In the Champions Classic Tournament for 2012, Kansas hosts Big 10 basketball power Michigan State on Nov. 13th. Here is a look at the Spartans. Michigan State finished the season last year at 29-8, bowing out of the NCAA tournament after losing to Louisville in the Sweet 16. Michigan State returns some key players though lost do-everything forward Draymond Green.
Keith Appling returns as the leading scorer for Michigan State. The junior guard averaged 11 points, four assists and three rebounds per game in 2011. Forward/center Adreian Payne appeared in 36 of the team’s 37 games last season. Payne averaged seven points and four rebounds per game as a sophomore. Payne should get more minutes this year without Green on the team.
Two more key returning players for head coach Tom Izzo include Brendan Dawson and Derrick Nix. Both guys have the potential to score points very easily, and will be counted upon to score this season. Dawson averaged eight points and five rebounds, while Nix scored eight and brought down four rebounds per game last year.
Michigan State figures to go 11-deep this season as the group of guys gain playing experience and grow together as an unit. Expect a great battle with Kansas, one that could develop into an early season classic.
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