We continue our series of NCAA college basketball team previews. In this installment, we take a brief look at the Michigan State Spartans.
<p>The Michigan State Spartans were eliminated in last season’s “Sweet Sixteen” by the <a target="_blank" title="NCAA Basketball Picks: Duke Blue Devils NCAA Futures" href="/ncaa-basketball/free-picks/ncaa-basketball-picks-duke-blue-devils-ncaa-futures-a-31780/">Duke Blue Devils</a>, but are considered top contenders by sports odds makers for the 2013-2014 campaign. Tom Izzo’s squad returns its leading scorer Keith Appling, along with top shooter and rebounder Adreian Payne.</p> <p><span style="font-size:1em;">Appling finished last year notching 13.4 PPG, while he and his mates held foes to a stingy 57.7 PPG over their final nine contests. Payne logged a double-double in six of his last 11 matchups, while adding a combined 17 blocks over that stretch.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em;">Michigan State’s Gary Harris is also back after a stellar first year, hitting 41.1 percent beyond the arc en route to 12.9 PPG. The Indiana native was named the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year, while exploring NBA Draft possibilities but returned to Izzo’s crew for at least one more season.</span></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><span style="font-size:1em;"><a target="_blank" title="NCAA Basketball Picks: 2013-14 NCAAB Betting Strategies" href="/ncaa-basketball/free-picks/ncaa-basketball-picks-2013-14-ncaab-betting-strategies-a-32514/">Are you prepared for the upcoming NCAA basketball season</a><span>?</span><br /></span></p> <p><b style="font-size:1em;">Spartans add to frontcourt</b></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em;"><img style="font-size:1em;" src="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks-pictures/GavingSchillingMichiganStNCAAB_August2013_200.jpg" class="imgSelectedPicture article-image" alt="Image preview" id="ctl00_head_ArticleAdministrator_picturePreview_imgSelectedPicture" />Michigan State has power forward Gavin Schilling joining its roster, along with frontcourt mate Alvin Ellis. Schilling and Ellis both hail from Chicago, signing with the Spartans after playing with De La Salle Institute.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em;">Spartans forward Kenny Kaminski missed last season’s actson with a shoulder injury, returning this year as a redshirt freshman. The Ohio native should add his share of depth here, coming in for last year’s campaign with some high marks from scouts.</span></p> <p><b style="font-size:1em;">Sports books respecting Izzo’s squad</b></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em;"><a href="/betting-odds/ncaa-basketball/" title="For the latest free NCAA basketball odds, visit SBRForum.com!" target="_blank">NCAA odds</a> have priced Michigan State at 13/1 to win this season’s “Big Dance,” grouping the Spartans among its leading five contenders. Duke and Louisville also <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Bet and win on college basketball at WilliamHill.com!" href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=754&book=willhillinarticle">8/1 at William Hill</a>, with the trio of schools behind the sports betting shop’s top two choices, Kentucky (3/1) and Kansas (5/1).</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em;">Michigan State begins its year with November’s ‘cupcake’ clash facing the McNeese State Cowboys, while squaring off in a key affair against Kentucky in Chicago’s “Champions Classic.” The Spartans then host the Portland Pilots as part of the “Coaches vs Cancer Classic,” followed by December’s action featuring a date against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the “Big Ten/ACC Challenge.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em;">Big Ten Conference play will have pairs of matchups for Michigan State against top foes Ohio State, Michigan, and Indiana. Izzo’s squad split its regular season duels with Ohio State and Michigan last year, while being swept by Indiana.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em;">The six pack of battles saw the Spartans cash at betting windows with a 4-2 ATS mark, while logging a 61-58 defeat as 1.5-point dogs to Ohio State during March’s Big Ten Tournament.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em;">For your <a href="/ncaa-basketball/" title="For the latest in college basketball odds, picks and predictions, visit SBRForum.com!" target="_blank">NCAA picks</a>, look for the Spartans to again be part of the Big Ten’s top squads, jockeying for postseason seeding with Ohio State down this year’s stretch. Futures ticket prices have Michigan State a bit overvalued as <a href="/" title="For free sports picks, odds and predictions, visit SBRForum.com!" target="_blank">sports picks</a> given the road ahead, but look to back Harris and Co. in early-season duels as they pile on points for the polls.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em;"><em><span>Share your thoughts on NCAA Basketball! <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/forum/ncaa-basketball-handicapping/" title="Join the discussion at SBRForum's NCAA basketball message boards!" target="_blank">Sound off on our forum</a>!</span></em><br /></span></p>