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Spartans lose again, fall to 17th in the Top 25 (and one)

People love to talk about how good Michigan State is when Michigan State is at full strength. But the Spartans are never at full strength -- proof being that Denzel Valentine is the only regular to appear in all 28 games this season. Branden Dawson has missed 10 games, and he's still sidelined with a broken hand. Gary Harris and Keith Appling have missed three games each. Adreian Payne has missed seven. Travis Trice has missed two. Kenny Kaminski has missed seven. Matt Costello has missed four, and surely you can tell why Tom Izzo is frustrated and starting to come to grips with reality.

"Normality is not gonna hit our team," Izzo said after Sunday's loss at Michigan, and did you realize Michigan State hasn't won consecutive games in more than a month?

It's true.

The Spartans are 5-5 in their past 10 games.

They've alternated wins and losses since January 21st.

So now Michigan State is 22-6 overall, 11-4 in the Big Ten, and the Spartans are just 6-5 against the top 50 of the RPI with two losses to their instate rival. Simply put, that's probably not the resume of a future champion. So either Michigan State needs to change or the expectations placed upon Michigan State need to change. Because that team that's so dominant in theory hasn't really played together much, and it's fair to wonder if it ever will.

Anyway ...

The Top 25 (and one) updates every morning and also on Sunday nights.

Here's the latest version:

(Click this link to view each team's previous ranking, recent results, future schedule, etc.)

  1. Florida (25-2)
  2. Wichita State (29-0)
  3. Arizona (25-2)
  4. Syracuse (25-2)
  5. Creighton (23-4)
  6. Villanova (24-3)
  7. Kansas (21-6)
  8. Iowa State (21-5)
  9. Wisconsin (22-5)
  10. Louisville (23-4)
  11. Duke (22-6)
  12. Saint Louis (25-2)
  13. Cincinnati (24-4)
  14. Virginia (23-5)
  15. San Diego State (23-3)
  16. Michigan (19-7)
  17. Michigan State (22-6)
  18. Iowa (19-7)
  19. Memphis (21-6)
  20. Kentucky (21-6)
  21. Texas (20-7)
  22. North Carolina (20-7)
  23. Ohio State (22-6)
  24. Connecticut (21-6)
  25. UMass (21-5)
  26. New Mexico (21-5)

Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.
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