MICHIGAN STATE NAMED MEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON FAVORITE BY MEDIA HERE IN CHICAGO AT THE BIG TEN MEDIA DAY!

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Spartans’ Neitzel earns Preseason Player of the Year accolades

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Park Ridge, Ill.– Michigan State has been selected as the preseason Big Ten favorite for the 2007-08 men’s basketball season, as voted upon by a 22-member media panel. Indiana and defending Big Ten Champion Ohio State are ranked second and third, respectively. In addition, Michigan State guard Drew Neitzel was named the Preseason Player of the Year and was joined on the Preseason All-Big Ten Team by Illinois’ Shaun Pruitt, Indiana’s D.J. White, Ohio State’s Jamar Butler and Penn State’s Geary Claxton.
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The Spartans return eight letterwinners and all five starters, representing 89.8 percent of the team’s scoring production a year ago. The Spartans finished with a 23-12 overall record and 8-8 conference mark. Entering his 13th season at the MSU helm, Tom Izzo will aim to lead the Spartans to a conference crown for the fifth time in his career and to the NCAA Tournament for the 11th straight year.
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With the return of three starters and three of its top four scorers from last season, Indiana follows Michigan State with a second-place showing in the preseason poll. The Hoosiers finished third in the Big Ten last year with a 10-6 mark and 21-11 overall record under first-year head coach Kelvin Sampson.
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Ohio State, which returns one starter from last year’s Big Ten Championship and national runner-up squad, has been picked in the No. 3 preseason slot. Head coach Thad Matta guided the Buckeyes to back-to-back conference crowns in just three years on campus, finishing with a 15-1 conference record last season. They closed out the campaign advancing to the championship game of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Florida. OSU tallied a 35-4 overall record and Matta earned Big Ten Coach of the Year accolades.
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Michigan State’s Neitzelwas tabbed Preseason Player of the Year after earning first-team All-Conference accolades last year. He led the conference in three-point field goals made and has scored over 1,000 points in his three seasons as a Spartan. He becomes the first Michigan State standout to earn Preseason Player of the Year accolades since Mateen Cleeves was voted as the coaches’ pick in 1999.
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The five-man Preseason All-Big Ten Team is highlighted by one first-team All-Big Ten returnee in Neitzel, while Indiana’s White was named to the second team by the coaches and media. Penn State’s Claxton was named to the second team by the media and third team by the coaches. Illinois’ Pruitt was a third team honoree and Butler was tabbed as an honorable mention choice in 2006-07.

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