2017-18 Michigan State Basketball Season Preview
Michigan State Basketball Season Preview
How they did last season?
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.
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.
Player to Watch
Miles Bridges–we haven’t mentioned him enough?
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