By now, most have probably heard of Tom Izzo's end-of-season remarks regarding his team (Why so soon, season's not over for everyone!). He complained without complaining about injuries and the tough ending stretch his team played. He said that 14 of their last 18 opponents were NCAA tournament teams. That does sound hard, but I thought I'd compare that to other top teams in the Big Ten.
MSU - 14 of 18. 18's a very arbitrary end point though, wonder why he picked that. Oh, because games 19, 20, 21, and 22 (going backwards) were against non tourney teams. So yeah, 14 of 18. Or 14 of 22. Fun with numbers!
Indiana - 14 of last 17. And they advanced farther in the tournament despite this "tougher" schedule end. (edit - they advcanced just as far, not farther. Both lost in Sweet 16).
Ohio State - 13 of last 16 and 14 of last 18. Also advanced farther.
Michigan - 13 of last 17. 16 of last 22. If Michigan wins on Saturday, that'll improve to 15 of last 19 and 18 of last 24. Obviously advanced farther.
Wisconsin - 12 of last 17.
So while 14 of 18 certainly sounds difficult, it definitely didn't handicap MSU's season. In fact, it was roughly equal to three other B10 contenders and all four of those teams were slightly more difficult than Wisconsin's. Only Wisconsin was knocked out quicker than MSU, the other three teams advanced past MSU.
But hey, whatever helps Izzo sleep at night!