Look out, America. Tom Izzo‘s Michigan State Spartans are finally healthy.
After struggling with mass injuries and inconsistency throughout the majority of the regular season, the team that was once thought to be the best in the nation appears to be back to national championship form. Branden Dawson is back dominating the offensive glass and getting out in transition. Keith Appling is back to being one of the top point guards in the entire country as well. And most importantly, Izzo’s Spartans are back as a whole.
Adreian Payne has dealt with plantar fasciitis. Dawson broke his hand. Appling has essentially had no shooting hand as his wrist has been severely in pain for much of the latter part of Big Ten Conference play. All of these injuries put a major damp on MSU’s regular season, there’s no question about it. The team had no continuity and wasn’t meshing at all. I mean, it’s certainly hard to do so when some of the top players in all of college basketball are constantly unavailable.
But in typical Izzo fashion, players have gotten healthy and the team is beginning to surge at the right time: March. The month has undeniably been the month of Izzo as the coach’s six Final Four’s in the last 15 years are more than any other coach within that time span. Izzo is known for getting teams to play their best basketball at the end of the season and this year seems to be no different.
The Spartans cruised to a Big Ten Tournament championship this past weekend, yet will still enter the Big Dance as a No. 4 seed. Regardless of seed number, now that they are entirely healthy and in sync, MSU is the trendy pick to win the national championship.
All five of ESPNs college basketball analysts picked the Spartans to cut down the nets in Dallas. Whether that’ll happen or not remains to be seen, but with a healthy roster intact as well as a top-flight coach like Izzo, Michigan State is clearly one of the favorites entering the 2014 NCAA tournament.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27