After starting the year 0-2 and falling out of the Top 25, Tom Izzo's Spartans ran off 15 straight victories, vaulting themselves into the Top 10.
Just when the Spartans were starting to look like one of this year's premium teams, they lost to the Wildcats of Northwestern on the road, and followed that up with a hard fought defeat to rival No. 19 Michigan at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor.
Following those two losses Michigan State has dropped to 4-2 in Big Ten play, and will look to rebound with their fifth win today against the Purdue Boilermakers (14-5, 4-2).
The return of fifth-year senior Robbie Hummel has kept the Boilers alive after losing key players E'twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson to the NBA. Hummel is scoring over 16 points per game, and the key to an MSU victory will undoubtedly rest in their ability or inability to slow down the talented forward.
Draymond Green continues to state his case as one of the nation's top players in his senior season under Izzo. Green is averaging a double-double with 15.4 points and 10.1 rebound per game, and continues to show intrinsic leadership skills on the floor with his teammates.
After putting up just seven points against the Wolverines, and missing a potential game-winning floater in the game's waning seconds, there is no doubt that he will be ready to put on a show when the Spartans bring the Boilers into the Breslin on Saturday.
Along with Green, sophomore Keith Appling has been a driving force behind many of the Spartans' early victories with aggressive defense and an uncanny ability to score on the breakaway. The young talent has scored in double-digits in MSU's last seven games, and has emerged as their second-most important cog behind Green.
The key to success for Appling is to limit turnovers and not allow himself to rush into bad decisions, which he has been prone to do.
The Spartans are surely eager to get back to their winning ways, and the familiarity of the Breslin Center in East Lansing should be helpful in that regard.
If the green and white come out and play smart basketball then they can beat anybody in the nation, but it has been their own sloppiness which has cost them these past two games. That self-incrimination is what they will have to avoid to pick up an important win against the Boilers as they move into the second half of the college basketball season.