Peterson: Bluebloods aren’t looking royal

As the history of college basketball goes, their names are pretty much set in gold.

There’s Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and Michigan State — all legendary on the hardcourt.

But barring a miracle or two (and a kindly NCAA Tournament committee) all could be absent when the Big Dance gets underway in April or May.

Of course, there’s always the chance one or more could win their conference playoff tourney and automatically qualify for the field.

Duke’s fall is perhaps the most alarming. Under coach Mike Kryzewski, the Blue Devils have annually been in contention for a title.

Kentucky’s demise is probably just as stunning, if not more so.

The Wildcats are something like 5-14 so far and may have to scramble to get to the NIT. That’s a big comedown for a program that has recorded more wins than any school in collegiate history.

Kansas, another powerhouse for decades, is stumbling along at an under .500 clip. Worst yet for the Jayhawks is the fact they have been largely unsuccessful at home.

The Michigan State meltdown has been as sudden as it is puzzling.

Coach Tom Izzo’s team won their first five games and appeared on course for another NCAA run.

But a stunning loss to lowly Northwestern began a skid that has yet to cease. Last week’s 88-58 thrashing at the hands of Iowa was the low point.

The problem, and it’s a big one, is that State is lacking a solid point guard. Foster Loyer is a good shooter, but too small to get good looks at the basket.

And the Spartans are sorely lacking the big, physical player underneath to grab rebounds and play defense. That was a staple with past Izzo-coached teams.

With a tough schedule ahead, there’s little reason to believe that MSU will make it to the postseason.

And arch-rival Michigan, enjoying a banner season is, no doubt, waiting for the March 4 meeting with their interstate rivals.

That one could be really ugly for MSU rooters.


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