UPDATE: Tom Izzo responds to the conspiracy theory--click here to see what he had to say

Remember back in December when Michigan State hoops was undefeated and No. 1 in the country, then Denzel Valentine went down with a knee injury?

Well, like seemingly most things these days, there's a conspiracy theory about it.

It comes from former Ohio State basketball player Mark Titus.You may remember him for his popular blog, Club Trillion, where he documented his college basketball experiences. He also contributed to the now-defunct sports writing website Grantland.

Anyway, Titus' hypothesis goes something like this: Izzo, ever the basketball mad scientist, was worried his team was peaking too soon back in December, so he and Valentine faked the knee injury so that the Spartans would incur some adversity and suffer some setbacks, ultimately in an effort to sharpen them and set them up for a true peak as March encroaches.

Titus laid it all out on Twitter back in December:

The Spartans didn't exactly suck without Valentine: They won three out of four games without him.

Titus' prediction that MSU would regain its superb non-conference form in February is eerily prophetic now, however, as the Spartans have won six out of seven while looking like one of the best teams in the country and Valentine has firmly ensconced himself in the National Player of the Year race.

But to think that Izzo would concoct a plan to intentionally cost his team games seems so anathema to the competitor he is that it's utterly unbelievable. Then again, Izzo has been known to do a lot of in-game tinkering with his lineups that cause short-term losses for the sake of long-term gains.

So what do you think: Typical fantastical conspiracy theory, or are you starting to wonder?