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Bold Predictions for February for Michigan State Spartans Men’s Basketball

Breaking down their record and performance in the upcoming slate of Big Ten games in February.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State has been in an up and down battle since entering Big Ten play. A 14-8 overall record looks a lot weaker with only a 6-5 conference record.

It seems that any dream of contending for the regular season conference championship is clearly out of reach (and most likely Purdue’s to own outright). Even so, the Spartans are a squad with the potential to shake things up in the tournaments - both the Big Ten Conference tournament and even more likely in the NCAA Tournament.

The upcoming schedule brings 8 games in February and one in the first few days of March. This gives the Spartans 9 more conference games to state their case for the NCAA Tournament. The month starts out with a road game at Rutgers that has been turned into a shockingly neutral court experience with the matchup moving to Madison Square Garden.

From there, Michigan plays Maryland at home (Feb. 7); Ohio State on the road (Feb 12); Minnesota at home (Feb. 15); Michigan on the road (Feb. 18); Indiana at home (Feb. 21); Iowa on the road (Feb. 25); Nebraska on the road (Feb 28); and finally Ohio State at home to wrap up the regular season on March 4th.

Below here are the writers room for The Only Colors bold predictions for the home stretch of Big Ten play for the Michigan State Spartans. Add your own in the comments.

Andy Welch Predictions

MSU Record in February (and last game in March): 6-3

Predictions for the Month:

Ahh, February. That month where the brackets come together and we figure out who really can make a run in March. I think MSU goes 6-3, bringing their overall record to 20-11. The Spartans should keep the tournament streak alive without too much sweat, but that doesn’t mean that the 9 games left in the regular season won’t come with a little bit of stress.

I’m anticipating losses to Maryland, Indiana, and Iowa. Maryland comes to East Lansing and I just can’t help but think that the wildly up and down Terps have one of their good nights at the Breslin Center. As for Indiana, Trayce Jackson-Davis is still playing tremendous basketball, and I don’t know how well MSU adjusts in the rematch. Iowa on the road is never easy.

We haven’t gotten a look at this MSU team at full strength for more than a handful of games this season, and hopefully we get a bigger sample in this last month of the season. Jaden Akins is starting to find something, scoring double digit points in the last 4 games, but I think Tyson Walker ends up as the team’s leading scorer, and I think he does it pulling away.

The most compelling story this year has been the battle at the 5. From the preseason questions about not going into the portal, to Mady Sissoko’s tremendous early performances, to his struggles, and then to the flashes from Jaxon Kohler and Carson Cooper, it’s been a roller coaster. There are still so many questions about the position, but I don’t see Sissoko grabbing a firm hold on minutes that we’d all like him to. The rematches with Indiana and Michigan will be particularly interesting. I think that it’s Carson Cooper who shows the most promise of the two Freshmen, taking minutes from Kohler.

For one not-at-all bold prediction, Steven Izzo will not score a point before the end of the regular season. Sorry, Izzone.

Brandon Blackburn-Dwyer Predictions

MSU Record in February (and last game in March): 6-3

Predictions for the Month:

While I want to predict MSU will go 7-2 for the final stretch of Big Ten Play, more than likely MSU finishes 6-3 in this stretch. I am simply not sure how good Ohio State really is this year, and MSU plays them twice. Ohio State is a squad that can compete with a number of teams, but they haven’t proven themselves consistent.

In terms of the losses, I think MSU loses to Iowa on the road. They lose to either Ohio State on the road, Indiana at home, or Michigan on the road. Only losing 2 of those 3 would be pretty good in a year where the Big Ten keeps beating up on itself. That would leave them with 3 losses, and six wins.

Six wins gets MSU to 20 wins in the regular season, historically a good indicator of making the NCAA tournament. That would earn them 20 solid wins on the season against one of the most challenging schedules in the country. 20-11 overall, 12-8 in the Big Ten should look pretty good come selection Sunday, as the Big Ten will have a lot of team struggling to reach that mark.

Beyond the record, MSU is going to have a fascinating road over the next 9 games. Almost anyone could be their leading scorer during this stretch. Hauser and Walker have traded that honor most of the season. Akins is starting to hit a groove, and if Hoggard can get rolling, he could lead the team. Even Hall could compete for that role if his foot allows him to play more than 20 minutes a game. Playing it safe, I’ll go with Hauser as the leading scorer and rebounder on the team for the final 9 games. Though something in me wants to choose Akins, so I’ll mention it here so I can brag about it later (or conveniently forget I mentioned it if I am not even close).

In bolder predictions: Kohler will play more than 20 minutes a game, primarily platooning with Mady Sissoko at the 5, but also potentially playing minutes at the 4-spot.

Hall gets healthy enough that Pierre Brooks minutes per game drop below 6.

MSU will set a record for long jump shots (defined as shots outside the paint, inside the three point line) taken and made - and still lose games because of it.

Complaints about the transfer portal will haunt Izzo through the NCAA Tournament and afterwards.

O Basse Predictions

MSU Record in February (and last game in March): 8-1

Predictions for the Month:

I have the privilege of being the last of the three writers to participate in this exercise, meaning I got to read their replies before submitting mine. And I have to say, I am saddened by my colleagues’ pessimism. So here’s the good news, everyone: Our Spartans are about to go on a hot streak. Yes, they are going 8-1 the rest of the way, to finish at 14-6 in B1G play and 22-9 overall. They will tie with Illinois for 2nd place in the conference, but end up as the 3 seed in the BTT.

And there will be some wins there that will help our tournament resume. MSU is going on the road and beating Ohio State and um, as well as those two teams that should be in the Big 12, geographically speaking. The only game MSU will lose is the home tilt against Indiana, which comes on a short rest after the game in Ann Arbor, so it will be a case of us having tired legs.

Aside from the record, I predict 5 different players will have at least one game the rest of the way where they are the leading scorer. Those 5 should not be a surprise to anyone: Akins, Hall, Hauser, Hoggard, and Walker. Hauser will lead the team in scoring twice, and Walker will do it 4 times. Amongst our 3 centers, I think we will continue to see a lot of variance from game to game. Despite my prediction in an earlier article, I believe Mady will hold onto his starting role and will get two more double doubles this season.

Speaking of scoring, Steven “Lil’” Izzo will record exactly one FG made before he says goodbye to the Breslin Center, and it just may be on Senior Day.

And speaking of Senior Day, the order of the 5 players who will be kissing the floor will go Izzo, Whitens, Walker, Hauser, and Hall at the end.

Okay, I feel compelled to make one more prediction, one really out of left field. So I am going to say that Jaxon Kohler will get ejected from the game against University of Michigan, along with that smug villain who I like to refer to as Gunther Dachunsund, for getting into a little bit of a physical altercation.

What do you say, TOC Nation? Whose predictions do you like best?

Give us your February predictions for Michigan State in the comments.