By now, the Michigan State Spartans should know what type of team they are.
Judging by the quality of the Big Ten this year, the 12th-ranked Spartans (18-4, 7-2) are right where they should be: near the top of league standings and firmly pegged in the race for conference supremacy.
However, Spartans followers don't always gauge Michigan State on the here and now.
No, comparisons are largely made due to past success. While that's a luxury that Green and White supporters have grown accustomed to, it's not necessarily the most accurate way to judge progress and potential.
One area that gets a little foggy is coaching. Tom Izzo is the constant factor in the Michigan State basketball equation. So when Mr. March's time comes for a grade, his mark will most certainly reflect what he's done during his illustrious career.
The intent of this midseason report card is to forget the past and focus on the 2012-13 season. The report will cover important areas pertaining to team play, but it will also size up key players' showings through the midpoint of the year.
But, as mentioned, looking back—if even for a mere moment—is inevitable and inescapable. The past, however, will carry little weight.
Michigan State, as usual, is a team that's capable of gliding its way deep into March. Whether or not this year's group measures up to midseason marks posted by classic Spartans teams is irrelevant.
Well, for the most part anyway.