Connect with us


Where Michigan State basketball stands in first Big Ten power rankings

Where do the Spartans sit in the first Big Ten power rankings?



Michigan State basketball
© Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Where does Michigan State basketball stand in the initial Big Ten power rankings of the 2023 calendar year?

Personally, I don’t believe there are any elite teams throughout the Big Ten and some might say in the entire country. After the games on Saturday and Sunday to conclude the first week of 2023, let’s take a look at where I have Michigan State basketball in the initial Big Ten power rankings of the new year.

14. Minnesota (6-8, 0-3)

Minnesota is going to struggle throughout Big Ten play, but they will end up shocking some teams with a win. The Gophers just don’t have enough depth and quality players right now to even be average in the Big Ten. Minnesota has to go on the road to face Ohio State on Jan. 12.

13. Nebraska (9-7, 2-3)

Nebraska is already looking like they have overachieved throughout Big Ten play. This team in most of the Big Ten power rankings to start the season was at No. 14. This team’s calling card is its defense and playing through Derrick Walker. Nebraska has been able to beat Minnesota and Iowa already this year and took Purdue to the wire. Nebraska’s next game is at home against Illinois on Jan. 10.

12. Indiana (10-5, 1-3)

Indiana was projected to win the Big Ten according to most projections at the beginning of the season. The Hoosiers may have been overrated as the guard play has not been great throughout the year. Trayce Jackson-Davis is an impressive player but not developing a consistent midrange, or 3-point shot has severely limited this team. This team is only going to struggle even more going forward with Xavier Johnson and Race Thompson’s injuries. The home loss to Northwestern was a crushing blow to title hopes.

11. Maryland (11-5, 2-3)

Maryland, going into Big Ten play, was projected to be near the top of the Big Ten. But this has fallen dramatically due to them struggling to score the basketball in conference play. Maryland has only scored over 60 points twice in Big Ten play. Maryland’s only win in Big Ten play before Sunday’s massive win over Ohio State was against Illinois early in December. Potential is there, but it’s hard to read the Terps.

10. Iowa (10-6, 2-3)

Iowa has a legit player in Kris Murray who can lead this team to some big victories throughout the Big Ten season. But the Hawkeyes don’t have enough around him and play good enough defense to be average. Also, losing Patrick McCaffery for mental health issues just makes Iowa’s margin for error that much smaller. The win at Rutgers on Sunday was gutsy, however.

9. Michigan (9-6, 3-1)

Michigan has some serious defensive deficiencies and bad guard play. This team is on a rollercoaster that seems to kind of play up and down to their competition. Michigan lacks a true point guard who can facilitate and get them into any offense but has a threat in Hunter Dickinson who can go for 20-plus on just about any night. Michigan’s next game is going on the road against Iowa on Jan. 12.

8. Illinois (10-5, 1-3)

Illinois was at the top of the projections going into the season, but this team has struggled heading into Big Ten play. The chemistry with the two major transfers in Matthew Mayer and Terrance Shannon have been an issue. The Illini could very well turn this around with the amount of talent that they have (now minus Skyy Clark) but how long will it take for them to get it figured out? Illinois was just able to get a victory at home against Wisconsin but the Badgers were without their best player, Tyler Wahl. Illinois will make a trip to Nebraska on Jan. 10 to try and keep this run going.

7. Penn State (11-5, 2-3)

Penn State is a tricky matchup for most teams as they have four and sometimes even five guards in the lineup at some points. The Nittany Lions are going to struggle to defend good post players (like Zach Edey) throughout the season but is going to have a mismatch offensively. Jalen Pickett is playing like an All-Big Ten first-team guard who is able to take mismatches into the post as well as handle the ball in the pick-and-roll. Going forward, Penn State could very well slide into the 8-9 range in the power rankings after letting an opportunity against Purdue slip through its fingers.

6. Ohio State (10-5, 2-2)

Ohio State very well could be the No. 1 team in these power rankings but it’s tough to give it to them with the injury to Zed Key. At this point, we don’t know how long he may be out, but he is one of the leaders of this team and you could see it affected this team against Purdue and also at Maryland. I’d like to see going forward how Brice Sensabaugh currently the Big Ten freshman of the year at my point of view can carry this team going forward.

5. Northwestern (12-3, 3-1)

Northwestern has some of the better guard play within the Big Ten with Boo Buie and Chase Audige, but this team’s calling card is defense. The Wildcats are going to have to keep limiting teams in scoring due to not having a flurry of offensive options. This team has wins over Michigan State and Illinois, but I struggle to see this team consistently being able to hold teams to under 60. Going forward, Northwestern plays Indiana at home on Jan. 8.

4. Wisconsin (11-3, 3-1)

Wisconsin is a team that has Tyler Wahl, Steven Crowl, and Chucky Hepburn to lead the way throughout Big Ten play. But in the game against Illinois, the Badgers were without Tyler Wahl and you notice the issue with this team. If one of those three guys isn’t playing well or gets injured, this team is going to struggle. This team does not have much room for error due to their style of play. Wisconsin’s next game is at home against Michigan State on Jan. 10.

3. Rutgers (11-5, 3-2)

Rutgers’ only loss in Big Ten play before Sunday was by one point to Ohio State and Rutgers has a win over the No. 1 team in these power rankings. But the loss to Iowa on Sunday has them at No. 3 instead of No. 2. The Scarlet Knights are one of the more balanced teams in the Big Ten but at times will struggle to score. They’re led by Cliff Omoruyi, Paul Mulcahy, and Caleb McConnell who are going to lead this team all season. This team’s calling card is on the defensive end but with the emergence of Omoruyi on the offensive end has been a major surprise.

2. Michigan State (11-4, 3-1)

Michigan State basketball just got over an ugly win against its rival Michigan and their only loss in Big Ten play was without Malik Hall or Jaden Akins. MSU has the best backcourt tandem in the Big Ten in AJ Hoggard and Tyson Walker. That tandem is going to lead Michigan State to a lot of victories throughout the season and add in the likes of Joey Hauser and Hall this is a difficult team to beat. Michigan State does have its deficiencies but so do the rest of these Big Ten teams. The next game is at Wisconsin on Jan. 10.

1. Purdue (15-1, 4-1)

Purdue’s only slip-up of the season was a one-point loss to Rutgers at home. This Purdue team will go as far as the two freshman guards in Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith will take them. We all know that Zach Edey is a dominant force in the Big Ten and most teams aren’t able to match up with him. Ultimately this team is going to go as far as their guards take them. The Boilermakers’ win at Penn State on Sunday night further solidifies this position.

Do you agree with where Michigan State basketball currently stands or is it too high?


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.

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading