College basketball rankings
In the College basketball rankings Champions Classic on Tuesday, the Spartans defeated the Wildcats in a double-overtime thriller.
Michigan State began the season barely on the wrong side of the CBS Sports Top 25 and 1 daily college basketball rankings, particularly at No. 27. When Villanova and Oregon both lost last Friday, the Spartans were moved up to No. 25 on Saturday. After TCU’s loss Monday night, Michigan State jumped to No. 24 on Tuesday morning.
It’s been a long and steady climb.
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But, because to a double-overtime win over Kentucky in the Champions Classic on Tuesday night, Tom Izzo’s squad has jumped into the Top 25 and 1 at the College basketball rankings. Michigan State is currently ranked fifth, owing to an impressive résumé.
“We’re here,” said Michigan State senior Joey Hauser after the Spartans stunned the presumptive SEC champions. “Anytime, any day, we’ll take on anybody.”
Is Michigan State really the fifth-best team in the country? I’m not sure. But I’m a firm believer in rewarding teams for aggressive scheduling, particularly when they perform well against those tough schedules, as the Spartans have done so far. They began by defeating Northern Arizona 73-55, then battled Gonzaga to the final seconds before falling 64-63 on a neutral floor, and finally defeated Kentucky 86-77 on a neutral court. So that’s a 2-1 record with a victory against the No. 4 team in Tuesday’s Top 25 And 1 and a single point defeat to the No. 1 club in Wednesday’s Top 25 And 1 at the College basketball rankings.
That’s a solid start to the season and reason to think Izzo has a team that is greater than the sum of its parts and on its way to the program’s 25th consecutive NCAA Tournament berth.