The Michigan State Spartans are feeling the pain of what it's like to endure a grueling early-season schedule. It's been a grinder, with matchups against Arizona and Kentucky among the first several games to start the season.
It didn't get any easier Thursday, as the Spartans lost 73-58 to No. 20 Baylor to fall to 3-3.
After the game, Tom Izzo addressed his team apologetically for putting them through the ringer.
"I actually apologized to my team,'' Izzo said via ESPN. "And yet, I've always played a tough schedule. ... You know what? You can take it as an excuse, you can take it as the truth, I don't give a damn. I'm telling you what I did. This ain't on them. It's on me."
According to CBS Sports bracketologist Jerry Palm, Michigan State's strength of schedule ranks 55th in the country of 351 teams. But there is no denying that facing Arizona, Baylor and Kentucky -- all teams who are having great success early this season -- doesn't make things easy for the still-developing Spartans.
"We were moving the ball and really playing well I thought through the first half, and we quit doing that," Izzo said after the loss to Baylor. "I just think we looked awfully tired. I can accept that that's my fault, not theirs.''
Things won't get easier for Michigan State over the next week. The Spartans face Wichita State on Friday for third place in the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Shockers are ranked No. 23 in CBS Sports top 25 (and one). Then they'll turn around and travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to face Duke on Tuesday.