MBB: Required Reading

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ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil writes about the extensive coaching trees in college basketball. Michigan State's Tom Izzo makes this list with his prolific branches.

FOXSports.com's Jeff Goodman says that the national Player of the Year is a coin flip this year with Ohio State's Evan Turner on one side of the coin.

SI's Andy Glockner writes that OSU's Evan Turner should lead all Player of the Year debates.

Battle Tested, Spartan Approved

What they are saying:
Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy: When analysts begin to question whether you have the NBA-quality talent to win the national title, that's really good news. Does Michigan State? With Kalin Lucas playing like this, the Spartans might be good enough. Since Tom Izzo sat him down for a practice Dec. 29, Lucas averaged 16 points entering the week and MSU was 8-0.

ESPN.com's Pat Forde makes the case for the 10 teams in the nation that could win the National Title. What he says about the Big Ten contenders.

Michigan State (5). Why the Spartans can win it: Seven players in the rotation were key parts of their 2009 run to the national championship game, and guard Kalin Lucas apparently has gotten the leadership message his coach sent a while back. Izzo is as good a coach as there is in the country, and you know his teams will rebound and defend until the last dog dies. Their 7-0 Big Ten start shows that Sparty is locking in right on time.

Why they might not: Michigan State doesn't have anyone taller than 6-foot-8 in the regular rotation, which could eventually create a problem despite the surplus of biceps in Izzo's lineup. The Spartans also could find themselves a step slower than some elite competition.

Record against RPI top 50: 2-1  |  Record against RPI top 100: 7-3.

Purdue (6). Why the Boilermakers can win it: Given Michigan State's obsessive drive to reach the Final Four in its home state last year, the same dynamic could work in Purdue's favor in Indianapolis this year. The Boilers' big three of Robbie Hummel, E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson can play with anybody's. Chris Kramer is an annoyance to any and all guards. And coach Matt Painter said Monday that injured point guard Lewis Jackson -- the missing ingredient thus far for the 16-3 Boilers -- is very close to being ready to play.

Why they might not: There remains a chance that Jackson will never be 100 percent, or that he'll choose to redshirt this season. ("He has to understand that if he gets knocked out after two games, that's his year," Painter said. "That's his season. We have to paint a couple worst-case scenarios for him so he understands.") Purdue's three-game losing streak earlier this month was enough to instill doubt. And it might be a lot to ask for a group of players and a coach who have never been to a Final Four to jump up and win it all.

Record against RPI top 50: 3-2  |  Record against RPI top 100: 7-3

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