The Michigan State basketball team got a big win over the Kansas Jayhawks, drawing praise from former Spartans point guard and NBA legend Magic Johnson.
Expectations are high for Michigan State basketball year in and year out and as one of college basketball’s best coaches, Tom Izzo routinely has his team making deep runs in the NCAA tournament.
That means the Spartans are no strangers to big wins, but those have come more often at the end of the season than the beginning. Izzo has his team playing one of the toughest non-conference schedules each season, but that hasn’t always translated into big early-season wins.
This year, the Spartans did get an impressive win by beating the Kansas Jayhaws on Tuesday night. That got the attention of one of the program’s most notable alums, Magic Johnson.
Magic has been a strong supporter of his alma mater’s basketball program so it is no surprise to see him come out with a word of encouragement for this year’s squad – particularly after taking down a big program like the Kansas Jayhawks.
It is unlikely we’ll look back on this game and say the Jayhawks were overrated coming into the matchup with Michigan State despite ranking number 4 in the Top 25 poll. They have a strong team and once again figure to fight for a Big XII championship. It is more likely we’ll look back and say the Spartans, who were ranked 13th this week, were underrated in early-season polls.
The Spartans have a chance to jump into the top ten when the next poll is release but more important than that is that Michigan State made an early statement that they can be a contender this season.
Denzel Valentine was terrific in leading the Spartans to a comeback win in the second half and even though they got the win, there is still plenty of room to grow so they are once again playing their best basketball at tournament time.
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The Spartans return to action Friday night when Arkansas-Pine Bluff visits the Breslin Center. While it is a step back into the usual pre-conference schedule of weaker teams, Michigan State still has high-profile matchups with Louisville and Florida, as well as a potential Wooden Legacy matchup with Arizona, before conference play begins.