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Friday, November 4, 2011

2011-12 BIG Basketball Preview: Michigan St.

Coach: Tom Izzo – 383-161 (.704)
Lost: G Kalin Lucas, F Delvon Roe (retired), G Darrell Summers, G Mike Kebler, F Garrick Sherman
Returning:  F Draymond Green (Sr), G Korie Lucious (Sr), PG Keith Appling (So), F Derrick Nix (Jr), F Adreian Payne (So), G Austin Thornton (Jr),
Draymond Green is a joy to watch and is hands down
the most versatile player in the Big Ten.
New faces: SG Brandon Wood (transfer), SF Branden Dawson(20), PG Travis Trice, SG Dwaun Anderson(95), SG Brandan Kearney(127), F Russell Byrd (Redshirt)

Preview: Last season is likely considered the most disappointing season in MSU history. A year after making the Final 4 with largely the same team, Michigan St. finished in the middle of the pack in the conference and squeaked into the NCAAs as a 10 seed where they were bounced in the first round by UCLA.  Luckily for Izzo there’s plenty of new talent on hand to replace the four starters he lost.  The heart and soul of this team is PF Draymond Green.  Green is one of the most versatile players you’ll find; at 6’6” 235 lbs he’s able to bang with the big boys (he finished 56th nationally in defensive rebound rate) and step outside and drain a perimeter shot (36.6 3-point % last year).  He’s also an excellent defender and good ball handler. Joining him in the starting lineup will likely be Derrick Nix who after two years finally seems to be in shape. Nix is tough to handle on the block but really offers little else on the offensive end.  His partner in crime is fellow big man Adreian Payne. Unfortunately these two combined to make only 51% of their free throws.  Izzo will look to sophomore Keith Appling to run the point and although he struggled last year he has the skills to be a big time player in the BIG.  Valpo transfer Brandon Wood is an excellent find by Izzo and should start right away and incoming guards Brandan Kerney and Dwaun Anderson may have their moments.  But the true star is likely freshman Branden Dawson. Dawson can light up the gym on any given night but will need to focus defensively if he’s going to be great.  Izzo has the pieces to have an excellent season but does he have the depth?  Either way things should be better than last year.

Shot in the dark at starting the 5:
PG Keith Appling
SG Brandon Wood
SF Branden Dawson
PF Draymond Green
C Derrick Nix
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