Michigan State basketball improved its Champions Classic record on Tuesday with a huge win over No. 4 Kentucky.
For a second straight game, Michigan State basketball took a top-five team down to the wire. This time, however, there was overtime to be had.
Also this time, Michigan State picked up a win.
Just days after nearly knocking off No. 2 Gonzaga, Michigan State took No. 4 Kentucky to overtime thanks to a huge game from Joey Hauser and also Mady Sissoko. The Spartans were able to prevail in double overtime to improve to 2-1 on the year.
AJ Hoggard was fighting with injuries late, Sissoko rose to the occasion against Oscar Tshiebwe, and this team showed a ton of grit to pull off the upset of Kentucky.
Here are my quick thoughts after this monster win.
1. Mady Sissoko is him
The more I watch of Mady Sissoko, the more I love what I see. I think everyone expected to see him struggle against Drew Timme and Oscar Tshiebwe to start the season, but he has done anything but that.
He’s been him.
Sissoko looked great against Gonzaga and shut Timme down and then played really well against Tshiebwe. He finished with 16 points and nine rebounds against Kentucky and looked great on both ends of the floor. It’s time to start throwing respect his way.
2. Joey Hauser bounced back in a monster way
Wow, what else is there to say about Joey Hauser’s bounce-back performance? He shook off one of the worst games of his career against Gonzaga and put together one of the best games of his career, scoring 23 points with eight rebounds against the No. 4 team in the country.
It’s nice to see that Joey isn’t letting his bad games spill over into the next one because that was a major problem for him last year and the season before.
Joey looks confident again.
3. This is a top 10-15 team
I know this may be a hot take, but Michigan State is easily a top 10-15 team in my eyes. This may be a biased take, but unranked teams don’t take the No. 2 team down to the wire (and probably should have won) nor beat No. 4 in overtime by nine points. Heck, top 20-25 teams don’t do that.
Michigan State deserves to not only be ranked but it deserves to be in that 10-15 range or at the very least 15-20. But the Spartans have to avoid a hangover from this win against Villanova on Friday night.
Tom Izzo is already proving a ton of people wrong.