Michigan State Basketball Season Preview

Michigan State basketball

How they did last season?

2016-17 Record: 20-15, 10-8
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA Tournament–Second round loss to No.1 seed Kansas
The Spartans finished the season 20–15, 10–8 in Big Ten play to finish in a tie for fifth place. In the Big Ten Tournament, they defeated Penn State in the second round before losing to Minnesota in the quarterfinals. They received a bid to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 9 seed in the Midwest region. The bid marked the 20th straight bid to the NCAA Tournament for the Spartans, the fourth-longest streak ever and third-longest active streak. They defeated No. 8-seeded Miami in the First Round before losing to No. 1-seeded Kansas in the Second Round. The 15 losses by MSU were the second most ever under Tom Izzo, behind only his 16 losses in his first season as head coach at MSU.

Key Losses

Guard Eron Harris is the biggest loss for the Spartans. Next to star Miles Bridges, it was Harris who was the go-to-guy from downtown hitting 43 three-pointers on the season (second on the team to Bridges). Alvin Ellis III is the only other ‘major’ loss–he averaged nearly 20 minutes per game during the 2016-2017 campaign. He too was a good outside shooting and averaged 6.4 points and 3.1 rebounds. Neither of these guys are going to crush a program without their attendance.

Key Additions

Jaren Jackson is the best of the ‘newcomers’ bunch. The 6’11 forward will be able to step in immediately and help the Spartans frontcourt. He can stretch the defense with his shooting ability and score in the paint. He is also a superb defender. Fellow incoming freshman Xavier Tillman will add more options to the frontcourt. So will UNLV graduate transfer Ben Carter. Carter is a superb talent, but injuries have limited his playing time. In 2015-2016, he averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 rebounds with the Rebels.

What to know heading into the season

All you need to know is two words, one name: Miles Bridges. Bridges passed up on being a lottery pick in the NBA Draft to return for his sophomore season in East Lansing. But if the Spartans are going to make a deep Tournament run they will need their supporting cast to step up.  Lourawls Nairn is a great leader on the floor. He is not an offensive threat, but Nairn dished out 3.6 assists per game while committing just 1.1 turnovers. Cassius Winston can handle the ball too. As a freshman last year he averaged 6.7 points and 5.2 assists mostly off the bench. Joshua Langford is another promising sophomore who saw plenty of playing time as a freshman. He proved to be a very consistent shooter, but still needs to develop his overall game. Overall the team is young, but insanely talented.

Starting Lineup

Lourawls Nairn, Senior, Guard, 3.5 points per game
Joshua Langford, Sophomore, Guard, 6.9 points per game
Miles Bridges, Sophomore, Guard, 16.9 points per game
Jaren Jackson, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Nick Ward, Sophomore, Forward, 13.9 points per game

Player to Watch

Miles Bridges–we haven’t mentioned him enough?

Prediction

This is an NCAA Tournament team with aspirations to advance past the second round, something they failed to accomplish last year with Bridges on the team. The Spartans ranked fifth in the conference in rebounding margin, which is unthinkable by Coach Izzo standards. With more toughness in the frontcourt, this is a group that can do more than win the Big Ten, they can win it all. The frontcourt is immediately better because of the newcomers, and Jalen Jackson has the potential to be a star in the Big Ten.

How far will they go: Sweet Sixteen berth

 

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Dan Schalk

Dan Schalk is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for MFST and can be heard weekly on the 'My Fantasy Podcast'. He is likely watching Seinfeld right now, not that there's anything wrong with that.
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https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/636191552870388085-MSUrutgers-dw-0013.jpg?fit=534%2C401&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/636191552870388085-MSUrutgers-dw-0013.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Dan SchalkBig TenNCAABRecent PostsBig Ten,College Basketball,michigan state basketball,Michigan State Spartans,Miles BridgesMichigan State Basketball Season Preview How they did last season? 2016-17 Record: 20-15, 10-8 2016-17 Postseason: NCAA Tournament--Second round loss to No.1 seed Kansas The Spartans finished the season 20–15, 10–8 in Big Ten play to finish in a tie for fifth place. In the Big Ten Tournament, they defeated Penn State in the second round before losing to Minnesota in the...