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Top Ranked Spartans Look to Kick Season Off With a Bang in Contest with No. 2 Ranked Kentucky

DES MOINES, IOWA - MARCH 23: Aaron Henry #11, Cassius Winston #5 and Xavier Tillman #23 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrate from the bench against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the second half in the second round game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena on March 23, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Michigan State Spartans kick off their season Tuesday against the Kentucky Wildcats in the State Farm Champions Classic. The game tips off at 9:30 pm ET.

This season marks the first season in which the Spartans are ranked preseason No. 1.

This team has a lot to live up to this season. They have unfinished business. The Spartans made the Final Four last season but fell short of reaching the title game in a loss to Texas Tech. Cassius Winston looks to lead this team back to the Final Four, and hopefully to the national championship game. This road won’t be easy by any means. The Spartans play three top 15 teams within the first month of the season, one of those games being a rematch with the No. 4 ranked Duke Blue Devils.

Who Left:

  1. G Matt McQuaid (Graduation)
  2. F Kenny Goins (Graduation)
  3. F Nick Ward (NBA Draft)

New Faces:

  1. G Rocket Watts (Freshman)
  2. G Steven Izzo (Freshman)
  3. F Malik Hall (Freshman)
  4. F Julius Marble (Freshman)
  5. F Joey Hauser (Transfer from Marquette)

All of these new faces give head coach Tom Izzo new tools in his arsenal to use in his rotation. With Joshua Langford out until at least January after reinjuring his foot, it is unclear who will take his place. Let’s take a look at the projected starting lineup:

Projected Starting Lineup

G Cassius Winston

G Kyle Ahrens/ G Rocket Watts

F Aaron henry

F Xavier Tillman

C Thomas Kithier

Projected Bench Rotation

  1. F Marcus Bingham Jr.
  2. F Gabe Brown
  3. G Foster Loyer
  4. G Rocket Watts
  5. F Malik Hall

To many, this looks like a championship roster. To others, this is another one of Tom Izzo’s rosters that will fall short of expectations. This roster is young but experienced. They do not have an easy season. They face No. 2 Kentucky, No. 4 Duke, No. 7 Maryland (twice) No. 12 Seton Hall, No. 18 Ohio State, and No. 23 Purdue. Mind you, these are preseason rankings and these rankings are subject to change as the season progresses, but as of right now, this is a very tough schedule.

Featured Image- Spartans Celebrate After a Huge Basket

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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