Michigan State Spartans top dog in odd Big 10 men's basketball tourney
By GENARO C. ARMAS
AP Sports Writer
MADISON, Wis. — What an odd year in the Big Ten.
Michigan State looks Final Four-worthy but faces off-court questions. Wisconsin looks better but still faces a losing record.
And Nebraska — Nebraska! — is up.
It’s time to take this Midwest hoops show back on the road again.
The Big Ten Tournament begins today, a week earlier than usual at Madison Square Garden in New York.
No better place for an NCAA bubble team like Nebraska to make a stand. The Cornhuskers had a school-record 13 league wins to bust its reputation as a lower-division dweller.
Coach Tom Izzo’s MSU team won the conference crown outright and the top seed in the Big Ten tourney by grinding out a 68-63 win at Wisconsin in a matchup of the last two conference teams to make the Final Four (2015).
Each school has had challenging seasons for different reasons.
The young Badgers endured growing pains and an uncharacteristic losing season.
Michigan State’s most pressing issues have come off the court.
Questions have swirled over how the school handled allegations against disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar, leading to broader questions about how Izzo and other coaches at the school have dealt with various allegations against players.