We covered the preseason Big Ten poll results already.
Mike Rothstein of AnnArbor.com did an independent survey of 11 beat writers with more comprehensive results. MSU picked up 10 off 11 first place votes in that version, with Ohio State garnering the 11th vote. Illinois, Purdue, and Wisconsin rounded out the the top five. Interesting to see how much respect Draymond Green has among the writers already; he was tied for the 5th spot on the first all-conference team. Demetri McCamey was one vote behind Lucas for preseason player of the year. As noted by Con-T, Jon Leuer would also be a pretty good pick, with Trevon Hughes' high usage rate now out of the picture.
Tom Izzo's opening statement and responses to a few questions can be found here. First couple question were on the July recruiting period. Second question was on depth. Not surprisingly, he thinks it matters:
Well, I think depth and versatility have been the two keys to 90 percent of the teams I've coached that have gone to the Final Fours.
I think if you have depth, you overcome injuries. Last year was almost we got lucky. There's no question that when Lucas went down and then Kansas gets upset. Northern Iowa is very good, but Kansas got upset.
Sometimes you have to be a little lucky in that NCAA Tournament to make a run, too. But our depth did help us, and I think we've got more depth this year, and I think that's going to be a plus.
And I think we have more versatility where we can play big, play small. When you get in the NCAA Tournament, it's like anything in any sport. Some people match up different with different people.
And when you have the most flexibility to match up with anybody you can run into, it reminds me of the year we won it. We played Wisconsin to a 54 49 game and two days later it was a 90 to 70 some game against Florida.
And I think that's one of the things that has helped our team. We've had depth and we've had versatility. And, yet, we make a concerted effort that even if we don't have the players to add depth, we play them and sometimes lose some games early, but it benefits us in the end.
Chalk one up for coaching emphasis agreeing with statistical analysis. Regarding the one guy whose development will be the biggest key to establishing a deep rotation (after the jump):
That's a good question, because when we recruited Keith [Appling] we thought he would definitely be a big part of that role of depth. And then all of a sudden we lose Chris Allen this summer and he had to step up another notch, and then with Kalin's injury and then Korie had the meniscus tear about a month ago, I mean, his role has escalated, I think, and I think he's a tough enough kid to handle it.
And Adreian Payne is another one. We did lose Russell Byrd probably for the year with a stress fracture that did not heal and had to get re-operated on.
So our depth at the guard position, which has normally been our strength, or at the wing position is lacking a little bit. Keith will be a very important part to make sure that we have enough at position in the 1, 2, 3, where we rotate guys pretty frequently.
Dave Mayo has a little more. Izzo on MSU's #2 ranking in the newly-released AP poll:
"I don't think there's anybody, except maybe Duke, that's a notch above," Izzo said. "And they're not a notch above like Carolina was. They're probably not even a notch above like Kansas was.
"What we have is probably 10 or 15 teams that all have a chance. We're one of those teams, we're picked high, and I say good. Good. I'm glad."
Not a not of new information (if any), but that's the nature of these things. I haven't seen anything of a non-Twitter variety in terms of player quotes--Draymond Green, Kalin Lucas, and Durrell Summers were there (albeit very briefly according to the Mayo piece). Could be more media coverage available in the morning.
P.S. Kudos to Travis Miller for this.