Michigan State Basketball: There's Work to be Done

McLain Moberg

College basketball teams and fans were locked in over the weekend because the NCAA's deadline to withdraw from the NBA Draft was Monday at 11:59 p.m.

Michigan State fans didn't look beyond Sunday as Xavier Tillman Sr. and Aaron Henry announced their decisions.

Tillman is off to the NBA, and Henry is back in East Lansing. Either way, the Spartans aren't just going to go away.

However, according to Kyle Boone of CBS Sports, the Spartans were losers in a pool of Big Ten winners, including Illinois and Iowa – two teams MSU will battle against for another regular-season title.

"While Iowa and Illinois celebrated returns from veteran players, Michigan State lost Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman -- its top two players -- to this year's NBA Draft. And while Aaron Henry's return is huge, Sparty, with a core of Henry and Rocket Watts, looks to be an afterthought in the Big Ten race given what the Hawkeyes and Illini return," said Boone.

The Spartans will need to figure out a way to replace Tillman and Cassius Winston, but counting them out is irresponsible. A team pursuing it's fourth-straight Big Ten title shouldn't be considered an afterthought – regardless of who Illinois (Ayo Dosunmu, Kofi Cockburn) and Iowa (Luka Garza) returned. 

In light of the deadline passing, Boone describes what it means for Iowa to have Garza in 2020, saying, "Since 2000, only four players who won Big Ten Player of the Year opted to return the following year, as Luka Garza announced Sunday he intends to do at Iowa. In three of those four instances, the team who welcomed back the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year won at least a share of the regular-season conference championship the following season -- including last year, with Cassius Winston and Michigan State."

Michigan State will have their work cut out for them, but work is Tom Izzo's specialty.

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