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Michigan State Basketball: Reflecting on the 2022-23 season

Let’s look back at the year that was.

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Michigan State basketball
© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With the season now at an end, it’s time to look back on everything the 2022-23 edition of Michigan State basketball accomplished.

The 2022-23 Michigan State basketball season has come to an end, and what a ride it was. Between the injuries and the heartbreaking losses on and off the court, and some truly inspiring performances and shocking victories, it was one heck of a ride.

Let’s reflect on the up-and-down year that ended in the Sweet 16.

The Good: Seniors

As I mentioned in a previous article, our seniors carried us all year, and they gave us some memorable performances. From Joey Hauser’s six 3-pointer games against Nebraska and Ohio State to Tyson Walker’s 30-plus point performances against Iowa and Purdue and Malik Hall’s electric 20-point game against Kentucky in the Champions Classic, all three of them have played their best basketball this year, and I am forever thankful for that.

Even Jason Whitens put in some good minutes early in the season when Hall and Akins went down with injuries.

In a rocky and unpredictable season, the seniors kept Michigan State afloat and gave the program direction, at times single-handedly winning us games and keeping seemingly fleeting tourney hopes alive. They were very much a bright spot this year, and I am going to miss them dearly (assuming none of them decide to come back, of course).

The Good: The Izzone

Growing up, I had always been told about how the Izzone was one of the greatest — if not the greatest — student sections in the country. I believed it, and from what I saw on TV, I had no reason not to. Now, having a year as an Izzone member under my belt, I can say that statement with certainty: we are the best student section in the country.

Obviously I’m biased, but I truly believe it.

Even being in the upper bowl most of the year, I could tell that everyone was invested in the game and had seemingly unlimited energy. In my few games where I was lucky enough to sit in the lower bowl, this became even more apparent. I never left the Breslin Center without first losing my voice cheering on our team. The Izzone is more than just a bunch of college kids who like to watch basketball; it’s a community of Michigan State Spartans who love to spend time together and cheer on not only their basketball team, but their classmates and friends.

Nowhere was this more apparent then in our game against Indiana, just a week after the tragedy that occurred on campus. From the moment I walked into the Breslin that night, I could tell the energy was different. That night, and every night since then, we have been more than a student section; we’ve been a family who will always be there for each other and will come together in the face of even the mightiest adversity.

I can’t wait to come back next year and cheer on our Spartans for another season.

The Good: The NCAA Tournament

All things considered, I would consider Michigan State’s 2022-23 NCAA Tournament run a success.

Coming into the season, nobody really expected too much from this team. After the last two years consisted largely of disappointment, most of us looked at this as a year to “stay afloat” and give us some momentum going into next year with our incredible recruiting class coming in. If you had told me preseason that this team would make the Sweet 16 and lose in overtime to a team with a historic point guard performance, I would have been mildly content, and that’s about where I am right now.

The boys played their hearts out in March, which is about all I can ask for, and in the end they fell just short against Kansas State, but that showing was certainly nothing to hang their heads on.

(Side note: Before the tournament, I released an article predicting a Sweet 16 loss to Kansas State. Am I psychic? We may never know.)

The Bad: Consistency

Never in my life have I seen a team more wildly inconsistent than this year’s Spartans. One day, we’re beating then-top-five Kentucky on the national stage, the next we’re losing by 20 to Notre Dame on a Wednesday night.

The incredible highs and horrendous lows made this season a rough one on my heart, but I at least can say I kept my eyes glued to the screen every game.

They finally seemed to hit their stride come tournament time (as Tom Izzo’s teams always seem to do), and I have faith that they can keep that consistency rolling into next season.

The Ugly: It’s over

There’s nothing that I would say was truly ugly about this season. The only thing that I can really be upset about is that it’s over. As crazy as this season has been, this team fought with each other, fought for each other, and fought for all of us Spartans, both current and past, and they should be mightily proud of all they accomplished this year.

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