#16 Michigan State Spartans: college basketball 111 in 111


izzo_msu
Welcome to the 111 in 111, guest posting edition. This year’s Michigan State Spartans are in a sort of re-loading mode, as they have to adjust to the loss of one of the greatest Spartans in history, Draymond Green. But there’s a lot of talent in East Lansing, as usual. The starting five will feature 2 McDonald’s All-Americans, and this unit will have more athleticism and perhaps more talent than last year’s group. But will they gel, and who will lead them?
They should be able to get along well; unlike the State team of two years ago. And of course, they’re coached by Tom Izzo, which means they’ll play really tough defense and rebound. But what kind of tempo will they play?
“We can play whatever way we want. We are an up tempo team, I think we get a bad rap because I talk about physical play. Name me a team, look at Maryland when they won the national championship- tough as nails, Duke when they won it a couple years ago, those inside guys were tough. Kentucky, you watch John coach that team- tough,” Tom Izzo told me at Big Ten media day.
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
Last Season: T-1st, 13-5 in Big Ten, 29-8 overall
Predicted Big Ten Finish: 4th
Projected Depth Chart
C: Derrick Nix (Sr)/Alex Gauna (So)
PF: Adreian Payne (Jr)/Matt Costello (Fr)/Kenny Kaminski (Fr)
SF: Branden Dawson (So)/Russell Byrd (So)/Denzel Valentine (Fr)
SG: Gary Harris (Fr)/Brandan Kearney (So)
PG: Keith Appling (Jr)/Travis Trice (So)

Gone: PF-Draymond Green, SG-Brandon Wood, SF-Austin Thornton

2012-2013 Outlook:
Kaminski out 4-6 months shoulder injury, could redshirt

“Everybody wants respect for their program. And that’s what I want, for them to say every time they play ya, you got your work cut out for you,” Izzo said.

State is definitely there as every player that Izzo had for four years has gone to at least one Final Four. They went to six Final Fours in 12 years. This season MSU should be more guard oriented, perhaps playing three guards most of the time (depends on what you classify Dawson, as a guard or forward). How he develops/rebounds from an ACL injury is critical. He had a solid rookie campaign last year before getting hurt.

Two freshmen could have impact this year. Matt Costello, last year’s Gatorade high school player of the year in the state of Michigan will look to get minutes. And Gary Harris, one of the top prep shooting guards in the nation, could get starters minutes. He can both shoot and get to the basket, as well as defend a variety of perimeter positions. Instead of relying on the blue chip, one-and-done prospects like Kentucky or North Carolina, Michigan State is an elite program that has relied on guys who stay in school longer.

“We’ve done it the right way, and played the toughest schedule the past 15 years, and I think the people that matter know, you got to have that tradition,” Izzo said.

Last year’s team won the Big Ten conference tournament and earned both a #1 seed and a sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament. But they were overly reliant on one player. This year’s group will have more depth, and a bigger rotation. Maybe that means they’ll get out into the open court more?

“I wanna run every time we get the ball, we’re gonna run when we get the ball, but it if you wanna play smashmouth, we’ll play smashmouth, if you wanna run up and down, we’ll go up and down, we’re not one-dimensional, we’re versatile,” Izzo said.

TOM IZZO SPARTANS

Player to Watch: Adreian Payne

The Spartans won’t get leadership up front from Derrick Nix, he’s had too many off-the-court issues (was dismissed from the team for driving while under the influence of marijuana, later reinstated) and weight problems (started career at 314 down to 267 now. So Payne will have to be the biggest of the big men.

Payne is a big body with an impressive wingspan (I could sound like Jay Bilas, “wingspan wingspan wingspan”) who presents a match-up nightmare for any of the Big Ten front lines, but his game still needs some work. He needs to be a better scorer to complement his shot-blocking and rebounding. Draymond Green had a positive effect on Payne.

“Maybe I use to be too goofy, but being around Dey-Dey really matured me in not being as goofy as I used to be, and being serious when it’s time to be serious,” Payne said of Green’s influence. For more on Payne

Key Non-Conference Games:

11/9 vs. UConn (Ramstein Air Base, Germany)
11/13 vs. Kansas (in Atlanta)
11/28 at Miami, FL (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/22 vs. Texas

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OTHER 111 IN 111?S:
#19 Cincinnati Bearcats
#20 Marquette Golden Eagles
#21 Creighton Bluejays
#22 Gonzaga Bulldogs
#23 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#24 Memphis Tigers
#25 Baylor Bears
#26 Wisconsin Badgers
#27 Tennessee Volunteers
#28 Pitt Panthers
#29 New Mexico Lobos
#30 St. Mary’s Gaels
#31 Georgetown Hoyas
#32 North Texas Mean Green
#33 Ohio Bobcats
#34 Texas Longhorns
#35 Miami Hurricanes
#36 Purdue Boilermakers
#37 Alabama Crimson Tide
#38 St. Joseph’s Hawks
#39 Murray State Racers
#40 VCU Rams
#41 Davidson Wildcats
#42 Stanford Cardinal
#43 UMass Minutemen
#44 St. John’s Red Storm
#45 Butler Bulldogs
#46 Florida State Seminoles
#47 Drexel Dragons
#48 St. Louis Billikens
#49 West Virginia Mountaineers
#50 BYU Cougars
#51 Temple Owls
#52 Washington Huskies
#53 California Golden Bears
#54 Kansas State Wildcats
#55 Nevada Wolfpack
#56 Colorado Buffaloes
#57 Iowa State Cyclones
#58 Northern Iowa Panthers
#59 Colorado State Rams
#60 Iowa Hawkeyes
#61 South Florida Bulls
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

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