#17 Michigan State Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Michigan State Spartans
2021-2022 Overall Rank: #17
Conference Rank: #5 Big Ten
 Michigan State Logo
In what proved to be a tough season for the top programs, Michigan State nearly missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997. That was Coach Tom Izzo’s second season in charge. It did mark the first time the Spartans finished below .500 in Big Ten play during Coach Izzo’s long tenure. MSU is going to have to reload with four starters gone, but Coach Izzo has been down this road many times before and this is typically when the Spartans show why they are one of the best programs in the nation.
2020-21 Record: 15-13, 9-11
2020-21 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tom Izzo
Coach Record: 643-254 at Michigan State, 643-254 overall
Key Departed Players:
Aaron Henry, Forward, 15.4 ppg
Joshua Langford, Guard, 9.8 ppg
Rocket Watts, Guard, 7.6 ppg
Foster Loyer, Guard, 4.2 ppg
Thomas Kithier, Forward, 2.4 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Joey Hauser, Senior, Forward, 9.7 ppg
Gabe Brown, Senior, Forward, 7.2 ppg
Malik Hall, Junion, Forward, 5.0 ppg
Julius Marble II, Junior, Forward, 4.0 ppg
Marcus Bingham Jr, Senior, Forward, 3.5 ppg
A.J. Hoggard, Sophomore, Guard, 2.5 ppg
Mady Sissoko, Sophomore, Center, 1.1 ppg
Key New Players:
Pierre Brooks, Freshman, Guard
Max Christie, Freshman, Guard
Peter Nwoke, Freshman, Forward
Michael Peterson, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Ferris State
Tyson Walker, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Northeastern
Jason Whitens, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Western Michigan
The lack of point guard play really hurt the Spartans last season. Northeastern transfer Tyson Walker will be looking to fill that role. He spent the last two years dominating the CAA and averaged 18.8 points and 4.8 assists in 2020-2021. Sophomore A.J. Hoggard and incoming freshman Jaden Akins will provide the Spartans with a couple more point guard options. Max Christie is the top incoming freshman and he will immediately add a much needed outside shooting threat to the roster. Speaking of shooters, versatile forward Gabe Brown hit 42.0 percent of his attempts from long range last season. He will likely start at the small forward spot this year. Joey Hauser will start next to him. Hauser, the lone returning starter, averaged 9.7 points and 5.6 rebounds last season. Marcus Bingham can block some shots, but he will likely need to get some help from Julius Marble II and Mady Sissoko on the offensive end. The talent is here, but there are legitimate questions at the point guard and center positions. Those were issues that haunted this team a season ago though and it remains to be seen if Walker can run the show in the Big Ten and if the big men are capable of playing a more complete game. If they are, Michigan State will be right back in the mix for a Big Ten title. If not, this team will still keep that NCAA Tournament streak going.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.4 (225th in nation, 12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.1 (198, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.6 (245, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.6 (142, 11)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.4 (265, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.1 (252, 12)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.7 (105, 6)
Rebound Margin: 3.2 (78, 4)
Assists Per Game: 15.9 (32, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (163, 12)
Madness 2022 NBA Draft Rankings:
#28 Max Christie
Madness 2021 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#15 Max Christie
#46 Jaden Akins
#55 Pierre Brooks