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Let the MADNESS of the 2014-2015 Michigan State Basketball Season KISS Their Expectations Hello!

The Spartan basketball team kicked of the 2014-2015 season tonight with their annual Midnight Madness. The Spartans enter this season surrounded by a great deal of uncertainty. Superstars Garry Harris, Adreian Payne and Keith Appling are off to professional basketball, while three “unheralded” recruits enter the program and two transfers join the team. With a great deal of change entering the season, Spartan Nation approaches this year’s basketball season with many questions. Midnight Madness was the first step to answers.

Tonight may have been Izzo’s most whacky introduction has he entered as a member of the band KISS in a world where Izzo chose a different career other than coaching. As always, Mark Hollis and those who help plan Midnight Madness showed their awareness and forward thinking by sending a message to Spartan Nation with tonight’s underlying theme,“ The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Tonight’s event centered on Tom Izzo beginning his 20th season as head coach. Over the past 20 years, a great deal has changed—rosters, recruiting, the conference and social media. But through all the change the Spartans remain an elite program in great part due to Tom Izzo. With Coach Izzo on the sideline, Spartan Nation can cast aside all uncertainties and feel confident that this year’s Spartans will contend and compete.

Another reason Spartan fans can feel confident is the return of Braden Dawson, Travis Trice, Denzel Valentine and Matt Costello. After a summer spent living in the gym and maturing off the floor, all four appear ready to take on a greater role. Denzel looks to be in the best shape since his arrival and it is clear that he Trice and Dawson are unquestionably this team’s leaders. Not since Draymond Green have the Spartans had such clear-cut leadership

After what many consider a string of “whiffs” on the recruiting trail, Coach Izzo and his staff was still able to land a three-man class that most classes would be fervent about. After a quick glimpse, Lourawls Nairn Jr aka “Tum Tum” appears to be as quick as a hiccup, Marvin Clark’s build would make King Leonidas insecure about going shirtless, and Javon Bess is such a well-rounded basketball player it would not be a shock if he is a starter by the time the Big Ten season starts. The three may not carry the stars of other incoming freshmen, but they seem to possess the character that will make Spartan fans proud. In the past we have witnessed Izzo mold less-heralded recruits into winners. Fans should expect no less with this group.

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In the changing landscape of college basketball, transfers have become just as vital as landing five-star high school players. In the off season, the Spartans were able to land two proven elite level college shooters: Lansing-born and bred Bryn Forbes and Eron Harris via West Virginia University. Harris will not be able to play until next year but Forbes was granted immediate eligibility and will bring much needed shooting, scoring and ball handling to the lineup. Forbes has already wowed teammates with his shooting in practice with some saying he may be the best Spartan shooter since the legend Shawn Respert.

With so many questions entering the season, it is understandable that Spartan fans may approach this season with questionable expectations. Tonight’s Midnight Madness sent a message to Spartan Nation that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” With Tom Izzo on the sideline for his 20th season, the return of the “Big Four,” three unheralded but talented freshmen, and a lights out shooting transfer, the Spartans should have another outstanding season. More answers will come when the Spartans open up the exhibition season on November 3rd versus Masters College. Until then, let’s focus on football and kick some Wolverine rear.