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Michigan State basketball: Opponents I’d like to see the Spartans schedule

These would be fun matchups.



Michigan State basketball
© Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

If I were to draw up the Michigan State basketball schedule, I’d have these opponents on the slate for the Spartans.

Wouldn’t it be fun if you could have total control over what your favorite team’s schedule looks like? I know I’ve imagined what I would do with the Michigan State basketball schedule more than a few times if Alan Haller gave me the reins.

With basketball season recently coming to an end, I thought it would be fun to pick one school from each conference that I would schedule a home-and-home series with (one game at the Breslin Center and one true road game) from an MSU fan’s perspective.

ACC: North Carolina Tar Heels

MSUs biggest non-Big Ten rival is easily Duke, but with the Spartans playing the Blue Devils at least once every three years in the Champions Classic, I decided to select the obvious second choice in North Carolina.

UNC is one of college basketball’s bluest of blue bloods and most storied programs with six national championships, 21 Final Fours, and 41 regular season conference titles. Who wouldn’t want to go up against all that history? This matchup would draw the attention of the entire college basketball world and would be one that Michigan State would have a fairly decent shot at sweeping with UNC’s lack of success in recent seasons (outside of their magical Final Four run a year ago).

North Carolina holds a slight edge in this series, 5-3, but MSU has the most recent win in the PK80 title game in 2017. Also, what even is a Tar Heel?

Side note: I will never forgive what Tyler Hansbrough and Co. did to us in the national title game at Ford Field.

SEC: Tennessee Volunteers

The obvious choice from the SEC in Kentucky was excluded due to the same reason as Duke with the Champions Classic, so let’s go with an extremely consistent team in recent years: Tennessee.

The Vols may have absolutely no NCAA Tournament success in program history to make this matchup interesting, but a fun storyline to run with would be Michigan State knocking them off in their last meeting in the Elite Eight of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Whenever you’re in an argument with a Tennessee fan, always bring this game up as it is Tennessee’s only Elite Eight appearance in program history.

I’d love MSUs chances of winning the matchup in East Lansing in this one and would spend the rest of the night rubbing it in the face of that annoying Tennessee fan on Twitter (I know you all know who I’m talking about).

Big 12: Baylor Bears

Baylor has been one of the top teams in college basketball for a few years now and recently won the NCAA Tournament in 2021, making this another matchup the entire country would want to see.

Baylor may not have the same program history that Michigan State basketball has, but we would be in a tough battle with the Bears both at home and on the road in this one.

However, I’ve got revenge on my mind in this one as Baylor has won the only two matchups in this series (both weirdly enough being played in the Bahamas) and who can forget Baylor beating our Michigan State women’s basketball team in the 2005 National Championship game? I was there and my 7-year-old self will never forgive them.

Pac-12: Arizona Wildcats

Outside of UCLA which is moving to the Big Ten in a year, Arizona is one of the more storied programs in the Pac-12. Yes I know, that isn’t really saying much, but one national title and four Final Fours is respectable, right?

The Wildcats are coming off two great seasons in a row, however, they were upset this season in the NCAA Tournament by 15-seed Princeton. Arizona does hold the series lead in this matchup, 4-2, but I feel like we would have a decent chance at winning both games of this series.

However, the only thing that matters in this one is Bill Walton staying as far away from the broadcast booth as possible. I will mute the TV if he’s on the call.

Big East: UConn Huskies

There are a lot of great options in the Big East with a lot of teams being close to East Lansing which would make traveling to the road game possible, but give me the reigning national champion Connecticut Huskies.

I’m officially giving UConn blue blood status after winning their fifth national title since 1999, but don’t let that success scare you, Spartan fans, UConn historically struggles in the years after winning it all so give me Michigan State to walk away with a W in both of these matchups.

The series history is split 3-3 but shoutout to MSU for being the only team to ever beat UConn in the Final Four back in 2009 at Ford Field. Let’s all just choose to forget about the 2014 Elite Eight game though (*sigh*).


Writer says there’s a huge gap between Purdue and Michigan State basketball

This seems like a wild claim.



Michigan State basketball
© Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Gregg Doyel of the Indy Star claims that Purdue is “historically loaded” and there’s a huge gap between them and Michigan State basketball.

With the news of Jaden Akins and AJ Hoggard returning along with Tyson Walker and Malik Hall to go along with the No. 4 recruiting class in the country, Michigan State basketball went from a conference title contender to a national title contender.

Essentially everyone who follows college basketball has Michigan State as a top-five team and right there in the Big Ten as 1B to Purdue’s 1A — some even have it the other way around.

The Spartans bring back everyone but Joey Hauser to a team that went to the Sweet 16 and Purdue returns national player of the year Zach Edey to a Big Ten title team. Both teams are loaded and should be at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to national title contention.

But one Indy Star writer believes that Purdue is “historically loaded” and the talent-and-depth gap between the Boilermakers and “everyone else” is as large as he’s seen in years. Just a wild claim.

Gregg Doyel cites a solid incoming class to go along with Edey returning and the two freshmen guards with another year in the system. But he fails to recognize that Michigan State got even better. The Spartans are bringing in an even better recruiting class and they return their 2-3 most talented players from a year ago. The only loss is Hauser.

Saying that this year’s Purdue team is far-and-away the most talented and deepest team in the Big Ten and the gap is the biggest it’s been in years is asinine. There was a much larger gap last year.

Michigan State will go toe-to-toe with the Boilermakers and as long as Edey can be neutralized, the Spartans will have a chance to take them down for the Big Ten crown.

It’s tough to say a team like Michigan State basketball that’s 11-12 guys deep is not nearly as talented or deep as Purdue, but hey, let’s put that early chip on the shoulder.

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Michigan State Basketball: Allocating guard minutes for 2023-24

A lot of guards, not a lot of minutes to be had.



Michigan State basketball
© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State basketball has an absolutely loaded backcourt heading into 2023-24. Let’s allocate the guard minutes.

Michigan State basketball has a loaded backcourt with the news of AJ Hoggard and Jaden Akins returning next season. Add this on top of Tyson Walker coming back and Michigan State adding a four-star point guard in Jeremy Fears just loads up this back court even more.

Let’s take a look at what the minute allocation could look like between the five guards on the roster.


The starting point guard is clearly set into place with AJ Hoggard starting 33 of 34 games last year. Next year’s team still goes as Hoggard goes and he will most likely average 28-30 minutes per game. AJ being able to defend multiple positions allows him to play alongside any of the other three guards on the roster next year. He should average around 15 points per game and six-plus assists. Him being able to increase his 3-point percentage up to 35 percent next year should help his scoring dramatically.

The starting shooting guard is Walker who started in all 34 games last season and nothing will change this season. This team is going to rely plenty on Tyson to begin the season as this team continues to mesh with all of the different lineups. He played almost 34 minutes per game this season due to injuries and necessity. Tyson will take a step back and only play 30-32 minutes this upcoming season. He will look to average 16-plus points per game and 2.5-plus assists.


This may come as a surprise, but I believe the backup point guard role will fall to Tre Holloman. He has a year under the belt with the system and should take a step forward in his role. He is able to defend either guard position allowing him to play with any of the other four guards on the team. Holloman will play anywhere between 8-12 minutes per game and will look to be in a more featured role running the backup offense. Tre should average 3-5 points per game and 1.5 assists.

Jeremy Fears will fill in and be able to learn from a loaded backcourt while playing 6-8 minutes per game which could be pushed to 8-10 by the end of the season. Fears defense should rival what Walker brings to this team with this second group. Fears offensive role will look like Tre’s freshman year and not looked upon much offensively. He should look to average 1.5-plus points and one assist per game.

Finally, Jaden Akins will fill in anywhere from 2-5 minutes at the two-guard spot. He can help fill an offensive role when Tyson is out of the game and can handle some of the pick and roll duties in this spot. Akins will mostly play on the wing as he started 25 games there last season. He is a guard, but he’ll be forced into playing on the wing.

Minutes Summary

  • AJ Hoggard: 28-30 per game
  • Tyson Walker: 30-32 per game
  • Tre Holloman: 8-12 per game
  • Jeremy Fears: 6-8 per game
  • Jaden Akins: 2-5 per game

Akins did tweet this out the other day:

So he could see more ball-handling duties.

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Jeremy Fears makes final cut for U19 USA Basketball team

Jeremy Fears could represent USA Basketball again.



Jeremy Fears
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Incoming Michigan State freshman Jeremy Fears has made the final cut for the U19 USA Basketball team.

Incoming Michigan State basketball freshman Jeremy Fears is hard at work this summer. He is currently in the process of trying to make the final roster for the U19 USA Basketball team. Thirty-five athletes have been selected to participate in their upcoming training camp, and Fears is included on that list.

Training camp for these 35 athletes with take place June 11-18. Twelve players will then be selected to participate in the FIBA U19 Wold Cup at the conclusion of this training camp. The World Cup takes place from June 24 through July 2.

The 35 players consist of some athletes in the 2022 class that have one year of college ball under their belts. The pool of players also consists of athletes from the 2023 incoming freshmen class and the 2024 class who will be high school seniors. More than half of these participants have USA Basketball experience and ten of them have won gold for the USA already.

Jeremy Fears’ USA Basketball history

Jeremy Fears is one of the 10 players mentioned to have already won gold for the USA. In fact, Fears has won a gold medal twice. He won the 2021 U16 FIBA Championships and in 2022 won gold in the U17 FIBA World Cup.

Based on this history alone, I love his chances to make the team again. The USA Basketball program is obviously very familiar with him already which gives him an advantage. Also, why wouldn’t they want someone who has won two gold medals to play for them again?

Fears has yet to move in to East Lansing like some of his fellow members of his freshman class have. He likely will see this event out before moving to campus to start gearing up for the regular season. Michigan State has had many athletes compete with team USA in the past, so Tom Izzo is more than happy to let his players participate.

For the full USA Basketball press release, click here.

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