Michigan State basketball: I think we may owe Tom Izzo another apology

Dec 10, 2023; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo during the first
Dec 10, 2023; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo during the first / Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

I'll be the first to admit it: I was wrong. I was critical of Tom Izzo a couple of weeks ago after a fifth loss on the season in nine games in which Michigan State basketball dropped a road contest against Fred Hoiberg and Nebraska.

I was ready to throw the towel in on the 2023-24 season which saw the Spartans start ranked No. 4 in the country. The Spartans fell to 4-5 and looked like there was no end to the slide in sight.

The Spartans controlled most of the game against the Cornhuskers only to crumble late and lose. It felt like a theme. This team just couldn't put together a complete game. Izzo looked like he had lost his fastball. I had even uttered that phrase after the loss, declaring the lengthy NCAA Tournament streak dead on the spot.

I was wrong.

Fast forward to Dec. 30 and Michigan State completed its fourth straight double-digit win and second in four games against a Quad 1 opponent. To start the streak, Michigan State dominated No. 6 Baylor by 24 points and then beat Oakland by 17, Stony Brook by 44, and then an 11-1 Indiana State team by 12. The Spartans have finally looked like the team we all expected.

And I was wrong about Izzo being washed up. I own that.

The problem was that the players were struggling at the same time. AJ Hoggard wasn't playing like his usual confident self, Jaden Akins was only good on the defensive end, Malik Hall looked like he lost a step, and the combination of Carson Cooper and Mady Sissoko wasn't egtting it done in the paint. Something changed.

The team has figured it out and Tyson Walker isn't the only one doing the work anymore.

Izzo has lit a fire under this squad and they're playing some of the best basketball they've played in years. And they're doing it without two key players in Jeremy Fears Jr. and Jaxon Kohler.

So, I would like to apologize for jumping the gun. I was wrong. Izzo has not lost it. He's not washed. His annual slump just came earlier than usual.