Yes, readers! Its that time of year again! While most of us are going into hockey withdraw, being bored without baseball, and enduring the Pistons’ struggles once again, college basketball is here once again to take our mind off all these things. Both Michigan and Michigan State are going into the 2012-13 season with great squads and high aspirations. The Big Ten looks to be strong too with three teams in the top 5 (Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan) and five teams in the top 25 overall. But as to where they’ll all end up is anyone’s guess. Without further ado, we’ll look at Michigan and Michigan State’s teams for the upcoming season
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
2011-12 RECORD 29-8
BIG TEN RECORD 13-5
BIG TEN CO-CHAMPIONS (OHIO ST AND MICHIGAN)
LOST TO LOUISVILLE IN SWEET 16
PRESEASON RANK: 14 IN AP, 14 IN COACHES
The conversation on whether or not the Spartans will compete begins and ends with the man on the bench: Tom Izzo. The Big Ten’s longest currently tenured coach has 7 Final Four appearances and has simply dominated in recruiting for the last decade. Among those recruited, both Derrick Nix and Keith Appling will have to take the mantle of leadership and help coach this team on the hardwood. Incoming freshman Gary Harris will step into a scorer’s role and be a force in the Big Ten at an early age. Additionally, forwards Adrien Payne and Branden Dawson will have to play big in starting roles for the Spartans to continue their dominance in the Big Ten. Considering last year’s three way tie for the Big Ten Championship, it will be tough to compete but its not impossible. We should see another great season from Izzo and it could be another monumental season added to Izzo’s resume.
2011-12 RECORD 24-10
BIG TEN RECORD 13-5
BIG TEN CO-CHAMPIONS (OHIO ST AND MICHIGAN ST)
LOST TO OHIO IN SECOND ROUND
PRESEASON RANK: 5 IN AP, 5 IN COACHES
John Beilein has drastically improved the Wolverines since he arrived from West Virginia. Michigan was a shadow of its former self when Tommy Amaker left town and for this team to be ranked #5 going into this season is a real accomplishment. However to continue that success, sophomore guard Trey Burke and junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr will have to maintain their high levels of play. While a set starting lineup hasn’t really emerged, it appears that senior Matt Vogrich, redshirt junior Jordan Morgan, and freshman Glenn Robinson III will join Hardaway Jr and Burke at tip off. As to what the season holds, Michigan’s freshman class is one of the best in recent memory, headlined by 6’10” athletic power forward Mitch McGary. McGary, being the #2 ranked recruit in the nation, immediately propelled the Wolverine freshman class to Beilein’s best and among the nation’s top 5 entering the season. As with the Spartans, I’ll expect Michigan to compete once again for the Big Ten Championship, despite challenges from fellow co-champions Ohio St and Michigan St.
I think we’ve all been excited for this season, whether you’re a Spartan or a Wolverine. Both teams are legitimate Big Ten, and maybe even national title, contenders. It will be an interesting season throughout the Big Ten but make sure to watch on February 12, in East Lansing, and on March 2, in Ann Arbor, when both these teams clash. It could decide the fate of the Big Ten