Michigan State basketball facing uphill battle to make the NCAA Tournament

Feb 25, 2024; East Lansing, Michigan, USA;  Michigan State Spartans forward Malik Hall (25) shoots
Feb 25, 2024; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Michigan State Spartans forward Malik Hall (25) shoots / Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Falling to a second straight underdog opponent at home as a 9.5-point favorite should have every Michigan State basketball coach, player, and fan heated on Monday.

The Spartans had two golden opportunities to add to their resume this past week with Iowa and Ohio State coming to town, but they blew both chances, going from potentially 19-9 overall down to 17-11 and facing a must-win situation in two of the final three games of the regular season.

Heck, there was talk of Michigan State being ranked when it faced Purdue this Saturday, but that was heading into the Iowa game. And we all know what happened there.

Now after two losses to NIT teams, Michigan State is facing a potential (likely) third straight loss on Saturday when it heads to West Lafayette where it hasn't won since 2014. That's right, the Spartans haven't won at Mackey since Gary Harris was still in the green and white.

So a 17-12 team with some really bad losses will have to beat Northwestern and go on the road to take down Indiana in the final game of the regular season just to approach 20 wins by the NCAA Tournament. And the Spartans will likely have to win a game in the Big Ten Tournament to be comfortably in the NCAA Tournament field.

They really did themselves a massive disservice this past week by losing to two teams that they should've probably beaten by double figures.

And Tom Izzo has to answer for that.

But for now, the NCAA Tournament streak is hanging in the balance and there's some doubt that it's going to continue. That shouldn't be the standard at Michigan State, though. We shouldn't be celebrating NCAA Tournament berths in East Lansing. We used to celebrate Final Fours and national titles. It's time to get back to that.

These past four years have been a bubble-filled nightmare.