-Alex Fry (‘19)
For possibly the first time in his career, Tom Izzo’s legitimacy is being brought into question. After Michigan State started off the 2017-2018 season as one of the favorites to win the NCAA Championship, it is now under question if they are even the favorite to win the Big 10.
Michigan State is littered with talent this year. Miles Bridges is one of the best players in the country and he and accompanying freshmen Jaren Jackson are both projected to be top ten NBA draft picks once they leave college. They also have veterans in Lourawls Nairn, Matt McQuaid and Kenny Goins that offer experience that is just as valuable as the younger players’ talent. The Spartans have one of the best rosters in the NCAA and arguably have their most talented roster since their championship-winning 2000 team with Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson.
The Spartans started off the season well, winning big matchups against No. 9 North Carolina and No. 5 Notre Dame. They even got as far as being ranked the No. 1 team in nation in week nine by the Associated Press. All of their recent success seemed to vanish though as soon as conference play started. In a shocking upset, the Spartans were blown out by the Ohio State Buckeyes 80-64, and started to sputter in their proceeding games. They struggled in a 76-72 win over Rutgers and lost to their rival Michigan at home. Within three short games, the Spartans lost their credibility as one of the nation’s top teams.
The Spartans should have been one of the top teams in the nation. But instead, they have been consistently struggling. If there were to be any season for Tom Izzo to pick up another championship and solidify his legacy as one of the best coaches in college basketball history, it is certainly now. There is no team this year that is undoubtedly the best; four teams have been consistently rotating out the No. 1 spot. With a team as talented as the Spartans and a relatively weak pool of other top teams, it is inexcusable if the Spartans do not make a long run in the tournament.