Michigan State and Minnesota postponed the February 15 game to be played at Breslin Center in the wake of the mass shooting on the MSU campus the day before.
It looked like the game might be rescheduled for March 2, as MSU is out between the February 28 game at Nebraska and its Senior Day to close out the regular season at home against Ohio State. But it looks like that won’t happen now.
Tom Izzo isn’t happy about it, nor is the management of the Big Ten (or lack thereof).
You can understand why Izzo is angry. It seems like he’s doing a lot of the heavy lifting that the conference would have to do to make the game actually happen.
But is it really worth the headache?
Minnesota’s game rescheduling could potentially help MSU with its seeding in the Big Ten tournament. The middle of the league standings is a complete gridlock: just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 11 teams. And MSU score another win in conference it could be the difference between playing Thursday or Friday.
Do we really care, though? And do we really think MSU will leverage the Big Ten Tournament into an NCAA Tournament seeding lead? The Spartans’ record in the last two conference tournaments is 2-2.
And you could argue that it’s been years since MSU’s performance in the Big Ten Tournament earned them a better seeding in the NCAA Tournament. If anything, there are two relatively recent examples of the league’s tournament doing just the opposite: In 2016 and 2019, MSU won the Big Ten tournament but still hasn’t been able to play to the #1 seed line.
Looking at the Minnesota game from an NCAA Tournament perspective, there’s no incentive to reschedule. The Gophers, who are last in the Big Ten and own a 7-19 record, would register as a Quad 3 win at best.
That doesn’t help MSU in the fight for a top seed in the NCAA. The Spartans are firmly in Quad 1; only seven teams have more wins against the upper quadrant than MSU. Accumulating another win against a bad team doesn’t move the needle.
Plus, there’s the health aspect. MSU fans have long complained about their team’s injury luck. Rescheduling Minnesota would mean the State would play three games over five days, take four or five days off, then face the potential of playing up to four games over four days in the conference tournament. Is this the kind of stretch you really want your team to go through right before the NCAA Tournament — you know, the whole season’s midpoint?
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