The Michigan State Spartans have faced top-three opponents twice this season and both times have managed to come out in one piece. Suddenly, the No. 5-ranked team is being floated as the team to beat on the college basketball futures. Is this the year that MSU finally puts it all together?

Though a perennial staple when it comes to betting on March Madness, this year’s MSU team has 5/1 odds of winning the NCAA Tournament outright. It would be the program’s first national title since the spring of 2000.

Although much has to happen between now and then, the fact that the Tom Izzo-led squad has looked so strong against top-ranked opponents suggests that this year’s team may have a little bit more to rely on come postseason time than simply being the scrappy underdog with a brilliant head coach.

Get a good look at just what they’re capable of this weekend when they hit the road against No. 23-ranked rival Illinois.

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