There's no denying that it's been a tough start to the year for the Spartans of Michigan State. A quartet of high-profile losses against Arizona, Kentucky, Baylor and Duke might have had fans grumbling about what has traditionally been a top-flight college basketball program. Things have started to settle for head coach Tom Izzo and company — who have gone 5-1 without freshman phenom and leading scorer Miles Bridges — but a blip on the radar in the form of a defeat at the hands of Northeastern likely had some of those same fans reaching for the panic button again.
However, Izzo has proven to be a master of helping guide his team through a season while growing as a unit along the way. In other words, Michigan State fans have no fear: Big Ten conference play is here. And this year's campaign started off on the right foot with a 75-74 overtime victory against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.