THE SPARTANS AREN'T DONE JUST YET

     For a team with a 20-4 season record, I sure don't hear many happy MSU men's basketball fans at this point.  That said, a win at Indiana on Saturday night keeps Tom Izzo's team in the thick of the Big Ten race.  A loss of course would be very damaging, because that would leave MSU at 8-4 with road games remaining at Illinois, Ohio State and Wisconsin, besides a return home game against Indiana.  Purdue, the Big Ten leader, seems to have the best schedule left.  The Boilermakers' six games include two with Northwestern and a home game with Minnesota.  Purdue also travels to Michigan, Ohio State and Indiana.  A 15-3 final mark would make it tough on Michigan State to better that record.  But I think MSU simply needs to stay the course and play hard-- what else is there?  Drew Neitzel is still the key player as I see it-- as he goes, so goes MSU and he'll need a big game Saturday at Bloomington.

     You wonder what Kelvin Sampson's future is as the Indiana coach.  The NCAA is charging him with five major violations in the wake of all his telephone calls to recruits at both Oklahoma and Indiana.  He is also charged with lying to NCAA investigators about his involvement.  The Hoosiers will have to deal with the current NCAA findings at hearings in June in Seattle.  No Indiana team has gone on probation since 1960.

     To me, the current CCHA league standings accurately reflect the strength of the top four teams-- Michigan, Miami of Ohio, Michigan State and Notre Dame, all likely to make the 16-team NCAA tournament field.  Two losses at Northern Michigan last week end have all but eliminated the Spartans but they need a strong finish in their final six regular season games to prepare for the post season.  Michigan State needs some more offense since its record is 1-3-1 in the past five games.  Michigan State has home and home games with Western Michigan, Michigan and Bowling Green over the final three week ends, although the second Michigan game of the week end will be played at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena.

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