Michigan State basketball

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Michigan State basketball: Projected starting 5 without Malik Hall

Malik Hall is reportedly out for a couple of weeks and Michigan State basketball will have little depth to work with.

We just can’t catch a break, can we? Michigan State basketball fans had to be excited about the PK85 tourney and elite field, but news broke late on Wednesday night that changed that.

According to Brendan Quinn, Malik Hall will miss the tournament and likely be sidelined for a couple of weeks. He also stated that Jaden Akins sounds doubtful versus Alabama.

So this got me thinking — what will the starting five look like with Hall out?

It’s not going to be a big lineup, for obvious reasons, but Tom Izzo will get to play some small-ball that he talked about in the preseason. Obviously facing star forward Brandon Miller is going to be an issue for this lineup because there aren’t enough stretch bigs, but this is what I see with Hall out:

G: AJ Hoggard
G: Tyson Walker
G/F: Pierre Brooks OR Jaden Akins (only if healthy)
F: Joey Hauser
C: Mady Sissoko

Bench: Tre Holloman, Jaxon Kohler, Carson Cooper, Jason Whitens

Hoggard and Walker are going to lead a very small lineup but as long as both of those guys stay healthy, I think Michigan State will be OK. Obviously the post depth is an issue.

Brooks will likely get his first start on Thursday against Alabama unless Akins shocks everyone and plays and he’ll be on the wing. Hauser will have to play more minutes in the post than he’s used to and Sissoko will have to stay out of foul trouble. In the worst-case scenario, Kohler will have to play extensively in the post and get. the learning experience of a lifetime.

I like the lineup with Hoggard, Walker, and Brooks playing on the perimeter. All three guys can score at every level (yes, even Brooks has shown the ability to drive this year), and Hauser also stretches the floor. Sissoko will have to bounce back from his shaky performance against Villanova.

Whitens could also see the floor along with Cooper in the post.

Losing Hall hurts big-time, but we’re about to see what this team is made of.

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