Big Ten Press Release:
Rosemont, Ill. – Michigan State has been chosen as the unanimous Big Ten favorite heading into the 2013-14 men’s basketball season as voted on by a panel of conference media. The media also tabbed Spartan sophomore Gary Harris as the Preseason Player of the Year. Michigan and Ohio State were selected to finish second and third, respectively.
Harris led a six-member preseason All-Big Ten team, as the media vote resulted in additional honorees due to a tie. He was joined on the team by the Wolverines’ Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, Michigan State’s Adreian Payne, the Buckeyes’ Aaron Craft and Penn State’s Tim Frazier.
Michigan State, which is ranked No. 2 in the preseason USA Today Coaches poll, returns four starters from last year’s team that advanced to the Sweet 16 and finished with a 27-9 record. Tom Izzo enters his 19th year at the helm. Harris and Payne were both named second-team All-Big Ten last season, as was senior guard Keith Appling. Harris also picked up Big Ten Freshman of the Year accolades from both the coaches and media.
Michigan welcomes back three starters from last year’s team that advanced to the NCAA Championship game. John Beilein enters his seventh season with the Wolverines. Robinson III was a Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection by the coaches last season, and also collected All-Big Ten honorable mention plaudits from the media. McGary became a regular starter during the NCAA Tournament, and averaged a double-double during the Wolverines’ run to the Final Four. Forward Jordan Morgan, a Big Ten All-Defensive Team selection last season, also returns for the Wolverines.
Ohio State returns four starters from last year’s team that advanced to the Elite Eight. The Buckeyes, who also won the Big Ten Tournament last season, are led by tenth-year head coach Thad Matta. Craft was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the media last season and was also a member of the Big Ten All-Defensive Team along with Shannon Scott, who also returns in the Buckeyes’ backcourt.
The complete 2013-14 preseason poll and All-Big Ten Team can be found below:
2013-14 BIG TEN PRESEASON RANKINGS
1. MICHIGAN STATE
3. Ohio State
2013-14 PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN TEAM*
Mitch McGary, Michigan
Glenn Robinson III, Michigan
Gary Harris, Michigan State
Adreian Payne, Michigan State
Aaron Craft, Ohio State
Tim Frazier, Penn State
2013-14 PRESEASON BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Gary Harris, Michigan State
Unanimous selections in ALL CAPS
*Additional honorees due to ties
The long wait is finally over, the bye week is done, the anticipation has built, and Michigan prepares to travel to East Lansing for another 60 minutes of unnecessary roughness. The toughest, hardest hitting, slugfest of the year. With Paul Bunyan finally home after earning his associates degree at MSU the previous four years, and a situation where Michigan can’t lose and expect to earn a berth in Indianapolis, all is riding on this one.
Predicting Michigan football is as about as easy as a couch escaping an East Lansing party without third degree burns. With youth, comes inconsistency. 10 guys do a great job on a play and one misses an assignment and the play fails.
The key to this game outside of the turnover battle is Michigan establishing the run with players other than Devin Gardner. Whether it’s the jet sweep with Dennis Norfleet, or between the tackles with Fitz Toussaint and Derrick Green, Michigan must establish some form of a running game.
MSU likes to load the box and leave their corners on islands. Lining Devin Funchess up outside or in the slot, and making him go up and get passes can make them drop their safeties back to prevent that ND further open an inconsistent run game.
Michigan’s defense is better than it has portrayed the past two games, and has a chance to assert itself against an equally puzzling offense. Slowing the run game, which will reduce the Spartan’s play action passing is another key.
In the end, I don’t see MSU scoring more than 20 points offensively, unless they’re set up with short fields by their defense. Can Michigan move the ball effectively and take their shots when given? Michigan will score just enough, and take care of the ball equally as well as MSU, and squeak out a win,
Michigan 21 MSU 20
Highlights from last night’s 117-44 exhibition win over Concordia:
Tweet from Concordia Assistant Head Coach Nick Sherwood:
Max Preps released this video profile on Jabrill Peppers earlier this week: