Well into the month of December and following a disappointing loss to Nebraska, a second straight Big Ten defeat, Michigan State basketball was sitting at 4-5 with no end to the struggles in sight.
Tyson Walker was the only player who seemed to have any momentum on offense and it didn't look like that was going to change as everyone else was struggling to keep up. He was a one-man show and that was taking a toll on him. Something had to change.
So when the Spartans got a 9-0 Baylor team at Little Caesars Arena, they knew they had to make a statement. They knew they had to pull off the upset of the No. 6 team in the nation or they would be in serious trouble. And for 40 minutes in mid-December in Detroit, Michigan State dominated the nation's sixth-best team en route to a 24-point win in which it scored 88 points.
The offense got back on track, but was it a one-hit wonder? We'd find out two days later at the Breslin Center against a pesky Oakland team that had beaten Xavier on the road earlier in the year while playing Ohio State and Illinois tough on the road, too. Michigan State dominated the Golden Grizzlies 79-62, but the final score should have been more lopsided if not for a late Oakland run.
Two blowout wins in three days was a good sign, but then the Spartans added another over Stony Brook before Christmas break, scoring 99 points in a 44-point win.
Following break, Michigan State came back to face a Quad 1 opponent in 11-1 Indiana State. The Sycamores were averaging 88 points per game before facing the Spartans and Michigan State was able to hold on for an 87-75 win despite a 3-point barrage.
Guys like Jaden Akins, AJ Hoggard, Malik Hall, and even Tre Holloman have stepped up offensively to match Tyson Walker and complement him nicely. This is what we expected to start the year.
Folks, Michigan State may have turned a corner and it'll be fun to watch during Big Ten play.