Seeing those teams go down has Michigan State on guard as it prepares to host Oakland on Sunday and Eastern Michigan on Wednesday.
“We can’t overlook any teams because we have got two great teams coming up within the next week and a half,” senior guard Travis Trice said. “Our thing is just trying to stay locked in and focus on us.”
It has been a while since the Spartans have lost a nonconference game to a team outside of a major conference with the most recent coming at Hawaii on Nov. 19, 2005. But with the Huskers and Wolverines losing to mid-majors and lower Division 1 schools, it has just served to add to the focus for MSU.
”Every single mid-major or small D1 is coming for you and wants to get that signature win,” junior Matt Costello said. “If they can get it, they are on ESPN going crazy. It’s just staying focused on what we have to do to win.”
With Oakland coming to Breslin Center this weekend, the Spartans know they will have to be on their game. The Golden Grizzlies have played the Spartans closely in a pair of recent meetings. Oakland played MSU tight in 2010 with the Spartans winning 77-76 and last year’s meeting Michigan State edged out Oakland in a 67-63 win.
Costello said it is a credit to Oakland having good scorers, while Trice offered up a more simple explanation.
“A well-coached team with great players is always dangerous,” he said.
But as the Spartans wrap up the nonconference slate with four more games, they are finding motivation in not wanting to be the latest team to be upset.
“It’s just motivating because you don’t want to be one of those teams,” junior Denzel Valentine said. “When you go out there and when you’re watching TV and seeing that stuff, you just look yourself in the mirror and say I don’t want to be that person.”