Lower expectations for 2014-2015 MSU basketball team

Posted at 11:52 AM, Oct 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-29 11:52:41-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — When you lose players like Gary Harris, Adreian Payne and Keith Appling, expectations are going to be lower for a team. That’s the case for the Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball team.

The Spartans were a favorite of many to reach the Final Four last year but came up short when they fell to eventual champion UConn in the Elite Eight. This year, the Spartans are 18th in the NCAA coaches preseason poll. MSU has been picked to finish anywhere between second and ninth in preseason Big Ten polls.

Tom Izzo enters his 20th season as head coach with a team he admits he likes to coach but isn't sure what he'll get out of this season. He'll rely on three key players expected to have huge roles this season in seniors Travis Trice and Branden Dawson along with junior Denzel Valentine.

Izzo believes this year's club has better leadership compared to last year's team and Dawson and Trice believe that comes from improved communication.

Michigan State will begin the exhibition season  Monday, November 3 against The Master's College at the Breslin Center. The Spartans' season officially begins Friday, November 14 at Navy.