Tom Izzo is aware of how good the Big Ten is this year, and he's even more conscious of his teams' shortcomings.
Even so, Michigan State has never faced three top-5 teams in less than two weeks, with back-to-back matchups against its rival to finish the season.
"We picked a bad year to be one of the teams that gets COVID in the middle of the Big Ten (schedule); a bad year to maybe not be quite as good a team as we've been over quite a few years because the damn league's so good," Izzo told reporters Friday afternoon.
Michigan State beat Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio State. It brought them closer to the NCAA Tournament, and depending on where you look; the Spartans are in; however, it means nothing if MSU can't end on a high note.
It's true; the conference is loaded. Every B1G team has a top-20 strength of schedule, but as MSU weaved its way through a tough stretch, Izzo never applied unnecessary pressure.
The 66-year old doesn't care about streaks and relayed the same message to his players.
"There's a lot of streaks, everybody is made known of all my steaks; losing seasons, losing Big Ten (season), NCAA tournament ... I've heard the game has passed me by," said Izzo. "Those are the normal things that happen when you lose some games ... you play to get better each game, and you can't worry about streaks."
Today, the Spartans meet Maryland for the 17th time. It's another opportunity to better their resume and prove multiple people wrong.
We'll see what happens.
It's Game Day
Media Timeout: Maryland 14 MSU 7
11:27 left in the first half.
Maryland leads Michigan State 14-7 after a rough start offensively. The Spartans are 1-for-6 from deep and 3-for-9 overall with three turnovers.
Media Timeout: Maryland 24 MSU 14
7:04 left in the first half.
MSU is now 2-for-11 from 3-point land and refuses to stop heaving them up. The Spartans are struggling to penetrate Maryland's defense but lead in buckets in the paint 8-4; getting down low is essential right now.
Media Timeout: Maryland 33 MSU 21
3:43 left in the first half.
The Terrapins have increased its lead to 12-points while the Spartans continue to struggle from floor. Maryland is draining uncontested there-pointers; MSU needs to clean it up on both ends.
Media Timeout: Maryland 43 MSU 34
15:56 left in the second half.
A big block by Gabe Brown sends us to the first media timeout in the second half. MSU trails Maryland, 43-34 with less than 16 minutes remaining. The Spartans have gone even smaller than usual, inserting Malik Hall into the lineup at center.
Media Timeout: Maryland 51 MSU 44
9:29 left in the second half.
Media Timeout: Maryland 53 MSU 46
6:47 left in the second half.
Media Timeout: Maryland 61 MSU 48
3:52 left in the second half.
Final: Maryland 73 MSU 55