Despite their last-moment, excruciating loss at the hands of in-state rival Michigan, the Michigan State Spartans learned on Monday that the Associated Press Top 25 Poll still thinks they're worthy of being a top 10 team.
Coming in at No. 10, the Spartans fall alongside a couple other top ten teams in No. 4 Kansas and No. 8 Louisville as elite teams in the rankings that have been the victim of a three-game losing streak at some point in this season.
Monday's announcement marks the sixth-straight week that Michigan State (22-7, 11-5 Big Ten) has been ranked among the top ten teams in the nation. In the USA Today coaches poll, though, the Spartans fell to No. 12 after their 58-57 loss against the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.
It isn't just chance, obviously, that explains why Michigan State still holds a top ten spot despite their tough losses, but rather that the Sagarin computer ranking (which calculates odds and probabilities for NCAA teams) deems head coach Tom Izzo's Spartans as having the No. 1 strength of schedule in the country. The computer ranking also places MSU at No. 7, despite what the USA Today and AP Top 25 polls had to say. While the human element still factors greatly into the equation when it comes to selecting teams for a seeding into the Big Dance, the computer polls remain highly-respected and offer a more "technologically-savvy" approach.
Also making top news for the Spartans on Monday, was the announcement that MSU's own Gary Harris was one of eight finalists revealed to be in contention for the 2013 Integris Wayman Tisdale Award. Given each season to the nation's top freshman in college basketball, the honor is awarded by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association each spring. Harris leads the Spartans in scoring with 13.3 points per game and also leads the team with 54 three-pointers. The star freshman was the only payer nominated as a finalist for the award among those in the Big Ten Conference.
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