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Michigan State basketball: 3 fearless predictions vs. Kansas State in Sweet 16

An Elite Eight is on the line.

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Michigan State basketball
© Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

A lot is on the line in Thursday night’s Kansas State vs. Michigan State basketball game. Who will head to the Elite Eight?

Ah, yes. The good, ol’ feeling of one million knots in your stomach as a huge Michigan State basketball game in March approaches is back. How we’ve missed you.

With a Sweet 16 game against Kansas State approaching in hours, Spartan fans are probably dead tired from not being able to sleep a wink last night. Don’t worry, that feeling will only come back if Michigan State happens to beat the Wildcats. What a good problem to have.

There are plenty of storylines to occupy our time and distract us in the hours leading up to the game such as Tom Izzo getting the pizza he was promised from Tyson Walker or the latter returning home to play in the mecca of hoops or Joey Hauser going from oft-criticized to having his name chanted in the second round.

If you’ve already shuffled through those storylines and need to kill more time, I’ve got you covered with some fearless predictions.

Let’s go 3-for-3 on these.

1. Tyson Walker has a career game

Returning home, Walker refused to speak to the NYC media about himself and the storyline circulating his homecoming. He’s been all business. Walker is just here to play basketball.

And that attitude is going to lead to a heck of a game against Kansas State.

While he might not quite put up 30 points like he did in a career game against Purdue earlier this year, he’ll drop 25 points and make a few big threes in the process. He’ll also stay away from the turnover bug, dishing three more assists — this will give him nine assists with no turnovers in the NCAA Tournament.

Walker is going to make clutch shot after clutch shot to drive Kansas State nuts and send the Madison Square Garden crowd into a frenzy.

2. Michigan State finally gets hot from deep

Through two NCAA Tournament games, Michigan State is 7-for-30 from deep. That’s a far cry from their 40 percent clip on the season and white-hot shooting in the four games before the Big Ten Tournament.

I think the Spartans finally get it going against Kansas State on Thursday. They’ll make at least 10 threes and put Kansas State on its heels defensively.

Walker is going to make three, Joey Hauser will add three, Jaden Akins will drop two, and I think AJ Hoggard and Malik Hall each add at least one. This 3-point barrage will be just what the Spartans needed against one of the best teams in the country.

A 10-for-24 day from deep should be enough to beat Kansas State, no?

3. MSU covers, heads to Tom Izzo’s 11th Elite Eight

Believe it or not, Michigan State is actually the favorite heading into Thursday’s game against No. 3 Kansas State. It’s not often you seed a 7-seed favored against a 3-seed. But that’s what happens when Izzo makes it to the second weekend in March.

The Spartans are 1.5-point favorites and they’ll cover and head to their first Elite Eight since 2019 and draw even more comparisons to the 2015 Final Four team.

A late 3-pointer by Walker over Markquis Nowell will put this game away along with a subsequent Mady Sissoko block on a critical drive. Michigan State will have East Lansing in an uproar at approximately 8:30 p.m. ET on Thursday night.

Protect those couches, folks.

Writer, co-owner of Spartan Shadows. Michigan State and college football expert at FanSided and formerly of The Detroit News. Expert on all things Michigan State. Connor Muldowney has written about Michigan State since graduating from the university with a degree in journalism back in 2013. Ten years of experience as a Michigan State writer/reporter.

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