Where MSU & U-M Men’s Basketball Stands Right Now
As we reach the final week of January, we have hit right about the halfway point of the Big Ten regular season. As of this writing (morning of January 27th), Purdue is the leader of the Big Ten with a 9-1 league record (20-1 overall). They are 2 1/2 games in front of second-place Rutgers.
And while the Boilermakers look like they'll win the league and get a number 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where do the hometown Michigan State Spartans and Michigan Wolverines stand at the halfway point?
Let's start with Michigan State:
The Spartans are 14-7 overall and 6-4 in the Big Ten after beating Iowa on Thursday night 63-61 at the Breslin Center.
State has looked really good at times this season, and has also looked really bad at other times. Tyson Walker and A.J. Hoggard (pictured) are very good guards. And Joey Hauser has largely had the boos he heard last year disappear whit his consistently good play.
But after a strong start, junior big man Mady Sissoko has leveled off. And that has been magnified with the loss of Malik Hall due to injury, Jaden Akins has had his moments, but his injury early this season has hindered him. And sophomore Pierre Brooks hasn't been the player that the coaches had hoped to see so far.
The freshmen (Kohler, Cooper, and Holloman) have been good in spots. But they are bench players at this stage of their development.
They'll likely make the NCAA Tournament for the 25th straight time. But I don't see a deep run (at least the Sweet 16) in this team.
As for Michigan:
Michigan is 11-9 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten after Thursday night's 75-70 loss to Number 1 Purdue at the Crisler Center.
Folks, Michigan isn't very good this year. They have struggled defensively for most of this season. And while Hunter Dickinson (pictured above) has been pretty good for the most part, he hasn't been as dominant as people thought he'd be. And freshman sensation Jett Howard is hurt. Other than those two, they don't have anybody who's a consistent player. Ok, Kobe Bufkin's been good. But that's it.
They lost lots of players from last year's Sweet 16 team. Brandon Johns and Frankie Collins transferred. Moussa Diabate, Caleb Houstan, and Devante Jones went to the pros. And incoming transfer point guard Jaelen Llewellen got hurt and is out for the year. They miss him.
It doesn't look good for the Wolverines to make the NCAA's. They almost have to win out to have a chance. So expect the "NIT, NIT!!" chants to get louder in February and March.
What do you guys think? Let us know!