Michigan State Men's Basketball Ranked No. 11 in Way-Too-Early Big Ten Power Rankings

Michigan State men's basketball is ranked No. 11 while teams like Michigan and Nebraska are ranked higher.
Michigan State guard Jaden Akins (3) looks on after 85-69 loss to North Carolina in the NCAA
Michigan State guard Jaden Akins (3) looks on after 85-69 loss to North Carolina in the NCAA / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State men's basketball and Coach Tom Izzo came into last season with the expectation to compete for a national championship.

Those expectations were not even close to being met throughout the season, and many were wondering if Michigan State would even make the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans would lose in the second round of the tournament to No. 1-seeded North Carolina. 

This offseason has seen a lot of change compared to years prior. Tyson Walker and Malik Hall have graduated, while A.J. Hoggard and Mady Sissoko have transferred out to use their fifth-year option someplace else. The only remaining starter from last year's team will be Jaden Akins. 

Issac Trotter of 247Sports has put Michigan State at No. 11 in his way-too-early power rankings for all the Big Ten teams. UCLA, Indiana, Purdue, Oregon, Michigan, Illinois, Rutgers, Maryland, Nebraska, and Ohio State are all ahead of the Spartans. 

“Being bullish on Michigan State requires a little faith.” Issac said. “With AJ Hoggard and Tyson Walker exiting, can Akins finally emerge as a go-to guard? Will Fears be fully recovered from getting, uh, shot?!? Is Xavier Booker out of Tom Izzo's doghouse once and for all? In recent history, MSU's highly-touted freshmen seem to nearly sink before they start swimming. Will Jase Richardson and Kur Teng buck that trend? Fidler is a little flawed, but the Nebraska-Omaha transfer is a bucket. He'll figure it out. Running it back with this center situation, except subbing in Szymon Zapala for Mady Sissoko, feels like a choice…”

Michigan State had a need at the center position last season, and the only go-to scorer on the team was Walker. However, there is definitely returning talent that is being overlooked.

Tre Holloman had bright spots coming off the bench -- now its his turn to be the lead guard. Xavier Booker wasn't a McDonald's All-American for nothing, as he has great mobility for his size and can space the floor. The frontcourt lost Sissoko and Hall, but the Spartans added Frankie Fidler out of Omaha and Szymon Zapala from Longwood University through the transfer portal.

It's rankings like this that should fuel this team to prove all the doubters wrong. 

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Luke Joseph