Michigan State Basketball: Way-Too-Early Top-25 Rankings for 2021-22

Despite an up and down year, Michigan State basketball sits at No. 22 in ESPN's way-too-early top-25 rankings.
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EAST LANSING – The college basketball season came to a close on Monday night after Baylor defeated Gonzaga, 86-70.

Although, for Michigan State, it ended three weeks earlier in a First Four matchup against UCLA.

The Spartans led by 11 at halftime but couldn't subdue the Bruins, and some costly miscommunication helped send the game to overtime, where MSU fell apart.

In getting past Michigan State, UCLA beat BYU, Abilene Christian, Alabama, Michigan and took the Zags to overtime before losing on a buzzer-beater.

Despite an up and down season, the Spartans were ranked at No. 22 in ESPN's way-too-early top-25 college basketball rankings.

"It was a relatively disappointing season in East Lansing after the early-season expectations," ESPN Staff Writer Jeff Borzello said. "Tom Izzo will have some roster attrition, too. Rocket Watts has already transferred, while Josh Langford has used up his eligibility, and Aaron Henry is a projected NBA draft pick. But the Spartans went out and landed Northeastern transfer Tyson Walker to run the show, and Walker should combine with five-star prospect Max Christie to provide a much-needed backcourt infusion.

"One huge key is the status of Emoni Bates. A generational talent, Bates has long been considered a candidate to reclassify into the 2021 class. He could still decide to do that and enroll in college in the fall -- although the buzz around him has always been that he's also considering skipping college altogether. If Bates does wind up in East Lansing next fall, he will take this team to another level."

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