2007 Michigan State Spartans Basketball Preview
The Michigan State Spartans (23- 12 overall, 8- 8 Big Ten), a team that tied for 8th in the conference last year, made it past the first round of the March Madness brackets. But in the next round, they were then stopped by North Carolina 81- 67. Longtime Spartan coach Tom Izzo (278- 121 at Michigan State and overall in 12 years) has had two straight disappointing 8 and 8 Big Ten seasons. Look for that to change this year. Izzo has the mix to possibly have a break through season.
Statistically, the Spartans were tough under the boards, holding a plus-7 in rebounding, which placed them first in the Big Ten. The club was also first in the conference in assists with 16 per game and second in scoring defense, allowing only 57.2 PPG. However, Michigan State ended up 10th in turnovers, averaging 14.9 in each contest. The Spartans averaged 65 PPG, placing them seventh in the Big Ten.
Upfront, Michigan State has some fine defensive players, including forward Marquise Gray (6.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 57.8 FG%), center Goran Suton (9.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 50.9 FG%) and center Idong Ibok (2.0 PPG, 2.3 APG, 67.6 FG%). The Spartans need some scoring in the paint to open up the NCAA point spreads.
Points from downtown are not a problem for Michigan State. With the honed talents of senior guard Drew Neitzel (18.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.3 APG, 42.6 FG%), State’s backcourt is tough. Neitzel is a gifted playmaker, a solid three-point man and the club’s best foul shooter. Travis Walton (6.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 5.5 APG, 50.9 FG%) is another great passer and playmaker. Along with offering the best starting backcourt in the conference, the Spartans also have two talented freshman guards—Kalin Lucas and Chris Allen. Lucas has blinding speed and great hands, Allen looks to be a future go-to scoring machine.
The Michigan State Spartans have depth. This will go a long way in getting them past the second round of the tournament and into our picks on college basketball games. Izzo’s created a fine mix of returning and new players, featuring fine “D,” tough rebounding and good ball movement. These Spartans could win the conference and go deep into the NCAA tournament.