The win, against the higher ranked Hawkeyes, put MSU firmly back into Big Ten title contention, dramatically helped their placement in the Big Ten Tournament and gave another boost in NCAA Tournament seeding.
All of that was not wasted on Spartans fans. After bottoming out over the last four months, confidence in the team rebounded in a significant way this week, according to the SB Nation FanPulse voting.
Starting in January, confidence in this year’s team started to fall quickly, dropping from 100 percent to 38 percent in just four weeks. But a road win against lowly Nebraska and coming home to beat Iowa seems to steady fans, at least to 68 percent confidence.
The true test of the regained confidence will come this weekend as the Spartans travel to play the Maryland Terrapins.
A win against Maryland would dramatically change the outlook for MSU. Not only would it put the Spartans within just a game of first place, it would give them their clear biggest win of the season. Winning that game would undoubtedly return fan confidence to its place in at least the 90th percentile range.
Fans around the Big Ten clearly think the Terps are the best team in the conference. When asked that exact question, Maryland received nearly 75 percent of the vote with MSU a distant third choice.
Despite the return of confidence, fans still don’t expect the Spartans to be one of the top teams in the NCAA Tournament. According to fan vote, MSU will earn a four seed in the tournament.
A majority of the fan base thinks the team deserves a four seed or worse, with 39 percent of fans expecting the team to play a 13 seed for the first game of the tournament.
Winning Saturday would also almost assuredly change these results. While a two seed would still seem a bit of a stretch, moving up one notch to three seems not only likely but deserved.
Despite the respect the conference has earned around the country, fans don’t think Maryland – or any other Big Ten team for that matter – deserves a one seed. Nationally, fans voted that the Kansas Jayhawks, Baylor Bears, Gonzaga Bulldogs and San Diego State Aztecs should enter the tournament on the top lines.
To vote in next week’s SB Nation FanPulse survey, make sure to sign up and respond every week.