#11 Michigan State Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Michigan State Spartans
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #11
Conference Rank: #1 Big Ten
 Michigan State Logo
Michigan State looked like a national title contender heading into last season, but the NCAA Tournament came to an early end in the second round against Syracuse. Coach Tom Izzo obviously knows how to get the most out of his team. This group has quite a bit of experience though and the pieces are there for Michigan State to make a push towards the Final Four.
2017-18 Record: 30-5, 16-2
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tom Izzo
Coach Record: 574-225 at Michigan State, 574-225 overall
Key Departed Players:
Miles Bridges, Guard/Forward, 17.1 ppg
Jaren Jackson, Forward, 10.9 ppg
Tum Tum Nairn, Guard, 1.7 ppg
Gavin Schilling, Forward, 2.9 ppg
Ben Carter, Forward, 0.7 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Cassius Winston, Junior, Guard, 12.6 ppg
Nick Ward, Junior, Forward, 12.4 ppg
Josh Langford, Junior, Guard, 10.9 ppg
Matt McQuaid, Senior, Guard, 6.0 ppg
Xavier Tillman, Sophomore, Forward, 2.8 ppg
Kenny Goins, Senior, Forward, 2.1 ppg
Kyle Ahrens, Junior, Guard/Forward, dnp last season
Key New Players:
Marcus Bingham Jr, Freshman, Forward
Gabe Brown, Freshman, Forward
Braden Burke, Sophomore, Center, Transfer from Robert Morris
Aaron Henry, Freshman, Forward
Thomas Kithier, Freshman, Forward
Foster Loyer, Freshman, Guard
The Spartans return three double digit scorers from last season. Cassius Winston will be the new leader of the team after averaging 12.6 points and 6.9 assists as a sophomore. While Winston is clearly a superb passer, he is also a very dangerous shooter. Winston hit 49.7 percent of his 151 attempts from beyond the arc and the opposition must respect his outside shooting ability or Winston will make them pay. Josh Langford had a good sophomore season too, averaging 10.9 points per game. He too is a quality shooter, but will need to be more effective attacking the basket to take the next step offensively. The other double digit scorer is junior Nick Ward. The 6-9 forward also led the team with 7.1 rebounds per game. Matt McQuaid should again provide some shooting from off the bench and Kyle Ahrens is back after missing last season with an injury. Coach Izzo also brings in five quality freshmen, highlighted by forward Marcus Bingham who could find a spot in the regular rotation thanks to his ability to stretch the defense. Michigan State started five underclassmen last season and while they will still have to rely on some of the freshmen for depth, this group has much more experience and that should lead to more postseason success after three straight years of failing to make it out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.2 (43rd in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.9 (18, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.6 (8, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.7 (1, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.3 (107, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.0 (17, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.7 (57, 3)
Rebound Margin: 10.7 (1, 1)
Assists Per Game: 19.1 (1, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.1 (193, 11)
Madness 2018 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#59 Marcus Bingham
#84 Foster Loyer
#108 Gabe Brown
#110 Aaron Henry
#130 Thomas Kithier