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3 reasons Michigan State basketball will beat Kansas State in Sweet 16

You can call me confident.

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

With the way Michigan State basketball has been playing, I’m confident that the Spartans will beat Kansas State.

Feel those nerves setting in? It must be game day. Kansas State and Michigan State basketball will face off on Thursday night with a trip to the Elite Eight on the line.

The Spartans are looking to advance to their first Elite Eight since 2019 and Kansas State is looking for its first trip since 2018. Both teams have what it takes to make the Final Four and I wouldn’t be shocked to see the winner of this game go on to win the region.

Michigan State is playing its best basketball of the season right now and I think the Spartans will win on Thursday night and head to the Elite Eight. And here’s why.

1. The shots have to start falling

Michigan State has beaten USC and Marquette without its best attribute: 3-point shooting.

The Spartans are an abysmal 7-for-30 from deep in the tournament thus far and they’re still beating teams by an average of 9.5 points. They scored 72 against USC and 69 against a defensive-minded Marquette team without making its shots from deep. That’s incredible if you think about it.

Now, the Spartans will face another defensive-minded team, but they’ve shown that they can get open shots. They just haven’t fallen yet. It feels like MSU is due.

2. MSU has the defenders to contain Markquis Nowell

The story of the tournament thus far has been the rise of 5-foot-8 point guard Markquis Nowell of Kansas State. He has been a superstar through two games and caught everyone’s attention in the Kentucky win.

But the difference between Kansas State’s first two opponents and Michigan State is the fact that the Spartans have a few guys who could match up with Nowell. Jaden Akins, AJ Hoggard, and Tyson Walker are all plus defenders who can put the clamps on star players much like they did with Boogie Ellis and Tyler Kolek.

If the defense does what it did against those two star guards, Michigan State is going to shut down the most important player on offense and force Keyontae Johnson to do all the heavy lifting.

3. Tom Izzo is a master in Sweet 16s

Tom Izzo has a record of 10-4 in Sweet 16 games. When he wins in the Sweet 16, he’s 8-2 in the Elite Eight. So usually, when he gets to the second weekend, he is really good at getting to the Final Four.

Plus, with four days of prep, it’s hard to bet against Izzo.

March Izzo is a different beast and it feels like we’re seeing a vintage Michigan State basketball team grow in front of our eyes. A nine-time Final Four-appearing head coach versus a first-year head coach? Jerome Tang is really good, but I’m giving Izzo the nod here.

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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