2009-2010 Michigan State Spartans Season Preview
By Ryno of Predictem.com
Last Season’s Record: 31-7 overall, 15-3 Big Ten, NCAA Tournament National Championship Runner-Up
Head Coach: Tom Izzo
Key Losses: Goran Suton, Travis Walton, Marquise Gray
Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Kalin Lucas 6-0 Jr.
SG: Durrell Summers 6-4 Jr.
SF: Delvon Roe 6-8 So.
PF: Raymar Morgan 6-8 Sr.
C: Derrick Nix 6-9 Fr.
Key Reserves: Chris Allen 6-3 Jr. SG, Korie Lucious 5-11 So. PG, Garrick Sherman 6-10 Fr. C, Draymond Green 6-6 So. PF.
Current 2010 National Championship Odds: 13-1.
Michigan State made an improbable run to the National Championship game last season before losing to North Carolina. The Spartans now return the large majority of their key players and are one of the favorites to reach the Final Four this season. Kalin Lucas leads the way for the Spartans, but a healthy Delvon Roe and Raymar Morgan will make this team even better than it was last year. This team has as much experience as any team in the country.
Who’s In/Who’s Out
The biggest loss is center Goran Suton. Luckily, Tom Izzo brings in a pair of recruits who can replace Suton down low. Derrick Nix and Garrick Sherman are both throwback big men who rely more on hard work and positioning than athleticism and quickness. Nix weighs in at 285 pounds and will be a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten. Marquise Gray is a key loss because the Spartans could have used an experienced low post threat this season. Travis Walton was a stellar defensive guard with solid ball-handling skills. He was a good leader and usually defended the opposing team’s best guard.
Lucas runs the point for the Spartans also provides a lot of the scoring. He led the team in scoring and assists last season with 14.7 ppg and 4.6 apg. He is a quick guard who can drive to the basket or shoot jumpers off the dribble. Durrell Summers is an athletic guard who does most of his scoring around the basket. He is also a capable 3-point shooter, having shot 38.5 percent from beyond the arc last season. Chris Allen is also a solid outside shooter, but he struggled last season. Korie Lucious will back up Lucas at point guard. As a freshman last season, he proved to be a very good outside shooter at 35.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Raymar Morgan and Delvon Roe are both very strong combo forwards. But both players were not 100 percent last season. Morgan had walking pneumonia and Roe was coming off knee surgery. Morgan is a physical athlete who can post up smaller wings or use his quickness and athleticism to get past opposing big men. He can score down low or he can step out and hit jumpers. Roe is also a versatile player with the ability to handle the ball and drive to the basket or post up down low. Nix and Sherman will share time at center. Both freshmen are solid defensive players and will grab some rebounds.
This team had the fortune of reaching the National Championship last season. That experience will help them immensely as try to get back to the Final Four this season. The Spartans are one of the better defensive teams in the country. They have quick, athletic guards that can shut down opposing backcourts. Morgan and Roe are strong, athletic players who should be able to stick any opposing forwards. The biggest strength for the Spartans is perhaps Tom Izzo, one of the best coaches in the country. With Izzo, Michigan State will always have a chance to win the Big Ten and make a run in the NCAA tournament.
Nix and Sherman are question marks at center. If neither one of them pans out to be effective players, the Spartans will have some issues in their frontcourt. They don’t have much depth at all in the frontcourt, so it is important that Morgan and Roe stay healthy and play a large majority of the minutes. If Nix starts, Sherman is the only backup center. Draymond Green is another bench player who can play down low, but he is only 6-foot-6.
Betting Odds and Projections
Michigan State is listed with 13-1 odds to win the 2010 National Championship. The Spartans are certainly one the handful of teams with a strong chance of winning the title, so they are a wise bet. They were able to get to the title game last season when the odds were against them, so there’s no reason they can’t get back there and win it this season. The Spartans don’t have as much talent as teams like Kansas, Kentucky, Texas and Villanova, but they do have an elite coach, experience and very good defense. Those factors make them the favorites in the Big Ten and one of the favorites to win it all.