Spartans Keep the Pedal on the Floor, but Real Test Lies Ahead
What a night for Tom Izzo!Â He gets win number 300, but if you were to ask him (and not the Spartan Nation) he was even happier with his teamsâ€™ effort.Â Now I am certainly not implying that he took it lightly, but Izzo is so focused on this year his thoughts were on the task at hand.
The Spartans reestablished themselves against PSU on Wednesday, and the intensity continued right into this game.Â That maintaining of intensity is something that hasnâ€™t happened this Big Ten season.Â The Spartans continued to keep at bay the exercised demon of turnovers.Â In the two previous losses to Indiana and Purdue, the Spartans had 19 turnovers, but not tonight.Â The Spartans guarded the rock like a mother bear over her cub with a shocking five.
So the Spartans were able to get the win for Izzo and maintain intensity.Â Both are great accomplishments.Â Sadly for them, they havenâ€™t played that way all season and the next four games will tell a lot about this team.Â Three of the remaining four games are all on the road and the easiest of the games (Indiana without Sampson) is at home.Â
The Spartans have to show that these four games are a message.Â All four are games that this team should win.Â All four are difficult, but this is a team that had Big Ten championships and final fours on their plate of expectations when the season started.
The Spartans have a lot to play for, but they must play like they did against Texas and the last two games.Â This is not a time to let off the gas.Â This is not a time to enjoy the aroma of success.Â This is the home stretch.Â This team has underachieved if they get no Big Ten Title or Final Four.Â MSU basketball according to Izzo is about hanging banners.Â They havenâ€™t handled success well all season and nowÂ are the real and final tests of this team.
This stretch is huge.Â These next four games will tell the story.Â Do the Spartans keep up the intensity and head into the Big Ten tournament with momentum, or do they let off the gas?Â Knowing these kids and coaches as I do, I say they stay on the gas.
One thing is certain; these next four games will be the most exciting of the season so far.Â Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio State must all feel like they are about to catch a cougar by the tail.Â Not a very good proposition for them.Â These Spartans are poised for a run!