June 18, 2024 7:30 am

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Michigan State Spartans Poised for a Promising 2023-2024 Season

Coming off a 21-13 season and a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten, Michigan State University's men's basketball team has generated considerable excitement, given their blend of returning veterans and a talented crop of fresh recruits. But what truly sets the tone for the 2023-2024 season? Here’s an outlook:
A photo of the MSU basketball team

Michigan State Spartans Men’s Basketball: The Renaissance of the 2023-2024 Season

Coming off a 21-13 season and a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten, Michigan State University’s men’s basketball team has generated considerable excitement, given their blend of returning veterans and a talented crop of fresh recruits. But what truly sets the tone for the 2023-2024 season? Here’s an outlook:

 

The Return of Experience

Last season saw the Spartans grappling with a shortage of experienced players, particularly in the front court. This year, the tides have shifted. A potent mix of returning starters combined with one of the program’s most talented freshman classes means Head Coach Tom Izzo can look forward to deploying a deeper roster.

Izzo, buoyed by this transformation, acknowledges the value of having a team led by players. He mentions, “My theory is player-coached teams are better than coach-coached teams.” This indicates a dynamic season ahead with veterans like A.J. Hoggard, Tyson Walker, Jaden Akins, and Mady Sissoko showing the ropes to the fresh talent.

 

Physical Transformation

A significant emphasis has been on players optimizing their physique for the rigorous season ahead. Senior center Mady Sissoko, sophomore Carson Cooper, and junior forward Jaden Akins have added essential weight. Meanwhile, Jaxon Kohler, the sophomore forward, has focused on trimming fat and enhancing muscle, amplifying his prowess on the court.

 

Recognizing Weaknesses

Even with the apparent strengths, Coach Izzo is acutely aware of areas needing improvement. He is concerned about their prowess in scoring in the post and hints at the need for improving shot selection. Izzo realizes the challenges that come with integrating so many players into a cohesive unit, especially when external pressures, including expectations from family and friends, come into play.

 

Rising Expectations

With the college basketball tipoff a month away, there’s an aura of anticipation surrounding the Spartans. A preseason media poll, conducted by The Columbus Dispatch and The Athletic, sees Michigan State picked to finish second in the Big Ten Conference standings, closely trailing Purdue. These rankings, based on votes from 28 media members, reiterate the high hopes associated with the Spartans this season.

Michigan State’s formidable backcourt – consisting of guards A.J. Hoggard, Tyson Walker, and Jaden Akins – is a testament to the team’s depth and talent. The same poll has acknowledged their prowess with Walker bagging a preseason first team All-Big Ten selection, and Hoggard landing on the second team.

 

The Big Picture

While the Spartans are in an enviable position, challenges lie ahead. Purdue, with its stellar lineup including the 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey, remains a significant contender. Edey, the reigning National Player of the Year, is the media’s pick for retaining his title, posing a robust challenge to teams like Michigan State.

However, the Spartans are in a much stronger position than their in-state rival, Michigan, which is predicted to finish 11th in the conference.

In conclusion, with a mix of experienced veterans, a top 5 recruiting class, and an evident hunger for success, Michigan State’s men’s basketball team is on the cusp of a renaissance. The 2023-2024 season promises exhilarating action and possibly a return to the summit for the Spartans. Only time will tell if they can convert this potential into tangible success on the hardwood.



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