Michigan State basketball thumped at Iowa, 86-60: 3 quick takes

1. Oof. For MSU, this has the elements of a free fall.

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Remember the days when this Michigan State basketball season felt like a seesaw?

The Spartans yearn for those days. What’s happening now has the elements of a free fall: Five losses in six games, three straight defeats, Tuesday night’s 86-60 loss at Iowa the worst of them.

MSU got blitzed. But it also looked like a team unable to do anything about it. By late in the second half, the Iowa students were chanting “NIT,” suggesting the Spartans would miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1997.

That’s still not likely, given MSU’s record (18-9, 9-7 in the Big Ten). The NCAA tournament would need to find 68 other deserving teams, and, if you start to look closely, there are others in worse states. If MSU wins one more game – even Maryland in the home finale – the Spartans are probably in at 19-12 overall, with 10 Big Ten wins, regardless of what happens in the conference tournament. Remember, how a team finishes in its last 10 games is no longer supposed to be part of the equation for picking the NCAA field. Even so, this has too often turned ugly of late.

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