/College basketball rankings: Michigan State’s slide continues as Badgers hand Spartans second straight loss
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College basketball rankings: Michigan State’s slide continues as Badgers hand Spartans second straight loss

USATSI

Michigan State lost Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman off of last season’s team that shared the Big Ten title with Maryland and Wisconsin. But the Spartans were still ranked in the top 15 of the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll because they returned some talented pieces, added Marquette transfer Joey Hauser, and still had Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo on the sideline.

The Spartans got the benefit of the doubt.

They deserved it.

But after Friday’s 85-76 loss to Wisconsin, it’s fair to start wondering if Michigan State will meet expectations. The Spartans actually led by nine points in the second half but were outscored 43-25 over the final 16:11 while their defense let them down for the third consecutive game.

“Disappointed to get a nine-point lead, and you just don’t step on their throat,” Izzo said.

Wisconsin shot 51.9% from the field in the win and became the third straight team to shoot at least 50% against the Spartans. That’s not normal. And it’s among the reasons Michigan State now ranks 61st nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency after finishing 13th in the same category last season. For context, consider that Michigan State hasn’t finished outside of the top 40 in adjusted defensive efficiency since 2006. So, again, this is not normal.

Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Marcus Carr finished with 30 points and eight assists while leading Minnesota to a 102-95 overtime victory over Iowa late Friday. The Golden Gophers’ 8-1 record also includes a win over Saint Louis with the lone loss coming at Illinois.  And Iowa is now 7-2 with zero wins over schools currently ranked in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1. So I’ve jumped Minnesota from unranked to No. 17, one spot ahead of Iowa, in Saturday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1. That move caused Michigan State, Duke, Michigan, LSU, Oregon, Arkansas, Colorado, Xavier and Louisville to be pushed down one spot each, no fault of their own. Consequently, Chris Mack’s Cardinals are now the first team out.

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Saturday’s Top 25 And 1 rankings