How good is this Michigan State basketball team? It's a question I've been asking since the season started on an aircraft carrier in San Diego, California. This season has been an interesting ride thus far, and my view of the team has run the gamut from "They have potential" to "They're going through growing pains" and now to, "They seem to be peaking at just the right time." The key word in that last statement being seem. As much as I love the way the Spartans have been playing since the Illinois debacle, I'm not completely sold on them as a conference champion and/or Final Four challenger just yet.
In about a half-hour, the Spartans face a tough road battle against a beleaguered Purdue team. The Boilermakers took a hit with Kelsey Barlow's dismissal from the team and D.J. Byrd's suspension. How will the Boilermakers react? Will they play with renewed passion and vigor?...or will they play like a three-legged dog? I believe they will play hard, and how the Spartans respond will go a long way to determining whether they will win and ultimately go on to winning the Big Ten title.
As Tom Izzo said in his pregame show, championships are won on the road. Starting today, the Spartans have three tough road games left against Purdue, Indiana, and Minnesota. If MSU can find a way to take care of business on the road by winning at least two of the remaining three, and sweeping their final two home games, they will win at least a share of the title.
So what will happen today? I believe that the Spartans will find a way to win, but it probably won't be easy.