3 reasons Michigan State basketball underachieved in the regular season

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo reacts to a play against Northwestern during the second half at
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo reacts to a play against Northwestern during the second half at / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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3. The center position

So much has been said about the centers on the this team, but its for good reason.

If you combine the points per game for Mady Sissoko, Jaxon Kohler, and Carson Cooper, it would rank 12th in the conference at the position. Michigan State's leading rebounder ranks 15th in the Big Ten. There are 14 teams, meaning Illinois' second-best rebounder would be the best rebounder on this team. Combine these three's rebounds, and they still don't come out on top of the Big Ten. No other team has less shot attempts from the center position meaning Malik Hall and the guards have to make their shots. If they don't, this team loses and in those games where shooting went cold (take your pick), this team could have used an easy bucket down low in the worst way.

The team saw it first hand with Indiana's Kel'el Ware going for 28 points and treating our centers like children. This team cannot rebound and when they do, they can't hold on to it. I'm not sure a center outside of Xavier Booker has made a shot from over 1.5 feet from the basket. When one position on the court can't even be NCAA average at anything, it brings the rest of the team down. It adds that much more press to the shooters who know they have to make shots because low-percentage shots like long twos and contested driving layups are still a better option than passing down low.

Earlier this week, Tom Izzo even admitted that center was going to be sub-standard but it was OK because his guards were supposed to be elite as if AJ Hoggard isn't an infamous headcase in stretches of the season.

One could argue that not only are there no centers on this team that are major program-caliber, but actually make the team worse due to lack of floor spacing, pressure to make outside shots, and essentially making every possession a 4 vs. 5 disadvantage for the Spartans.

Yes, there are examples of bringing in a transfer and messing up the chemistry of the team, but with the talent on the current roster and the outcome of the season, could a top-15 transfer center have made anything worse? The worst thing that could have happened, missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years after having a preseason top-five team, is happening right in front of our eyes. Some "experts" have the Spartans in but they're not 100 percent all the time.

The team is facing a do-or-die scenario on Thursday against Minnesota, yet, they're on social media complaining about Big Ten awards.

I'll still root like no other for these guys, and we've seen flashes of that top-five team. But that's all they are: flashes. And since they didn't take the regular season seriously (Malik Hall admitted that they got complacent during the season), why should the postseason be any different?