The Michigan State Spartans did not spend a long time in the AP Top-25 rankings once conference play arrived in the 2020-2021 season, but MSU is already getting early praise for the 2021-2022 season. USA TODAY’s Way-Too-Early poll pegs the Spartans at No. 13 in its list of the 25 best teams for next season.
If the ranking actually proves accurate for the preseason poll next fall, it would be Michigan State’s lowest preseason AP ranking since being ranked No. 13 prior to the start of the 2015-16 season. MSU has been ranked in the preseason poll in all but five seasons under head coach Tom Izzo, the last coming at the start of the 2011-12 season. The lowest preseason ranking was No. 18 prior to the 2014-15 season. Of the 21 times Coach Izzo’s squad has been ranked in the preseason, the team was in double-digits just eight times.
As for the Way-Too-Early ranking by USA TODAY, long before an official AP Preseason poll, the publication offered the following on tabbing next year’s Spartans as No. 13:
Northeastern transfer Tyson Walker, one of the best mid-major guards in the country, chose the Spartans over Kansas and Maryland. He averaged 18.8 points and 4.8 assists and was the CAA defensive player of the year. He’ll mesh with a returning roster of Joey Hauser and potentially leading scorer Aaron Henry if he holds off on the NBA. Five-star freshman Max Christie will add immediate scoring.
Michigan State is one of five Big Ten teams tabbed in the rankings, and the lowest of all five. Illinois did garner mention in the “Close calls” section, but failed to make it into the top-25. As for the rest of the Big Ten, in-state rival Michigan leads the pack, followed by Ohio State, Purdue, and Maryland. As for the full rankings, catch them below.
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Florida State
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
- Wichita State
- Virginia Tech
- Honorable Mentions: Saint Bonaventure, Southern California, UConn, Arkansas, and Illinois
The USA Today Way-Too-Early list isn’t the only one. Some of the other outlets ranking Michigan State include:
- No. 16 by Andy Katz
- No. 18 by Stadium
- No. 18 by Sports Illustrated
- No. 18 by CBS
- No. 22 by ESPN
- “Teams to Watch” by 247Sports
This article was updated on April 9 at 2:45 p.m. EDT to reflect other outlets rankings