The Spartans are back at No. 1, at least in the power rankings. In the newest Power 36 from analyst and NCAA.com correspondent Andy Katz, Michigan State sits atop the rest, after a win against former No. 12 Seton Hall, in what Katz called “the best win of the week.” In the Associated Press Top 25, Michigan State remains at No. 3.
Duke, Louisville, Virginia and Maryland round out the newest top five in the power rankings. In the AP poll, Duke advances into the No. 1 place for the first time this season, as Louisville does the same for the No. 2 spot.
After a nail biting loss to Kentucky in the Champions Classic, where the Spartans didn’t play anywhere near their best basketball, they surrendered their No. 1 ranking, falling to No. 3 in the power rankings.
Michigan State was able to bounce back, following their loss up with a blowout victory against Binghamton and an impressive win against then-power ranked No. 9 Seton Hall away from home.
Seton Hall came to play against the former No. 1, with their senior guard Myles Powell dropping 37 points as a game-time decision. Seton Hall’s effort would be matched by a combination of players from Michigan State. Malik Hall, perhaps the most notable, dropped 17 points without a miss and added the game winner, earning him Player of the Week on top of the win.
The backcourt added a much needed accent performance in the win, as senior Cassius Winston posted 21 points and four assists, while freshman Rocket Watts managed eight points and a big three in crunch time.
With the win against Seton Hall, it raised the question as to whether the Spartans could be No. 1, and the momentous victory is what pushed them atop the power rankings. But the undefeated No. 1 and No. 2, Duke and Louisville, make similar arguments and the absence of a loss helped their cause in the AP polls.
Former No. 1 Kentucky fell to No. 9 after an upset defeat at the hands of unranked Evansville.
Michigan State will look to carry on their momentum into the following weeks, as they will meet Charleston Southern Monday night, then pack their bags for Hawaii, where they join Virginia Tech in the first round of the Maui Invitational.