The preseason rankings have Michigan State sitting firmly at number two. A second place rank is tied for the highest rank they have received in school history. The common theme for the 2017-18 Michigan State Spartans is experience.
The Spartans two top scorers returning this season for their sophomore seasons. Miles Bridges and Nick Ward combined to average 30.8 points per game last season and are looking to take the next step for their sophomore seasons.
The Spartans add a few highly touted recruits and return nearly their entire rotation from the 2016-17 season. Experience tends to win come March, and the Michigan State Spartans are loaded with talent and experience across the board.
The sophomore class
One of the best freshman classes we have seen in a while has stayed together for their sophomore seasons.
Joshua Langford, Cassius Winston, Nick Ward and Miles Bridges were four of the top five scorers for the Spartans in 2016-17. The four added 44.6 points a game which was good for 62 percent of the Spartans’ scoring last season.
Miles Bridges is one of the best returning players in college basketball this season and if he can take the next step forward he will lead a group of sophomores that could take over college basketball.
Lots of freshmen in big time conferences are looking to start and make an immediate impact. Although there is no doubt that Michigan States freshmen could do that, there are lots of other players that can protect the freshmen until they are ready to produce for the Spartans.
Jaren Jackson Jr. is the number nine recruit in this year’s class (via ESPN) and joins a starting lineup that is already loaded. The new freshman guards will learn from Tum Tum Nairn who is a senior.
Xavier Tillman (SF, 6-foot-8) is ranked as the 74th prospect on ESPN’s top 100 and is an excellent post player with tremendous passing skills and a high basketball IQ.
Brock Washington (SG, 6-foot-3) adds a shooting stroke from the guard position. He can help Matt Mcquaid open up a defense for guys like Ward, Bridges and Jackson inside. Washington made 148 threes in his high school career and looks to knock the top off of defenses.
This is a very impressive team that Tom Izzo has put together in just two years. He will have a chance to coach a lot of the same guys from last season and gets to work with the talented Miles Bridges again.
The three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year has been coaching Michigan State for 22 years and has had a lot of good teams. I don’t think he has had a team that has been this similar to a year prior however.
Izzo is currently studying tape just like players are, learning the tendencies of his young big men and experienced guards and looking to put them in the best position to succeed. One of the best things to have as a coach is three guys that can go out and get you buckets consistently.
With the addition of Jackson, Michigan State could have struck that this season. With Ward, Bridges and possibly Jackson, the Michigan State Spartans are loaded.
Due to the tremendous freshman class in college basketball there are lots of very good teams this season. Michigan State has experience to balance with great young talent. I think come March the Spartans find a way to be a one seed.
I think they win the Big 10 and end up cutting down the nets come April. Tom Izzo and Miles Bridges will be two key reasons to this Michigan State Spartans team winning the 2018 NCAA National Title. Izzo will finally get himself another National Title.
Featured Image from MSUtoday.com.
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