Michigan State basketball pairs a talented recruiting class with one of the best coaches in Tom Izzo as they attempt to conquer the difficult Big Ten.
Michigan State basketball looked all about done last year when they fell to 2-6 in conference play, including a game where they only scored 37 points. Then, they got hot at the right time, knocking off three top 4 teams in the same month in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio State.
Now, with a relatively new team due to the losses of Aaron Henry and Joshua Langford, Coach Izzo would like to see more consistency in an attempt to regain March Madness glory.
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— Michigan State Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) October 6, 2021
PG: Tyson Walker (6-0, 175, Jr.)
2021 stats: 18.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.4 steals (Northeastern)
Projected stats: 12.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.8 steals
SG: Max Christie (6-6, 190, Fr.)
247Sports #19 overall rated recruit
Projected stats: 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.5 steals
SF: Gabe Brown (6-8, 215, Sr.)
2021 stats: 7.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.5 blocks
Projected stats: 8.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.6 blocks
PF: Joey Hauser (6-9, 230, Sr.)
2021 stats: 9.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.4 steals
Projected stats: 11.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.4 steals
C: Marcus Bingham (7-0, 230, Sr.)
2021 stats: 3.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 1.4 blocks
Projected stats: 5.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 1.4 blocks
6: Malik Hall (6-8, 225, Jr.)
2021 stats: 5.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.4 steals
Projected stats: 7.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.5 steals
7: A.J. Hoggard (6-4, 210, So.)
2021 stats: 2.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.3 steals
Projected stats: 4.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.6 steals
8: Mady Sissoko (6-9, 235, So.)
2021 stats: 1.1 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.0 assists, 0.4 blocks
Projected stats: 4.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.0 assists, 0.6 blocks
9: Jaden Akins (6-4, 180, Fr.)
247Sports #52 overall recruit
Projected stats: 3.2 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.4 steals
10: Julius Marble II (6-9, 245, Jr.)
2021 stats: 4.0 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.1 assists, 0.1. blocks
Projected stats: 5.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.1 assists, 0.1 blocks
11: Pierre Brooks (6-6, 195, Fr.)
247 Sports #60 overall recruit
Projected stats: 2.3 points, 1.1 rebounds, 0.1 assists, 0.1 steals
Team MVP: Joey Hauser
This team doesn’t have a star, but the former Marquette transfer is the clear best returner for this team. What really makes him special, and something that Michigan State basketball really capitalized on last year is his ability to stretch the floor. With Henry, Langford, and Watts gone, he is in line for a huge season and one that can earn him all-conference honors. Don’t be surprised if freshman Max Christie holds the team MVP title at the end of the season either.
Make-or-Break Player: Max Christie
— Max Christie (@Max12Christie) July 7, 2020
Being a top 20 recruit in the country, the expectations are really high for him to be a dominant player. Izzo usually minimizes freshman play, so the fact he’s supposed to start shows the trust displayed in him. If he can take advantage of the opportunity and shine like we saw Christie do in high school, Michigan State can be a dangerous team. However, if he fails to adjust to the pro level like we see a lot of freshmen do, then Michigan State can be in for a similar result as last season.
Bench Rating: 7/10
Our 2021-22 team captains: Gabe Brown and Malik Hall 🏀 pic.twitter.com/yktjUeEnFV
— Michigan State Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) September 28, 2021
Michigan State’s bench is hard to evaluate since most are underclassmen who just didn’t get a lot of experience last year. One player in particular to watch is Mady Sissoko, a former high 4-star recruit who could take a huge step this year and potentially earn that starting center spot by conference play.
Malik Hall wasn’t able to make that sophomore jump that was expected last year, but another opportunity and a bigger role should benefit him. Michigan State also has two talented freshmen on their bench in Akins and Brooks, but barring injury, they won’t see too much playing time, unfortunately.
Analytic to Know: AdjD
According to KenPom, Michigan State basketball had the 45th best AdjD (points per 100 possessions) in the country. A big reason for this was Aaron Henry, who is now gone. Tyson Walker averaged 1.8 steals per game, so they are hoping that he will be able to translate that to his new team. Besides that, the defense isn’t very strong with this team, so Coach Izzo will have to implement a solid plan to ensure they are in that Top 50 once again.
This team has boom or bust potential. They don’t have that star that a lot of teams do, but do have a lot of talented all-around players that should be able to mesh very well.
Michigan State basketball will take on a Top 5 country in the team to start off the season in Kansas, and play a sneaky good team in Butler. Other non-conference games to watch are at home against Loyola Chicago and Louisville in back-to-back games.
Once again, the Big Ten will be a top conference in college basketball. Michigan, Purdue, Illinois, Ohio State, and Maryland are a few of the many tough matchups they will have to face, and Michigan State will need to win some of those earlier conference games because they close out the season with a death lineup of Purdue, Ohio State, and Maryland.