1. Tyson Walker leads the way to a big win
Tyson Walker has had a couple of solid games against Illinois in his career and one so-so performance. His first-ever matchup with the Illini was two years ago and he scored 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting in a 79-74 home loss. He was borderline unstoppable and was the reason Michigan State nearly pulled off an improbable comeback.
Later that season, he was 3-for-10 from the floor in a one-point road loss to the Illini.
The next year, he only faced Illinois once and finished with 14 points as the Spartans choked away a nine-point second-half lead to lose 75-66. That was almost a year ago today (Jan. 13, 2023).
I think we're going to see Walker's last road matchup with Illinois be his best performance yet and the Spartans will finally beat the Illini for the first time in his Spartan career. He's going to drop 27 points, four rebounds, and five assists en route to a huge 76-73 road win over Illinois.
This performance will be talked about for the remainder of the year and this game will be looked at as the one in which Michigan State realized it could beat anyone, anywhere.