What does our Spartan Shadows staff think of Thursday night’s Kansas State vs. Michigan State basketball game?
Today’s the big day. Michigan State basketball will take on No. 3 seed Kansas State in the Sweet 16 at Madison Square Garden. The winner will be heading to their first Elite Eight in years with a very winnable field of teams remaining to compete for a national title.
To say that this is the biggest game in four years would be a huge understatement.
Tom Izzo is trying to get back to the Final Four for the ninth time. He’s also trying to head to his 11th Elite Eight. Meanwhile, Kansas State’s Jerome Tang is trying to head to his first of both in his first year as a head coach after coming over from Scott Drew’s staff at Baylor.
Do our writers believe in the magical run or do they think MSU heads home on Thursday night?
Connor Muldowney: It’s so hard to bet against Tom Izzo in March. He’s one of the best to ever do it and Kansas State feels like a team he usually beats with four days of preparation. Jerome Tang is going to give Izzo all he can handle, but Tyson Walker and Joey Hauser are going to have huge games to lead the Spartans to their first Elite Eight since 2019. There will be dancing in the streets of East Lansing on Thursday night. MSU 74, Kansas State 67
Maxwell Klitzke: Full disclosure, before the tournament, I penned in Kansas State to make the Final Four, beating MSU in this game. But then I watched this MSU team find a way to win not one but two games without help from the 3-ball. Kansas State likely provides the toughest guard matchup of MSU’s run so far, but with the found-again clamps of this MSU defense, I have to give them the edge. It’ll be a nail-biter for 40 minutes. Buckle up. MSU 74, Kansas State 71
Tyler Dutton: Thursday will bring a shoot-out performance similar to that of Carsen Edwards’ in Purdue’s Elite Eight back in 2019. The only difference is it’ll be in the form of a back-and-forth battle played out between Tyson Walker and Markquis Nowell. Michigan State will have to take advantage of K-State’s high opponent free throw attempts, but it will come down to which guard not named Walker or Nowell comes to life. While the Spartans have a slight edge on the glass and on the defensive end, the Wildcats run a perfect pick-and-roll formula that will be too much for Michigan State to defend. Kansas State 80, MSU 73
Chris Norman: Guard play will be on display in this matchup. KSU is very talented. Tyson and AJ need to be locked in from the jump. Look for Joey Buckets to have a few clutch baskets down the stretch as the Spartans pull away late and punch their ticket to Saturday’s Elite Eight. MSU 73, Kansas State 65
Emmett Matasovsky: Kansas State brings an excellent 3-point defense, but I believe the Spartans will be firing on all cylinders from behind the arc after struggles last game. Tyson Walker, AJ Hoggard, and Joey Hauser will all star for the Spartans. This is a KSU team that will be terrifying in a few years under coach Jerome Tang, but they just aren’t ready to have a complete game against a veteran-led Izzo team. The Spartans pull away down the stretch and convert a few free throws to win by six. MSU 75, Kansas State 69
Anthony Garvert: Two solid defensive teams playing Madison Square Garden? That has poor shooting slugfest written all over it, featuring some late-game heroics from both NY point guards. But give me the team that is 2-0 in its last two matchups against a No. 3 seed from the Big 12 in the Sweet 16. MSU 69, Kansas State 66
Liam O’Malley: I believe Michigan State will be able to slow down Kansas State and hold them under 60 points. Hauser will make 3-plus threes and the guards will play well enough to lead MSU to a victory. MSU 66, Kansas State 57
Owen Schuchaskie: Michigan State’s guards will rise to the occasion again on Thursday night. Markquis Nowell has become a name to watch, but Tyson Walker isn’t ready to let the tournament forget about him. Michigan State is due to see a few threes drop, and the defense is as organized as it’s been all season. I look for them to get started right out of the gate again, as they did the first weekend. MSU 74, Kansas State 66
Allen Couet: MSU holds Markquis Nowell to 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting but Keyontae Johnson puts up 22 points but it doesn’t matter. MSU 75, Kansas State 64
Zach Theis: Michigan State gets it done and beats Kansas State to advance to the Elite Eight. Tyson Walker and Joey Hauser lead the way for the Spartans as the 3-ball finally starts to fall. Michigan State’s defense clinches the win for the Spartans as they get a couple of key stops to end the game. MSU 68, Kansas State 62
Brendon Pricco: Markquis Nowell and Tyson Walker duel on the New York stage and both score 20-plus points. In the end, a few big threes down the stretch by the Spartans help cement the win. MSU 82, Kansas State 73
Daily MSU: Tyson Walker goes nuclear in his hometown return and scores 29 points. Kansas State will keep it close but Joey Hauser’s four 3-pointers will put MSU over the top. MSU 74, Kansas State 69
Zach Koby: AJ Hoggard legacy game after K-State keys in on Walker. MSU 68, Kansas State 60
@MSUDude4: It’ll be another closely contested game for the Spartans, but I have MSU winning this one. Look for Mady Sissoko to have another big game and for Tyson Walker to keep chugging. MSU 71, Kansas State 65
Sean Cook: I like the Spartans in this one. Izzo has all the pieces playing their role on both sides of the ball. The Spartans continue with their defensive intensity and assignments, the threes finally start to fall, and Tyson Walker continues to be clutch closing out games with his quickness and shot-making ability. It’s onto the Elite Eight for MSU. MSU 71, Kansas State 65
As you can see, about 95 percent of us are confident in Michigan State basketball on Thursday night.
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