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Michigan State basketball disrespected in early Big Ten power rankings

Is this a fair spot for MSU?



Michigan State basketball

Michigan State basketball is projected by 247Sports to be the 11th-best team in the Big Ten to start the season.

We’re officially at the point in the Michigan State basketball offseason where the tiniest bit of disrespect will send us barreling out of control.

That exact situation unfolded on Monday afternoon when 247Sports writer Isaac Trotter threw together a way-too-early Big Ten basketball power rankings article that really got Spartan fans’ blood boiling.

OK, so maybe fans weren’t actually that mad, but the Spartans’ way-too-early ranking sparked a lot of healthy — and unhealthy — debates. Trotter listed Michigan State as the No. 11 team in the Big Ten heading into the 2024-25 season with this to say:

Being bullish on Michigan State requires a little faith. With AJ Hoggard and Tyson Walker exiting, can Akins finally emerge as a go-to guard? Will Fears be fully recovered from getting, uh, shot?!? Is Xavier Booker out of Tom Izzo’s doghouse once and for all? In recent history, MSU’s highly-touted freshmen seem to nearly sink before they start swimming. Will Jase Richardson and Kur Teng buck that trend? Fidler is a little flawed, but the Nebraska-Omaha transfer is a bucket. He’ll figure it out. Running it back with this center situation, except subbing in Szymon Zapala for Mady Sissoko, feels like a choice…

The rationale for the ranking seems fair as he’s down on the Spartans’ new pieces in Frankie Fidler and Szymon Zapala in place of AJ Hoggard, Tyson Walker, Malik Hall, and Mady Sissoko. But he doesn’t give nearly enough credit to guys like Jeremy Fears or Jaden Akins and doesn’t even mention Coen Carr or Tre Holloman who figure to have major roles. Yes, losing Walker and Hoggard will be an adjustment, but the Spartans are adding a walking bucket in Fidler on the wing which will help move Akins back to his more natural two-guard position.

Plus, the point guard rotation of Fears, Holloman, and Jase Richardson would be coveted by 99 percent of college basketball.

The major question mark is in the frontcourt with Jaxon Kohler, Carson Cooper, and Zapala manning the center spot, but Xavier Booker’s elite potential could mask any shortcomings in the post. The same could be said for Carr who I expect to take a huge jump. Oh, and everyone seems to forget that Gehrig Normand redshirted last season and figures to play a big role on the 2024-25 team along with Kur Teng.

This team has plenty of pieces and the talent level cannot be any worse than top 5-6 in the conference. The issue that Trotter doesn’t seem to mention but is almost deafening in its silence is that he doesn’t trust Tom Izzo to get the job done with this roster.

That’s right, he trusts coaches like Dusty May (Michigan is somehow No. 5 on this list), Mike Woodson, Kevin Willard, Fred Hoiberg, and Jake Diebler to do more next season — the only one who probably has a better roster is Woodson.

Michigan State basketball usually plays better when expectations are lower. So maybe the 2024-25 season will be a special one, after all.

Writer, co-owner of Spartan Shadows. Michigan State and college football expert at FanSided and formerly of The Detroit News. Expert on all things Michigan State. Connor Muldowney has written about Michigan State since graduating from the university with a degree in journalism back in 2013. Ten years of experience as a Michigan State writer/reporter.


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