November 21, 2012 in Division I
The annual (and excellent) Basketball Prospectus College Basketball Prospectus is now available to purchase either as an online PDF or paperback, and as part of the promotion of the book, Deadspin ran excerpts from 100 of their college basketball previews, including three in-state teams.
On Michigan State:
5. Michigan St.
Predicted Pythagorean winning percentage: .926
Tom Izzo himself has called his scheduling “insane,” and this season’s opening slate might top them all. The Spartans opened against Connecticut on an air base in Germany, then they faced Kansas in Atlanta just four days later. I expect the 2018 Spartans will open the season against the Lithuanian National Team in a game played on an oil tanker floating in the Arctic Sea.
Predicted Pythagorean winning percentage: .834
After seriously considering a jump to the NBA, Trey Burke is back for his sophomore campaign. He has all the statistical excellence you look for in a point guard, but an underrated part of his game is his patience and control. When you watch Michigan play, keep an eye on how Burke uses ball screens. It’s a bit of a lost art, but Burke is a master at positioning his body and being patient enough for the screener to arrive. It’s a crucial part of the Michigan offense.
Predicted Pythagorean winning percentage: .712
Detroit is one of the few Horizon League teams that looks to score in transition. They should. The Titans’ offense last season was fantastic in transition, but ordinary in the half-court. With junior point guard Ray McCallum Jr., it makes sense to run.