Is there any team in the nation that’s hotter than No. 3 Michigan State right now? I would say probably No. 1 Duke, but other than the Blue Devils I would argue the Spartans are playing the best in the country.
Since losing to the aforementioned Duke Blue Devils, Michigan State has ripped off seven straight wins to be sitting at 8-1 thus far on the season. This winning streak includes an average margin of victory of 21.5 points. It also includes back-to-back wins over then-top 10 teams — North Carolina and Notre Dame.
It’s a perfect storm for Michigan State over the next few months. A number of players are starting to improve and the team as a whole is meshing together. The schedule also sets up very well for the Spartans creating the question — when will Michigan State lose again? It appears it won’t be for quite awhile as long as Michigan State stays healthy.
I’ll take a quick look at the upcoming schedule and give you my thoughts on when Michigan State will finally lose again. Hint: it won’t be till way after Christmas.
Dec. 9 vs. Southern Utah Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds of Southern Utah rank 320 out of 351 teams in the KenPom Rankings. This should be an easy double-digit victory.
Dec. 16 vs. Oakland Golden Grizzlies (at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit)
Oakland always seems to play Michigan State tough — remember that overtime battle two years ago when the Spartans were ranked No. 1? The Golden Grizzlies are again solid but a 43-point loss at Kansas earlier this year suggests this one should be a convincing win for the Spartans.
Dec. 18 vs. Houston Baptist Huskies
This will be the first meeting between Michigan State and Houston Baptist. The Huskies were picked to finish in the bottom half of the Southland Conference so don’t expect much of a game in this one. The streak rolls onto 10 games.
Dec. 21 vs. Long Beach State 49ers
Historically, Long Beach State has played some good games against Michigan State. However, the last meeting was 1994, and this matchup shouldn’t be very close.
Dec. 29 vs. Cleveland State Vikings
Rutgers held the Vikings to only 38 points earlier this year. Can this stout Michigan State defense hold them to even fewer points? Another blowout win for Sparty.
Dec. 31 vs. Savannah State Tigers
Michigan State finishes non-conference play with a New Year’s Eve home tilt against Savannah State. As of right now, this would be the fourth straight ranked opponent for the Tigers so by the time they roll into the Breslin Center they should be beaten up. Another cake walk for Michigan State.
Jan. 4 vs. Maryland Terrapins
Finally, we return to conference play with an intriguing home matchup. The Terps have some shooting threats that are good enough to hang with the Spartans. The students will be gone, but the home court atmosphere of the Breslin Center will still be too much for Maryland.
Jan. 7 at Ohio State Buckeyes
Michigan State’s first road game in over a month could create some issues. Jae’Sean Tate has the ability to go off but I don’t think the Buckeyes have enough to complete the upset. It’s close but the streak continues — up to 15 games now.
Jan. 10 vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
If you beat Rutgers on the road then you should handle them at home. This should be a blowout.
Jan. 13 vs. Michigan Wolverines
If this game was in Ann Arbor then I’d probably take the Wolverines. However, the lone meeting between these two rivals is in East Lansing, and as of right now Michigan hasn’t proven they can win on the road. Unless Michigan shoots lights out like it did last year at the Crisler Center against the Spartans, this should be a Michigan State victory.
Jan. 19 vs. Indiana Hoosiers
Similar to my take on the Wolverines, I think Indiana can get up and pull off an upset like this at home. But nothing so far this year suggests they can come into the Breslin Center and win this game. Maybe by mid January that’ll be different though.
Jan. 22 at Illinois Fighting Illini
By this point in the season Illinois could be a real threat to win this game. More time under new head coach Brad Underwood will only improve the Fighting Illini. This one is close until the end, but Michigan State makes a few more plays to squeak out the victory.
Jan. 26 vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Where will Wisconsin be by late January? The Badgers have had a rough start to the season but by this point I’m anticipating they’ll be back on track. This will be a traditional Big Ten battle, but Michigan State’s depth will give the Spartans the advantage. Especially, when it comes to foul trouble in this old-fashion fist fight of a game.
Jan. 28 at Maryland Terrapins
This is where the streak comes to an end. Maryland isn’t a juggernaut this year but playing at College Park is never easy. A key factor in this matchup is that this game comes only two days after what I’m predicting to be a hard fought game against Wisconsin. Maryland’s sharp shooting ability and a tired Spartans’ team will be enough for the Terps to pull off the upset and end the winning streak at 20 games.
If this goes as I project, Michigan State would be 21-1 overall and 9-0 in the Big Ten before losing its next game. That would be one hell of a start to conference play and would put Michigan State in great position for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Will this streak of wins actually happen? It’s hard to guarantee anything in college basketball, especially in the Big Ten, which normally has a lot of parity. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Spartans stumble somewhere along the way — at Ohio State, home against Michigan and at Illinois are a few possible slip-ups. However, reeling off a winning streak of this nature is certainly capable and if they continue to improve then fans should expect a strong run over the next two months.
I’m up for debate on this prediction! Let me know how many wins you believe Michigan State can reel off in the comments section below!