But that was two weeks ago.
Now the Spartans, deep in the throes of a late season swoon have given up control of the race, falling to third place after losing four of their last six including two in a row at home.
So, in the words of Judge Joe Brown, it's time for MSU to "Man Up."
The Spartans are going to face an obnoxious crowd of rowdy Boilermaker fans hoping to make themselves the X-factor and take away some of the sting of losing star forward Robbie Hummel.
Hummel was lost for the season in Purdue's closer than expected 59-58 win over Minnesota. While some experts believe that Purdue can pick up the slack for Hummel's loss in the short term, MSU must prove that assertion is wrong.
MSU needs its core players to play up to their potential on Sunday, something they haven't always done, specifically they need Kalin Lucas to bounce back from a subpar 3-0f-14 shooting night in MSU's loss to Ohio State.
They need Raymar Morgan to be the explosive interior presence he's shown he can be on occasion and not allow the size of the game or an official's whistle to take him out of his game.
They need both Delvon Roe and Chris Allen to be solid contributors who are active early. And perhaps most importantly, they need the kind of performance that Durrell Summers has shown he can deliver when he's on.
If there is one player who has consistently overachieved and never backed away from the challenge, its reserve forward Draymond Green who continues to be the heart and soul of the Spartans. He is the one player who has the emotion and the mentality of the great MSU floor leaders of the past.
He's a difference maker and it will be interesting to see if Coach Tom Izzo gives his coach on the floor more minutes in a critical game in West Layfayette on Sunday.
MSU has a lot of things going for it heading into this game. It is more talented than Purdue, it is deeper than Purdue, and Purdue will be without their best player, forward Robbie Hummel who is lost for the season.
It will take more than talent for MSU to get back into the conference race. It'll take guts - the crowd at Mackey Arena will make it the most hostile of snakepits that MSU has faced all season.
It'll take poise - raucous crowds like the ones at Mackey can rattle the best of players. It'll take smarts - Matt Painter is one of the top coaches in the nation, but so is Tom Izzo.
Most of all it'll take a solid, gutsy, manly effort for MSU to come out of West Lafayette with the most unlikely of upsets.
MSU will have to Man Up and if they do, they can find themselves right back in the thick of the conference regular season race.