Tyson Walker has been one of the best players not only in the Big Ten, but in college basketball this season, averaging 19.3 points per game and shooting 47 percent from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range. Michigan State basketball fans have grown accustomed to him dominating games.
However, he hasn't been quite as dominant -- per his standards -- in recent games.
Since scoring 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting in a loss to Northwestern, Walker has struggled to hit the 20-point mark (his average) and he's hit under 50 percent of his shots in 4-of-5 games. Actually, he's failed to convert on more than 36 percent of his shots on three occasions. That's very un-Walker-like of him.
Against Illinois, he was 7-for-10 from inside the arc, but he finished a paltry 1-for-7 from deep. The next game against Rutgers, he was 1-for-5 from inside the arc and 4-for-12 from the floor overall. He then had his best game in that stretch against Minnesota, scoring 21 on 7-for-13 shooting, but 12 of those points came in the final four minutes of the contest. He was just 5-of-14 from the floor against Maryland and then 4-of-14 against Wisconsin.
I know, he's the last player on the team that I should be singling out as "needing to play better" but the team goes as he goes. If he's struggling, the offense is usually stagnant.
That's why Tuesday night's game against Michigan could get him going back in the right direction again. He could gain some confidence back, seeing the ball go through the basket, and carry that over into a critical month of February which features a favorable slate.
If Walker can use a poor defensive team like Michigan to get his shot back on track, the Big Ten will be on notice for the next month. Sometimes all it takes is one "get right" game to rid a player of his struggles.
Let's hope this happens with Walker on Tuesday because the Spartans will need vintage Tyson for the rest of the season if they're going to make a run in March.