Michigan State hasn’t proven it’s a championship team

Rutgers' Issa Thiam (35) grabs a rebound against Michigan State's Joshua Langford, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in East Lansing, Mich. Michigan State won 76-72 in overtime. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
al goldis/AP
Rutgers gave Michigan State all it could handle Wednesday before the Spartans prevailed in overtime.

I can’t decide how good Michigan State is.

Watching the Spartans struggle to beat Rutgers in overtime Wednesday, they didn’t look like a Final Four team, that’s for sure. The game was in East Lansing, too, and the Spartans were lucky to get a win.

Or are they the team that beat North Carolina, 63-45, on a neutral court or Notre Dame, 81-63? That group looked like it could win a national championship.


Maybe it was just motivation against Rutgers. That shouldn’t be a problem Saturday afternoon when the Michigan State hosts Michigan (noon, Fox). The combination of Tom Izzo’s wrath from the poor performance against Rutgers and the rivalry aspect of the game should lead to a good performance.

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If not, I’ll have more doubts.

.   .   .

Other games I’d like to see this weekend:


Marquette at Butler: Marquette is a bunch of entertaining 3-point chuckers, and the Fightin’ McGuires are coming off a big home win against Seton Hall. Now they have to conquer Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse.



Saint Bonaventure at Rhode Island: Bona has been slumping, but this is still a matchup of the two best teams in the Atlantic 10. Rhody is aiming to go undefeated at home this season.

Purdue at Minnesota: Purdue is on a 12-game winning streak; Minnesota is buried in controversy (center Reggie Lynch has been thrown out of school amid sexual assault allegations) and injury (Amir Coffey has a bad shoulder) — a really bad combination.

Kansas State at Kansas: K State lost two in a row but bounced back with an impressive victory over Oklahoma State. The Wildcats are underrated, but they never win at Allen Fieldhouse. That probably won’t change.

TCU at Oklahoma: Sully’s Court Player of the Year Trae Young at home, up against some good TCU guards. What could be more entertaining?

West Virginia at Texas Tech: Texas Tech won at Kansas; it should win at home against West Virginia. I don’t think so. West Virginia is just playing too well.


Creighton at Xavier: X has lost two in a row, so it will be good to be back home. The Muskies have to get back on track against a tough opponent.

Miami at Clemson: Clemson lost a tough one at N.C. State Thursday night. I don’t think the Tigers have reached the level where they can come back two days later and beat a high-quality opponent like Miami, even on their home court.

Texas A&M at Tennessee: A&M has collapsed with a four-game losing streak and now faces the Volunteers, who had a great week beating Kentucky at home and Vandy in Nashville. A loss here spells big trouble for A&M.

Missouri at Arkansas: Arkansas is just like A&M; it has lost three in a row. Missouri is much better than I thought it would be. Despite that, I think Arkansas gets better here.

Alabama at LSU: LSU is on the rise, coming off road victories over Texas A&M and Arkansas. LSU freshman point guard Tremont Waters somehow found his way from New Haven to Baton Rouge. If it weren’t for Trae Young, he might be considered the best freshman point guard in the country. He leads the Tigers with 16.8 ppg and 6.1 apg.

Gonzaga at San Francisco: Sensing possible upset here, fueled by the Dons’ Frankie Ferrari, a Sully’s Court favorite.


Saint Joseph’s at UMass: Can Luwane Pipkins top his last game, when he set a school record with 44 points?

Joe Sullivan can be reached at