These are strange times.
For the top tier teams, the conference tournaments are probably more harm than help. The reward is a potential extra seed or two, maybe another year on a banner and a cool trophy. The flip side is embarrassment, an injury and a major stuck plummet.
Indianapolis has hosted four of those teams. On the positive side, Michigan, Nebraska and Illinois padded their resumes or made their season whole by winning a couple extra big games. On the other side, Indiana and, amazingly Illinois, were embarrassed at the ends of conference foes.
Michigan State does not have time for these petty things.
For the second straight game and the second time in a week, the Spartans dismantled Ohio State. This time, MSU put a bullet in the corpse, turning a once-great rivalry into a 27-point embarrassment. The Buckeyes are likely to enjoy purgatory that is the NIT.
There was nothing too sexy from the box score. Denzel Valentine was a ho-hum 6-of-15 from the field while putting up a game-high 19 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
The same goes for Deyonta Davis (6-of-12, 12 points, seven rebounds) and Bryn Forbes (nine points, all on 3-pointers).
What does stand out is the balance. Matt Costello had just four rebounds but put in 10 on 4-of-5 shooting. Eron Harris added 13. The team shot 48.4 percent and broke 80 points without a 20-point scorer, and hit 11-of-14 from the free throw line.
This was a classic game for this team. Play your best hoops, play like a team and get ready for tomorrow. With Indiana out of the way, this is MSU's tournament -- and No. 1 seed -- to lose.