Michigan State Spartans

2016-17 record: 20-15, 10-8 in the Big Ten

Head coach: Tom Izzo

Tenure at Michigan State: 23rd season

Career coaching record: 544-220

Home court: Breslin Student Events Center

Starters: G Cassius Winston, G Joshua Langford, G/F Miles Bridges, F Nick Ward, F Jaren Jackson Jr.

Bench: G Lourawls 'Tum Tum' Nairn Jr., G Matt McQuaid, F, Kenny Goins, F Gavin Schilling 

Overview: After lofty expectations entering last season, the young Spartans struggled with a brutal nonconference schedule that included games against Arizona, Kentucky, Wichita State and Duke. Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo managed to rally his team to secure a NCAA tournament berth, though, despite playing without freshman phenom Miles Bridges for a month while he recovered from an ankle injury.

Michigan State brings back a loaded roaster this season, as Bridges decided to return to school for his sophomore year. He will be joined by five-star freshman Jaren Jackson Jr. along with several steady sophomores as the Spartans are preseason favorites to win the Big Ten. A consensus top-five team in the country, Michigan State is on the short list of early national championship contenders.

The Spartans will rely on their stifling defense combined with bruising inside play to win games. Ward and redshirt junior Kenny Goins are two accomplished low post scorers, and Bridges has the athleticism to make spectacular plays look routine. Michigan State will face an early test, though, as the Spartans match up with Duke in just their second game of the year at the Champions Classic.

One thing that needs to go right: Winston turns the ball over less while running the point, and Langford continue to develop his three-point shot, giving the Michigan State offense a potent inside-outside combination. 

One thing that could go wrong: The Spartans cannot find any consistent outside shooters and are forced to resort to 'bully ball' to win games.