Spartans preseason No. 1 basketball team
There isn’t much Michigan State has yet to accomplish under Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo, from Big Ten titles and Final Four trips to winning a national championship.
The Spartans can now add another milestone to the list: They are No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 men’s college basketball preseason poll for the first time in program history.
The Spartans were the overwhelming choice with their veteran returnees led by star Cassius Winston. They topped 60 of 65 ballots in voting results released Monday, easily outdistancing No. 2 Kentucky and No. 3 Kansas as the only other teams to receive first-place votes.
Duke was fourth, followed by Louisville, Florida, Maryland, Gonzaga, North Carolina and Villanova to round out the top 10.
From the Big 10, Maryland is No. 7, Ohio State No. 18 and Purdue No. 23 as Illinois and Michigan also received votes.
Michigan State had been ranked No. 1 for 12 weeks in the AP poll before Monday. But none had come in the preseason poll, with the Spartans starting at No. 2 four times in the past decade.
“It’s almost bizarre to me because I would’ve thought Magic’s team was No. 1,” Izzo said in an interview with the AP.
Nope, the Magic Johnson-led bunch that beat Larry Bird and Indiana State in the 1979 NCAA title game started at No. 7.
The Spartans won 32 games last year and reached Izzo’s eighth Final Four before falling to Texas Tech.