NCAAB: Michigan State Enters the 2023-24 college basketball season as one of the favorites to cut down the nets in Phoenix.

darren cooper
By:
Darren Cooper
26/09/2023/
NCAAB

Highlights

  • After reaching the Sweet 16 last season, Michigan State is a top five choice at most sportsbooks to win the national title.
  • The Spartans bring back four starters and a talented freshman class this season.
  • Michigan State has made the NCAA Tournament 25 straight years and won the NCAA title in 2000.

With the football season not going so well, it was a relief at Michigan State this week to know basketball practice has begun.

“Hard to believe that it’s September 25th and we’re having these,” said long-time Spartans basketball coach Tom Izzo. "We used to be religious and have these on October 15th forever, and the 25th seems early, but at the same time, I'm excited to get started.”

Izzo is one of the icons of the college basketball world, putting together teams known for their defensive tenacity and emotion. With four starters back, and a Top 10 recruiting class, Izzo has a team that looks like it can contend for a Big 10 title and possibly more according to American online sportsbooks.

The Final Four this season is at State Farm Stadium in Phoenix April 5-8.

What Do The Oddsmakers Say?

The Spartans are all over the NCAAB futures boards to win the national title.

PointsBet is most optimistic, listing the Spartans as the second choice to win it all at +1100 just behind Kansas (+900) but ahead of Duke and Purdue.

Most of the other prominent sportsbooks have Michigan State fifth on their boards to win the NCAA title. BetRivers and BetMGM has Michigan State at +1600 to win the national title. Both also have Michigan State at +500 to reach the Final Four.

DraftKings has the Spartans at +1500 to win it all and +550 to get back to the Final Four for the first time since 2019.

Sizing Up The Spartans

Michigan State may return one of the most experienced teams in America. The Spartans didn’t lose anyone in the transfer portal, and didn’t bring anyone in either.

That type of continuity is rare in college basketball these days. Michigan State returns four starters, including All-Big Ten guard Tyson Walker who led the Spartans with 14.8 points and senior guard A.J. Hoggard who scored 12.9 last year, but has improved as a three-point threat each year.

The Spartans will also get a boost from the return of Jaden Akins and Mady Sissoko and get back Malik Hall, who dealt with an injury over the summer. It’s the type of team that Izzo seems to favor, with experience and players who play good on-the-ball defense.

How About the New Guys?

Michigan State also signed one of the best freshman classes in Izzo’s long tenure, and the freshmen are a big reason why Michigan State is so highly regarded entering the season.

Much of the preseason will be spent talking about 6-foot-10 center Xavier Brooks who signed with the Spartans out of Indianapolis after offers from Indiana, Duke and Purdue. Brooks was a McDonald’s All-American and possesses a 7-foot-5 wingspan and a lefty shot. He’s being counted on to provide rim protection and athleticism.

Spartan fans will also be eager to see freshman point guard Jeremy Fears, nicknamed the “Floor General.” Fears played on the USA Men’s National U-16 and U-17 teams with success. Athletic forwards Coen Carr and Gehrig Normand round out the freshman class.

The Spartans play their first exhibition game Oct. 25 and open the regular season Nov. 6 against James Madison at home.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.