Michigan State basketball preview capsule
Last season: 30-5, won Big Ten title and lost in second round of NCAA Tournament.
Coach: Tom Izzo.
Conference: Big Ten.
Who’s gone: Miles Bridges (NBA), Jaren Jackson (NBA), Tum Tum Nairn, Gavin Schilling, Ben Carter.
Who’s back: Nick Ward entered his name in the NBA draft before deciding to stay in school for his junior season. The 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward ranked third on the team last season with 12.4 points and first with 7.1 rebounds. Junior point guard Cassius Winston trailed only Bridges in scoring, averaging 12.6 points a game, made a Big Ten-best 49.7 percent of his 3-point shots and had a team-high 6.9 assists per game. Junior shooting guard Joshua Langford averaged 11.7 points and showed the potential to do more, including his 23-point performance against North Carolina.
Who’s new: Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo said at least two freshmen will play right away: Aaron Henry, a 6-6, 210-pound forward, and Foster Loyer, a 6-foot point guard.
The Skinny: The Spartans are No. 10 in the preseason poll because they have a lot of experience, which they hope will help the program advance past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015 when Izzo reached his seventh Final Four.
Expectations: Las Vegas oddsmakers have Michigan State as a 35-1 shot win the NCAA Tournament, odds that are tied with rival Michigan and trail 11 schools.
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