It's that time again folks!
College basketball season is FINALLY upon us!
The disappointing performance of my Spartan football team has somewhat increased my levels of enthusiasm (it's a new offense, they will get there, I still love them!), but there are WAY more reasons I'm looking forward to 2012-2013.
Instead of writing a preview of the Top 25, over the next few entries, I'd just like to share some of the storylines I'm eager to watch unfold. Full disclosure: I try to be somewhat objective, but since this is my blog, I don't get paid for it and I can write what I want, I refuse to hide my love of Michigan State. GO GREEN!
Speaking of, let's start in East Lansing, shall we?
Last year's Spartans only lost 2 players from the squad--but what losses they were! I think the main question mark behind this team is "What do they do without Draymond Green?" (For those of you playing along at home, this would be a GREAT sidegame during any MSU broadcast--keep track of how many times DayDay is mentioned).
It's a completely valid question. Green led the team last year physically, emotionally and mentally--what he brought to the floor in terms of intangibles can't be summed up in words.
That said, this year's team certainly has the TALENT to be amazing--and their #14 preseason ranking suggests I'm not the only one who thinks so. They have experience in guards (Keith Appling, Travis Trice) AND down low (Derrick Nix, Adrien Payne), some solid role players with room to grow (Russell Byrd, Brandan Kearney) and some great, fresh talent (Gary Harris). There's also some guy named Branden Dawson who's coming back from an injury and is supposed to be pretty good. Dawson, for me, is one of the keys to the season. If he's strong, he adds an athleticism, depth and a scoring threat the Spartans don't have anywhere else.
From my perspective, the Spartan season will go one of two ways:
1.) One (or more) of the starting five picks up where Green left off--setting the example for the others, keeping the team unified, stepping up in clutch situations and MSU is a presence in the Top 25, fighting Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan and possibly Wisconsin for the Big Ten title. This season would also include a nice tournament run as well.
The other situation is scenario #2, where no one knows what to do without DayDay and everything is a kind of a big mess.
I'm VERY interested to watch how this goes because frankly, I'm just not sure. With Izzo at the helm, I feel as though chances are that scenario #1 or some variation of it is what we can reasonably expect--but Izzo can't be on the court FOR these guys and to some extent, it's going to be left in their hands.
Since they play their first game on FRIDAY (who's excited!?!?!) we get a bit of a peek at what they'll look like then.
And one final note: Regardless of what happens at the beginning of this year, it is important to remember the following things about MSU:
1.) They always play an extremely tough schedule in the beginning of the year
2.) They ALWAYS get better as the year goes on. How they look in November is NOT how they'll look at the end of February.
That's it for now--but in the meantime, any additional thoughts regarding the Spartans?