Tyson Walker is returning for another year with Michigan State basketball. With this news, the expectations on the banks of the Red Cedar should be nothing short of a national championship.
This seems like a bold take with the Spartans coming off of a season where they were only a 7-seed in the NCAA Tournament but all the pieces are in place for this to finally be Tom Izzo’s second national championship.
The first and foremost reason Michigan State is primed to go on this run is the backcourt. It seems like, year after year, teams in March tend to go on runs based on having multiple elite guards. The most recent example of this is this year’s Miami Hurricanes whose tournament production came on the backs of Jordan Miller, Isaiah Wong, and Nijel Pack — three guards.
MSU has a similar but arguably better set of guards with AJ Hoggard, Jaden Akins, and now Walker coming back. All three have proven themselves as big tournament players as well. This is especially true of Hoggard who battled inconsistency all year only to put the team on his back come March and earn an all-regional selection.
The next piece to the championship puzzle in East Lansing is the talented freshman class coming in. Michigan State is bringing in the No. 3 recruiting class according to 247Sports, headlined by Xavier Booker.
By himself, Booker is a huge addition and will be the most talented player on this team from the moment he sets foot on campus. Bigs were the Achilles’ heel of the 2023 team with none of them asserting themselves. At the very least, Booker can help push the older bigs and even possibly be the everyday starter.
Next is Jeremy Fears, a talented five-star point guard from Joliet, Ill. He elevates what already is an elite returning backcourt to probably the best in the country. Coen Carr and Gehrig Normand round out the class and add important depth to a great team.
My final rationale for this argument is the one that you all knew was coming: Tom Izzo. He is a Hall-of-Fame coach who proved many of his naysayers wrong this March by showing that he’s far from washed by getting to the Sweet 16 after an upset win over Big East champ Marquette.
Izzo still has it and there is not a better coach in the history of college basketball in getting you to a Final Four. He has already been to eight but to prove all the doubters Mr.March is going to have to get the job done in April and with the team that will be in East Lansing next year he should get the job done.
Fun fact: Fanduel currently has Michigan State’s national title odds set at +1500.