Minnesota had played Michigan State 122 times before Monday night’s meeting inside Williams Arena. The Gophers had won 57 of those games — but never by as many points as they won this one.
Final score: Minnesota 81, Michigan State 56.
So the Gophers are now 9-1 overall, 2-1 in the Big Ten. They also own wins over Iowa and Saint Louis. If the NCAA Tournament started today, they’d easily make it despite being picked 11th in the preseason Big Ten poll.
“Our bond, it grows every game,” said Brandon Johnson, who finished with nine points, seven rebounds and two assists in the 25-point victory.
Marcus Carr led all scorers with 19.
These are obviously tough times for Michigan State. The Spartans are 6-3 overall, 0-3 in the Big Ten and looking like something less than an NCAA Tournament team, which means the school’s streak of 22 straight NCAA Tournament appearances in jeopardy. Tom Izzo’s Spartans haven’t missed the NCAA Tournament since 1997. But unless they find a leader, and improve drastically defensively, it’s getting harder and harder to imagine them getting there this season. For what it’s worth, KenPom currently projects Michigan State to finish 13-13 overall, 7-13 in the Big Ten. Needless to say, that won’t be good enough.
Minnesota is up to No. 13 in Tuesday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. Michigan State was removed — as was Colorado (following Monday night’s loss to Arizona). The Spartans and Buffaloes were replaced by Saint Louis and LSU. Saint Louis is 7-1 with the lone loss coming at Minnesota. LSU is 5-1 with the lone loss coming at Saint Louis.
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Tuesday’s Top 25 And 1 rankings
IN: Saint Louis, LSU
OUT: Michigan State, Colorado
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