[Bumped . . . ruefully. --LVS.]
Long-time readers probably remember KJ's "depth ratio" metric and the curious influence it seems to have on Izzo teams. A quick refresher: depth ratio = (minutes played by #1 and #2-ranked players in minutes) / (minutes played by #8 and #9). This has been a remarkably accurate predictor of tournament success for MSU since Izzo's second year: MSU has made the Sweet 16 every time the depth ratio has been below 3.0, and has never done so when it is above 3.0.
That should not be reassuring news for anyone, because right now that ratio is ... 3.70. Lucas and Allen are #1 and #2 in minutes, accounting for 56.7 minutes/game combined. #8 and #9 are Nix and Sherman, accounting for a combined 15.7 minutes/game.
Before anybody panics, it's undoubtedly a coincidence that there is such a hard line. (There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of correlation within the below-3 group as to how far beyond the Sweet 16 we go, for instance - last year was only a 2.90, and we saw how that went.) Furthermore, it hides the fact that we have six players (Allen, Green, Summers, Morgan, Roe, and Lucious) between 50% and 65% minutes, a minutes distribution that actually looks fairly similar to the Wonk's initial prescription of seven guys between 40% and 70% (Lucas is at 77%). But this does suggest something that shouldn't be a big surprise to anyone: if we can get more quality minutes out of Sherman and Nix (preferably for reasons other than "Morgan and Roe are in massive foul trouble"), our chances of a big run in March are greatly improved.