legacy

The last reason is Tom Izzo and the Michigan State legacy. Tom Izzo is a Hall of Fame coach who has won National Championships, been to eight Final Fours and has done so much during his years at Michigan State. The selection committee will say they don’t take into account any other year than this year, but everyone knows that’s not true. If that wasn’t true, then 13-11 Duke still wouldn’t be in consideration. Michigan State has a streak of 22 years making the tournament for a reason, Tom Izzo gets his team ready to play. The selection committee knows that if they choose an already qualified Michigan State team to make the tournament it not only makes the first round of the tournament better, but it could make the tournament as a whole better. Michigan State has done it before, they’ve been a lower seed and made a run to the final four, and it made it interesting television. 

Michigan has the quality wins, the strength of schedule, and the legacy, Michigan State should be a no brainer to make the NCAA Tournament.