College basketball is here


Jonathon Markwort

The end of one major college sport happens to signal the beginning of another. Every year, the beginning of the college basketball season coincides with the end of college football. The 2014-15 season has began with a flurry of early season action including several tip-off tournaments, such as the Battle 4 Atlantis, Maui Invitational and the Coaches vs Cancer Classic. Michigan State and Michigan were involved in the Orlando Classic and Legends Classic respectively. These events provided an early season test for what each team hopes to be a successful campaign.

The Michigan State Spartans are coming off of a 29-9 season that included a Big Ten Tournament victory and a run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. To continue the successes of last year, the Spartans will have to replace the losses of Adreian Payne and Keith Appling, who were seniors last season, and Gary Harris who declared for the NBA Draft after his sophomore season. The Spartans non-conference schedule includes meetings with the nationally ranked Duke Blue Devils and Kansas Jayhawks as well as games against the Marquette Golden Eagles and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Spartans will look to use their early season challenges to prepare for a long, conference schedule with hopes to win a Big Ten Championship. The Spartans have their eyes set on another deep NCAA Tournament run under coach Tom Izzo.

The Michigan Wolverines 2013-14 season came to a close with a loss in the Elite Eight to the Kentucky Wildcats, the eventual National Runners Up. The Wolverines finished with a 28-9 record and a 15-3 record in the Big Ten, good enough for a Big Ten Regular Season Championship. Michigan will have to replace a few key contributors from last season in order to have success in 2014-15. The Wolverines lost Big Ten Player of the Year Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary to the draft after their sophomore seasons, Jordan Morgan to graduation, and Jon Horford, who transferred to Florida. Michigan’s early season schedule will include games against the Oregon Ducks and the nationally ranked Villanova Wildcats as well as a trip to Tucson to take on the Arizona Wildcats, who are ranked in the top 5 teams in the country. Coach John Beilein will have Michigan looking to repeat as Big Ten Champions and anxious for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

College Basketball has arrived and is in full swing. Early season action has already provided some memorable moments and the 2014-15 season is on its way to being an exciting one. The Michigan State and Michigan teams both have early season tests that will serve as preparation for the conference schedule. College basketball fans in the state of Michigan have high expectations as both teams reached the Elite Eight last season, but both teams have the potential to reach and surpass last season’s successes.