The Michigan State Spartans' tepid 71-61 victory Sunday over the Northwestern Wildcats closed out their Big Ten regular-season schedule, affording a third-place spot in arguably the premier college basketball conference in the land.
Spartans coach Tom Izzo said that Michigan State followers "should be prouder of this team than maybe any other team I've had" during a post-game speech to fans at the Breslin Center (televised on the Big Ten Network).
Izzo cited an "up-and-down" season that was challenged by hurdles on the way as reason why not to be disappointed in Michigan State, which will likely be anywhere from a No. 2 to No. 5 seed in March Madness.
Prior to their 10-point win over Northwestern (and Wisconsin), the Spartans lost three straight conference outings, the most since losing three in mid-to-late January 2011.
Michigan State ended the first half of the Big Ten docket with a 7-2 record, only to finish the stretch with a 6-3 run. The Spartans, however, performed to the level that most expected. Winning a Big Ten regular-season championship would have been welcomed, obviously, but the Indiana Hoosiers secured the outright title with their win Sunday over Michigan.
In this slideshow, we'll look at the good and the bad of the 2012-13 edition of the Michigan State Spartans, grading team and player performances while also analyzing areas like rebounding, scoring and quality wins/hurtful losses.