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Monday, January 13, 2020

Michigan and Michigan State fans will love this ‘Way-Too-Early Top 25’

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Well, another season is in the books and despite each team winning 30+ games, both Michigan State and Michigan came up short of their ultimate goal of winning a National Championship.

But looking towards the 2019-2020 season, the Spartans and Wolverines should both have a great shot at making a run at a title.

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In fact, according to Seth Davis of The Athletic, who published his ‘Way-Too-Early’ college basketball poll for the 2019-20 season, Michigan State is his No. 1 team in the nation while Michigan comes in at No. 2.

Here is what Davis had to say about each team.

1. Michigan State

Key departures: Kenny Goins, 6-7 Sr.; Matt McQuaid, 6-5 Sr.

Top returnees: Cassius Winston, 6-1 Sr.; Nick Ward, 6-9 Sr..; Josh Langford, 6-5 Sr..; Xavier Tillman, 6-8 Jr.

Incoming: Rocket Watts, 6-2 Fr.; Malik Hall, 6-7 Fr.

The big question is whether Winston comes back. On the one hand, it’s hard to imagine he could improve his stock any more than he has this season. On the other hand, he is barely projected to be a second-round pick. Ward could leave too, but the Spartans would have plenty of options in the frontcourt if he does. Langford missed the second half of the season because of a foot injury. If he returns healthy and strong, the Spartans will have the best backcourt in the country by far. I also expect that younger players such as Foster Loyer, Gabe Brown, Aaron Henry and Marcus Bingham will take big leaps forward.

2. Michigan

Key departures: Charles Matthews, 6-6 Sr.

Top returnees: Ignas Brazdeikis, 6-7 Soph.; Zavier Simpson, 6-0 Sr.; Jordan Poole, 6-5 Jr.; Jon Teske, 7-1 Sr.

Incoming: Jalen Wilson, 6-8 Fr.

The Wolverines snuck up on everyone this year after losing three starters from their NCAA runner-up team. That won’t be the case next season, provided Brazdeikis and Poole don’t turn pro. There are plenty of rumblings they are itching to give it a try, even though neither is projected to be a first-round pick. Matthews technically has another year of eligibility remaining, but the widespread expectation is that he is leaving. The school honored him on Senior Day. There are a number of really good players who didn’t get a ton of minutes this season, and John Beilein is masterly at player development. I’m also wondering if assistant coach Luke Yaklich, who has remade this program’s culture with his ability to teach defense, will be hired away as a head coach.

Nation, the 2018-2019 season ended less than 12 hours ago but how excited are you for the 2019-2020 campaign? Do you agree with Seth Davis that Michigan State and Michigan will be the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation next season?

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