It's not easy to predict college basketball. Crazy stuff happens. Preseason lineups change dramatically. Numbers only go so far. Accurately selecting the national champion is hard enough; projecting the result of every game for a specific team is downright impossible.
But that's exactly what Lansing State Journal reporter Joe Rexrode did. Rather than merely giving a few preseason predictions -- here are my Final Four teams, here's your Big Ten champ, here's a sleeper to watch, etc. -- Rexrode looked into his crystal ball to decide the outcome of every single one of Michigan State's games this season. What did he find? Another Tom Izzo national title:
April 4 in Houston: Well of course it's Duke. The selection committee made sure the top two teams could meet on the last day. They do, and this time the Spartans get the job done on a neutral floor - claiming a second national championship for Tom Izzo and a third for Michigan State. Final record: 34-5
Duke fans might have a few problems with that outcome, but it's a fun little exercise, and no doubt the MSU fans that dutifully follow Rexrode's beat coverage appreciate his optimism about MSU's season. The only qualm here is the prediction that the Spartans will only lose three games in this year's Big Ten; that's a pretty low number, given the strength of the conference and the difficulty of winning on the road at places like Illinois, Wisconsin, Purdue, Minnesota and Ohio State. (Ohio State might not have the best home environment in the world, but these Buckeyes are just plain good.) But, you know, it's just a prediction. It's just for fun. But the real fun begins now.