After stunning the No. 3 Oregon Ducks this past Sunday, Michigan State fans have a lot to look forward to. This is the first time Michigan State has been ranked in the AP poll in two years. Playing with the underdog mentality all year, Jenna Allen’s senior leadership has paid off for Michigan State, giving the Spartans their biggest win of the year and their first AP top three win since defeating No. 3 Tennessee in the Final Four in 2005.
What this win means for Michigan State
The Spartans are coming off of an up and down 19-14 season with a third round WNIT tournament exit. To start the year with an 8-1 record and having the only loss come to who is now the No. 10 team in the country, add in a top five victory to that resume and it’s difficult to be upset with the results. It can now be safely said that Michigan State is legit and will make noise in the Big Ten. With a few tough conference games in the near future, the Spartans will have plenty of opportunities to continually prove themselves.
What this means for the Big Ten
The Big Ten conference hasn’t received the type of results other conferences have in recent years. The Big Ten has one lone NCAA championship when Purdue won the tournament in 1999. Some of the players on today’s teams weren’t even born when the Boilers won the tournament. While it is still very early in the season, the Big Ten is looking strong after this upset. With four teams ranked in the top 25 and having Indiana go on a 9-0 winning streak, this beefs up the conference significantly. Even though the Big Ten is looking stronger, Maryland still stands tall over the other ranked conference opponents. The Big Ten has to hope for more upsets outside of the conference to show that its teams can compete at a high level.
What Michigan State must do going forward
The Spartans can celebrate their big win momentarily, but that doesn’t change the fact that they still have 19 games left to play, the Big Ten tournament and, assuming they get a bid, the NCAA tournament. Michigan State has many challenges ahead if they want to prove to other teams that they are one of the nation’s best. The Big Ten still appears to be lopsided with No. 6 Maryland towering above No. 13 Minnesota, No. 16 Iowa and No. 23 Michigan State. The Spartans will have to, at the very least, be competitive in these games to be considered a solid team and win a few of them to be one of the top teams in the country. As the polls stand today, Michigan State will have five more AP top 25 matchups in the regular season. If they can stick with these teams, it will show the Spartans have something to say when March comes around.
The Spartans stand tall today and appear to have no plans of slowing down. A spot in the AP poll and a few easy games down the stretch is great for this team’s confidence. Expect to see more exciting things from this team. The next big test for Michigan State will be home against No. 16 Iowa on Dec. 30.