Michigan State may not be all that threatening for some, but doubting Tom Izzo in March isn't the wisest decision, either.
The Michigan State Spartans are primed for their time of year, but the 2012-13 edition of Tom Izzo's club doesn't seem as confident or dangerous as it has in the past.
Failing to deliver in the Big Ten tournament gives reason to doubt the Spartans. But a look at Izzo's superb resume is always a worthy counter to naysayers' arguments against Michigan State.
Earlier this season, Big Ten Network analyst Jimmy Jackson, a former Ohio State sensation, felt that the Spartans were a legitimate championship contender. However, that was before Michigan State lost four of its seven final games of the year.
Jackson is most definitely an expert when it comes to college hoops. At the time, he was dead-on when analyzing the Spartans.
But things are different at this very moment.
Are the Spartans formidable foes for the opposition, or will they be granted an early exit in the NCAA tournament?
In this slideshow, we'll look at what other experts have to say about Michigan State's chances.
Tom Izzo would be "disappointed" if Michigan State fails to make a run this March.
No one knows Michigan State Spartans basketball better than Tom Izzo.
MLive.com's Diamond Leung recently published a piece on Izzo, who took the time to answer questions about the Spartans' chances of having a successful run in March Madness.
Of course, he's optimistic—maybe too optimistic. But he knows his players' tendencies and abilities—it's just a matter of when and how they come together to make something happen in March.
Despite the loss of Draymond Green, Izzo believes in this year's team. Injuries and inconsistent play plagued Michigan State for much of the season, but Izzo has been there, done that.
We're in a similar position we were in last year. We got a similar team that we didn't just beat anybody by out‑talenting them. I think if we were totally healthy with (Branden) Dawson and Harris, we are more talented than last year's team. But we're not in that position and we don't have the leader with (Green).
I will be disappointed if we don't make a run, I really will
Joe Rexrode and Graham Couch are two of the state's most knowledgeable Michigan State Spartans basketball writers.
Rexrode, now with the Detroit Free Press, recently discussed Michigan State's tournament chances with Graham Couch, who was a Michigan State beat writer with MLive.com before moving to the Lansing State Journal.
Rexrode and Couch both agree that the Midwest Region is incredibly deep, quite possibly the most well-rounded of any bracket in the tournament.
With the likes of Louisville—which beat Michigan State in the 2012 regional semis—and Duke lurking in the shadows, escaping the Midwest could be one of Izzo's biggest challenges to date.
Click here to view the video of Couch and Rexrode's discussion (via the Detroit Free Press).
Dick Weiss, a columnist for the New York Daily News, recently broke down the Midwest Region along with Bill Price and Ian Powers (Twitter @BracketGuru).
Weiss believes that the No. 1-seeded Louisville Cardinals will "survive" the bracket by beating Michigan State. The Spartans were run off the court in 2012 by the Cardinals in the regional semis, 57-44, thanks to seven blocks from 6'11" center Gorgui Dieng.
Rick Pitino versus Tom Izzo is quickly becoming a marquee match in March.
Here's what Weiss wrote about the potential duel:
Louisville (1). The Cardinals’ 44-10 run against Syracuse in the Big East championship and the energized play of point guard Peyton Siva made a huge impression on the selection committee, which sent the hottest, most relentless team in the country to Lexington. The Regional final is in Indianapolis, and while Michigan State defeated Louisville in the 2009 Regional final at Lucas Oil Stadium, it won’t happen this year with a healthy 6-11 Gorgui Dieng
Bryce Drew's Crusaders will give Michigan State a fight Thursday at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Expecting Michigan State to advance to at least the Sweet 16 isn't out of the ordinary.
Going far in March Madness is just what Michigan State does under Tom Izzo, who has 10 Sweet 16 appearances, seven Elite Eight showings and six Final Fours to his credit.
USA Today's Patrick Stevens picks Michigan State over Valpo in the opening round. The Spartans are "perpetually" ready for success in the tournament, writes Stevens, who doesn't predict Michigan State's fate past its first tournament contest.
Will it be Final Four No. 7 for Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans?
Diamond Leung of MLive.com knows it, and he says that Tom Izzo knows it, too—Michigan State has Final Four potential.
Obviously, "potential" is the key word here. Just about every Spartans team coached by Izzo has a chance to make it to the Final Four—so far, six have.
Will it be Final Four No. 7 this spring? Izzo likes what he has to work with, that's for certain. Leung relayed Izzo's thoughts from a recent interview with 730 AM (via MLive.com).
Izzo can change up his mode of operation when needed.
I think we can play smash-mouth or racehorse. And I think that's still one of the greatest things that has always helped my teams in the NCAA tournament is we don't play just one style like some teams who just shoot the ball or some teams who press or some teams who need to play slow
Tournament essentials from Bleacher Report:
Link to Printable PDF
Link to Live Bracket