Michigan State Spartans
2022-23 record: 21-13, 11-8 in the Big Ten
Head coach: Tom Izzo
Tenure at Michigan State: 29th season
Career coaching record: 687-280
Home court: Breslin Center
Projected starters: G A.J. Hoggard, G Tyson Walker, G Jaden Akins, F Malik Hall, C Mady Sissoko
Projected bench: G Jeremy Fears Jr., G Tre Holloman, F Coen Carr, F Xavier Booker, F Jaxon Kohler, C Carson Cooper
Overview: Sitting on the periphery of the coveted “blue blood” distinction, Michigan State’s history is marked by consistent success. Although the program holds only two national championships — and only one in the past 25 years — the Spartans consistently perform at a high level. Head coach Tom Izzo holds the NCAA record for consecutive tournament appearances with 25. During this stretch, Michigan State has found its way to the Elite Eight 10 times, eight of which the team advanced to the Final Four.
After a devastating overtime loss in last year’s Sweet 16 to Kansas State due to a stellar showing from point guard Marquis Nowell, the Spartans have reloaded and claimed the No. 4 spot in the AP preseason poll, the highest preseason ranking of Duke’s regular-season opponents. The ranking is largely centered around Michigan State’s returning talent. The team brings back 82.8% of its scoring, making it one of only six squads to return a greater percentage than Duke. The 82.8% includes an ambitious duo of preseason All-Big Ten guards Tyson Walker and A.J. Hoggard, the program’s reigning points and assists leaders, respectively.
This experience will be supplemented by the No. 5 freshman class headlined by five-star Xavier Booker. The 6-foot-11 big man has the talent to earn a spot in the starting five and make the level of impact anticipated out of a No. 11 overall recruit.
Team ceiling: The combination of experienced guards and an elite freshman class helps the Spartans overcome weakness in the frontcourt and brings the squad deep come March.
Team Floor: Izzo doesn’t trust in the wealth of talent being brought in, resulting in a rotation too reliant on the returning guards that fails to fill the holes exposed at last season’s end. Michigan State finds an early exit from the tournament and a second championship title remains elusive to its Hall of Fame coach.
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