Michigan State Spartans (19-14, 9-9)
Lost in first round of NCAA tournament (UCLA won 78-76).
Coach Tom Izzo (383-161, 2000 national champion) starts his 16th season as the Spartans’ basketball coach.
Projected starting five:
So. G Keith Appling
Sr. G Austin Thornton
Fr. F/G Branden Dawson
Sr. F Draymond Green
So. C Adreian Payne
Kalin Lucas: 17.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.4 apg
Korie Lucious: 6.5 ppg, 4.1 apg
Delvon Roe: 6.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Durrell Summers: 11.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Fr. SG Dwaun Anderson (Rivals.com four-star player)
Fr. G/F Branden Dawson (Rivals.com five-star player)
Fr. SF Brandan Kearney (Rivals.com three-star player)
Fr. PG Travis Rice (Rivals.com three-star player
Brandon Wood (transfer from Valparaiso)
Michigan State lost a plethora of players during and after last season. The loss of Lucious (team-leading 17.2 ppg) and Chris Allen for the 2010 season due to suspensions brought down by the team crippled the Spartans and had a direct affect on the team’s record. A late-season scramble and victory over Purdue squeaked Michigan State into the NCAA Tournament, only for the Spartans to lose in a first-round heart breaker to UCLA. After the season, G Kalin Lucas, lynchpin of the offense and folk hero on campus, and starting forward Allen graduated. Then just before the start of the 2011-12 season, F Delvon Roe retired from the team because of extensive knee pain. Most teams would scrap this season as a rebuilding year, but Coach Tom Izzo will do no such thing. He will build around Appling with impressive freshman who have good size and rely on his veteran guards to get MSU back to the tournament in better position than the No. 10 seed that the team received last year.
Izzo usually builds a challenging early schedule, and this season will be no different. The Spartans start their year off with back-to-back battles against North Carolina and Duke. Michigan State has the potential to skyrocket in the rankings if they can catch either of these teams off guard, though their conference schedule provides little relief, with two matches against Ohio State and Michigan each.
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