Expectations are always high at MSU, but they're even higher when you're ranked number 1 or 2 in the nation, and your head coach says it's the most talented team he's had since winning a national championship: "I think we have a bunch of guys who understand that this is an opportunity of a lifetime," says Tom Izzo.
Last season, the Spartans went 27-9 and reached the Sweet 16. This year, they return everyone except starting center Derrick Nix (who graduated), and that includes guys like Adreian Payne and Gary Harris, who decided against entering the NBA draft.
Payne says, "I knew I made the right call after I talked to the guys....there wasn't a moment in the gym where I was like, man I'm glad I came back, it's just the atmosphere."
Harris adds, "We truly do believe we do have a lot of talent from top to bottom. Not just our individual talent, but we see the talent our teammates have and just see that, if we play for each other and make each other look better, we're all gonna shine and we're all gonna take our game to another level."
Also at stake this season is Izzo's Final Four streak. In his 18 year tenure, every player who's stayed for four years has reached the Final Four. This group doesn't want to be known as the one that let the streak end.
Senior Keith Appling says, "It's very important. We understand that no one on this team has reached a Final Four yet, but, we feel like we're due for one. We just have to go out there and practice hard each and every day to reach that goal."
The Spartans kick off the regular season on November 8th against Mcneese State.
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