Michigan State Basketball: 3 benchmarks to prepare for the NCAA Tournament

Iowa v Michigan State
Iowa v Michigan State / Rey Del Rio/GettyImages
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Look. A lot of fans, including me, said some things out of frustration after Sunday's loss to Ohio State and those takes have really divided the Michigan State basketball fanbase into those who demand more out of a program with high expectations and those who think Tom Izzo is immune to any criticism or second guessing because of a championship that happened 24 years ago.

To be honest, a lot of the frustration from the former camp also comes from fans who have had to watch a drowning football program who has come up for air once in the past eight seasons. Down years are allowed and every single team has them. The frustration also stems from knowing this team can make a deep run but the players and coaches continually get in their own way of winning.

This team, on paper, had the perfect mix of veteran experience and young talent. We saw flashes of a championship-caliber team against Arizona, Baylor, Illinois, and Indiana State. But then they play to the level of an Iowa, Minnesota, or Ohio State and and any thought of this team turning the corner hits a wall.

No, I don't want Izzo fired, but I think it's fair to say that changes need to be made. Whether it's embracing the transfer portal or finding a more efficient offensive coordinator, but that's a conversation for a different time and the focus is still on this season.

The season is not over and it's not even close to being a lost season yet. Here are three indicators that the Spartans are able to "flip the switch" as we head to the Big Dance.