The nets were hardly cut down by the Stanford Cardinal women’s basketball team before ESPN ran its “Way-Too-Early Top 25” rankings for the 2021-22 college women’s basketball season. The Michigan State Spartans are included among those ranked in the early look ahead.
Following the team’s eighth-place finish in the Big Ten last season on an 8-7 conference record, along with a 15-9 overall record, the Spartans are ranked No. 21. MSU is one of six Big Ten teams to make the rankings.
ESPN offered the following comments on Michigan State’s ranking, including an error regarding Nia Clouden’s class standing (she just finished her junior season):
Sophomore guard Nia Clouden (18.7 PPG) will appear on some preseason All-American teams next year. Freshman guard Alyza Winston (11.1 PPG) has all-Big Ten potential. The Spartans’ backcourt will be one of the best in the conference and gives coach Suzy Merchant a solid foundation of what should be a veteran team.
Fellow Big Ten programs ranked include:
- No. 5 Maryland Terrapins
- No. 7 Indiana Hoosiers
- No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes
- No. 11 Michigan Wolverines
- No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes
Also in the rankings is the No. 12 Iowa State Cyclones, who knocked the Spartans out of the NCAA Tournament in a closely fought four-point first round loss, before falling by two points to the Texas A&M Aggies in the second round.