Would you believe it if I told you No. 7 may even be lower that what many experts are predicting from the 2017-18 version of Michigan State? After finished 20-15 during an injury-riddled campaign, Tom Izzo returns just about anyone who has a pulse to next year’s squad.
Back will be Cassius Winston, Nick Ward, Josh Langford, Tum Tum Nairn, Matt McQuaid and Kenny Goins. Heck, the feeling around the program is that Miles Bridges, a potential lottery pick this year, could be returning for his sophomore season. If that’s the case, Michigan State could be closer to a top-five team.
How can a team that finished 20-15 and that got knocked out in the second round be thought of so highly? Well, one reason is Tom Izzo. The other is the fact that the Spartans had zero size this season with the losses of Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling before the year even began, leaving Ward (a true freshman) as the lone big.
Schilling will be back for a fifth season in the post and Carter is applying for a sixth-year of eligibility, but the overwhelming feeling is that he will either be playing elsewhere or ineligible to return.
The incoming recruiting class is ranked just 38th by 247Sports, but it includes four-star forward Xavier Tillman and five-star forward Jaren Jackson Jr. The class isn’t complete just yet as the Spartans are still in the running for five-star small forward Brian Bowen, five-star center Brandon McCoy, and four-star guards Mark Smith and Blake Harris.
Can Izzo lead the Spartans to their eighth Final Four since 1999?