3 reasons Michigan State basketball still Big Ten favorite without Xavier Tillman

Rocket Watts, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Rocket Watts, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Xavier Tillman is heading off to the NBA, but that doesn’t mean Michigan State basketball can’t compete. The Spartans are still favorites.

Michigan State received some good news and some feel-good news on Sunday afternoon.

The good news was the fact that Aaron Henry was returning for his junior season. He helps the Spartans’ 2020-21 title hopes but shortly after he announced he’d be back for one more year, Xavier Tillman posted his farewell to Michigan State on Twitter. This was the feel-good news because Tillman has a family, graduated and accomplished a ton at MSU.

Tillman won three Big Ten titles, made a Final Four, won the Big Ten defensive player of the year award and raised a family with his wife in a tiny East Lansing apartment and graduated in just three years. He broke the school record for blocks as well.

Now that he’s a projected late-first round pick, the decision seems to be a good one as he gave Michigan State everything he could in three years.

Many are already talking about the Spartans falling behind teams like Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa in the Big Ten, but even without Tillman, they should be the favorites to win the league until proven otherwise.

Michigan State is the three-time reigning Big Ten champion and until someone proves otherwise, that will continue in 2020-21.