Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin, Florida Atlantic among 5 teams with question marks entering March

Florida Atlantic v Charlotte
Florida Atlantic v Charlotte / Isaiah Vazquez/GettyImages
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2.) Michigan State Spartans

Another team hailing from the Big Ten, Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans stand at just 17-11 (9-8) on the year, failing to live up to their lofty preseason expectations in early November.

Currently, on a two-game losing streak, the Spartans have fallen to both Iowa and Ohio State, all within the friendly confines of the Breslin Center.

If that doesn’t ring the alarm bells, I’m not sure what does.

It’s hard to point a finger on what exactly is the issue with this Michigan State squad because the struggles have been present for the Spartans all year long.

From fans pointing out Tom Izzo’s unwillingness to play five-star freshman Xavier Booker reasonable minutes to Tom Izzo defending the move, to inconsistent play from their veterans to struggling to capitalize on or after big wins, it's been a disappointing four months in East Lansing.

In Michigan State’s defense, the Spartans boast strong predictive metrics -- 19th in BartTorvik and KenPom and 24th in the NET -- which gives them a reasonable amount of breathing room from the bubble at the current moment.

Despite being firmly above the cutline from the bubble at the moment, the Spartans will travel to Mackey Arena on Saturday followed by Northwestern at home and Indiana on the road to close the regular season -- all games that spell difficulty for Tom Izzo’s group.

It’s a crucial three-game stretch in early March not only for seeding purposes but possibly for their NCAA Tournament hopes.