Partisans of Michigan State, disheartened by their team's performance last week against Northwestern, found reason to cheer with news from the hardwood. In the preseason AP Top 25 basketball rankings, the Spartans were ranked fifth in the nation.
MSU's ranking is easily the highest of any Big Ten school. Joining Tom Izzo's crew was Illinois (#17), Iowa (#20), and Indiana (#22).
Michigan State reached the Final Four last season, the fourth time they have done so since 1999. Of course Illinois came within a basket of an undefeated regular season, and reached the final game of the NCAA Tournament. Iowa and Indiana each face crossroads season--particularly the Hoosiers.
Duke, the team the Spartans upended in the Sweet 16 last year, is atop the polls.