Suddenly, losses to Texas, Florida, and North Carolina aren't such a big deal for the Spartans heading into February.
MSU's three losses all came in December and no doubt had an effect on its psyche. But the team has rebounded in true winner's fashion in the last five weeks.
The Longhorns have dropped three-of-four, and North Carolina is holding onto its tournament dreams, while the Florida Gators have shown that they're just a middle-of-the-road team in the SEC.
While the aforementioned teams are slumping, the Spartans are nearing their peak.
Finding ways to win, while still not running at full-tilt is a good sign for Spartan basketball fans.
Grinding its way through three close Big Ten battles, Tom Izzo's men are looking like a team that's finally living up to its No. 2 preseason ranking.
Getting his men prepared to reach the height of their potential is what Izzo does best. Tournament time is just around the corner, and Sparty is entering juggernaut-mode.
On any given night, a handful of Izzo's troops can produce—that's what makes Michigan State so dangerous and versatile. Syracuse, Kansas, and Villanova look to be outfitted for March; Michigan State is simply following the trend.
When State dictates the tempo and has its transition game geared up, it can be incredibly hard to take down.
Kalin Lucas is the leader of the unit, and he's shown that. The reigning Big Ten Player of the Year has taken control and led his group to the top of the conference pile (9-0).
Raymar Morgan has risen to the occasion lately, and Draymond Green has come to the forefront as a go-to-guy as well.
And where does Durrell Summers fit into the equation?
Summers is without a doubt one of the most vibrant players in the nation. He has the ability to take over a game within a blink-of-an-eye—just ask Northwestern.
The 6'4" junior out of Detroit dumped a season-high 24 points on the Wildcats Saturday night in Michigan State's 79-70 win. The Spartans unveiled their powerful offense in the final 20 minutes with Summers leading the charge.
Setting the tone early, Chris Allen called on Summers' vertical prowess to get the crowd at the Bres' (Breslin Center) to come alive.
About four seconds into the game.
Summers is known for his posterizing dunks, and he'll make defenders pay the price if they wish to contest him on the way to the rack—ask UConn's Stanley Robinson .
The Spartans will continue to prosper if Summers can replicate his performance from Saturday on a game-by-game basis. He's had his ups-and-downs this year, every player goes through a rough-patch. It's how he's bounced back that makes Summers a exceptional player—he is approaching his pinnacle at just the right time (crunch time).
While being mentally prepared is one thing the Spartans are working on, there's no doubt that they have the physical tools necessary to make one hellacious run come March.
With weapons like Lucas, Green, Morgan, and Summers all on the same page, Michigan State is capable of being one of the more dynamic teams in the land—continuing its quest for another Final Four.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!