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Michigan State Is In Serious Danger Of Missing The NCAA Tournament

tom izzo looks onto the court during a game in east lansing

EAST LANSING, MI - DECEMBER 29: Michigan State Spartans Head Basketball Coach Tom Izzo watches the action dusting the first half of the game against the Northern Illinois Huskies at the Breslin Center on December 29, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State defeated Northern Illinois 88-60. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

It's been a bizarre year of college basketball, but few of the NCAA Tournament regulars are as at risk of missing March Madness entirely as Michigan State.

With their loss to No. 13 Ohio State today, the Spartans have fallen to 8-6 on the season and are just 2-6 in the Big Ten. Only Nebraska has a worse record in the Big Ten right now.

CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein noted that the Spartans have not missed the NCAA Tournament since 1997. Only Kansas, North Carolina and Duke have longer appearance streaks in the Power Five. (Last year's canceled Tournament obviously doesn't count.)

The Spartans rose as high as No. 4 in the nation thanks to a 6-0 start in non-conference play. Huge wins over Notre Dame and Duke had the Spartans looking like early favorites for the national title.

But once the Big Ten regular season started, Michigan State fell into an immediate slump. They lost three straight before getting back on track with wins over Nebraska and Rutgers. But that was undone by three straight losses - including a road loss to Rutgers where they scored just 37 points - dropping them to 13th in the Big Ten standings.

Fortunately for Tom Izzo and company, there are nine games left and the Spartans are within two games of the middle of the standings.

If the Big Ten gets as many NCAA Tournament slots as some people think it will, Michigan State may just be one brief hot streak away from continuing their streak.

But if Michigan State only barely get into the NCAA Tournament, Spartans fans will be very nervous come March Madness.