Meet the favorites to win the 2011 NCAA Championship

Michigan State v Maryland

Yes, this is an Indiana blog. But since it’s mid-April and a slow time of year for news, I felt this information was worth passing along. Tom Izzo’s chances of going to a seventh Final Four in 13 years just got better today. Juniors Durrell Summers and Kalin Lucas will return next season:

“I think my guys were good enough to go and could’ve put their names in like everybody else,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo told the AP. “Even though I offered to do some checking for them, they had their mind made up to come back. I think it’s neat that they made educated, mature decisions.”

I must hand it to Izzo. He’s built a top five program without loading up on McDonald’s All-Americans each year. In fact, unless I’m missing someone, the Spartans haven’t had a player in the McDonald’s game since Brandon Cotton and Shannon Brown in 2003. Impressive.

  • ronb

    Coach Crean is an Izzo trained coach who wants to build a program the right way at IU. He is following in the foot steps of his mentor to get us to the final 4 and win National Championships.
    Let's hope he becomes a as good as Izzo or better. Something like the Coach Knight and Coach K
    relationship to winning.

  • http://www.theonlycolors.com LVS @ The Only Colors

    Correct about no McDonald's All-Americans since Brown and Cotton. We'll have one coming in this fall, though — Keith Appling.

  • BaseballBuc

    So hard not to love and respect what Izzo has done with MSU. I personally love watching Summers play, he is a great player. MSU has definitely become the class of the league.

  • aceman07

    Richardson wasn't a McD's All-American? Wow, hard to believe.

  • hoosierboy

    Lets not fool ourselves. They may not have gotten McDonald's All Americans but they are getting elite level talent year in and year out. Izzo has done a wonderful job at finding studs that will peak after a couple years of college and are actually in it for the program. He has been able to consistently recruit classes much like Purdue's big 3 class with Moore, Johnson, and Hummel. Guys that will be around more than one year. The only difference is that Purdue has only had one class like this and Izzo has had many back to back classes like this. Izzo really impresses me with his constant focus on mental toughness. It is so refreshing to see a guy do things the right way and refuse to coddle these so called superstars. We have a long way to go to be in as good of shape as MSU is in but I think we can get their with Crean!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”

  • marcusgresham

    He's also done pretty well with “projects” for big guys. Idong Ibok, Goran Suton, etc. No, they didn't always leave East Lansing as lottery picks, but they contributed to a lot of victories.

  • firstinlineforsugarhigh

    Ummm. They were embarassed by McDonald all americans from UNC 2 years ago, and pre season no. 1, 2, or 3 last season. I think it's time to drop the hype with Izzo's Michigan State. I think the top five college basketball program are still UNC, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and UCLA.

  • http://www.prinsportsblog.com BGleas

    Izzo has done an amazing job at MSU, he's definitely one of the top coaches in the country. At the same time, let's not make it out like Summers and Lucas (especially considering the injury) are lottery picks that have spurned the NBA for the love of their university and to bring a title to MSU. They're probably high second round picks at best and would have been back anyways.

    As far as building a program goes, I think unless your UNC and can bring in 3-4 5* a year with some staying 3-4 years, then I think the model for staying in the conversation every year is to bring in a steady stream of 4* star players every year. Every class needs to have 2-4 4* players IMO, then you sprinkle in a few 5* and a few 3* players.

    The highly ranked 4* guys are the guys that have the best chance to develop into NBA caliber players, yet also stay multiple seasons. To me, that's the key and I think this is what Izzo has really accomplished at MSU. I think Crean's '09 class is also a perfect example, if he could consistently land classes like that, then add in some 5*'s and Hulls and Capo type players a couple years, then we'll be well on our way.

  • Hardwood Wizard

    BGleas, I am not sure what you have been reading but Summers is a first round talent. He is coming back next year to solidify himself as a first round lock. This guy has everything NBA scouts look for in a body, athleticism, and shooting touch.

    The fact that the NBA talent pool is weak this year, means Summers is going back to improve and take MSU to higher levels. He wants to be the guy and was in the tournament for MSU.

  • http://www.theonlycolors.com KJ @ theonlycolors

    Richardson was a McDonald's All-American. He came before Brown/Cotton. Complete list is here:

    http://statsheet.com/mcb/teams/michigan-state/r

  • Plucker

    I thought Delvon Roe was going to be named to the Burger Team had he not shredded his knee and missed his senior year of HS? I know he was a 5* on rivals and pretty much a consensus top 30 recruit. Izzo has had a number of consensus Top 50 recruits just outside of the AA contention, like Lucas, Summers, Ager, Anderson, etc.

    Adreian Payne is another 5* recruit who probably – check that, assuredly – would have been a Burger member if he had picked Kentucky, Carolina, or any # of Big Least teams that get hyped to no end.

  • marcusgresham

    Neither Carolina nor UCLA set the world on fire this season, either. Kentucky is a year removed from the NIT. Duke has been less successful than usual for the past few years, as well, with the exception of this year's championship.

  • http://www.prinsportsblog.com BGleas

    There are a ton of sites to referrence, but two of the more widely trafficked are nbadraft.net and draftexpress. Neither has Lucas or Summers as a first round pick even next season. I'm not saying Summers won't make it, but in the NBA 6'4″ shooting guards are a dime a dozen. This is not a case of two guys passing up sure fire millions to bring a title to MSU.

  • firstinlineforsugarhigh

    I thought it was clear that was not speaking of just last season's performances in regards to building or already having a top five basketball program and the hype towards Michigan State. Sorry for my error in not making that clear. Speaking of last season with Robbie Hummel and I can't stand Purdue, but in my opinion they were the most talented and best coached team in the Big Ten last year only,and not the Izzo's Michigan State. Now you can come back and tell me that “sure they were, and they were also in the Final Four last year weren't they, and around and around we go. So thank you for your response and your most excellent opinion. I do like the idea of Knight, Coach K in relationship to Izzo, and Coach Crean. It would be just fine with me if Crean earns four (4) ****, more national championships. But realistically, I don't really think nor expect that under his tenor at Duke. Oopps, a fly just flew into my oinment, I meant INDIANS, indania, INDIANA.. Good lord.

  • HoosierNshaker

    I like coach Izzo and the way he has continued to develop the Michigan St. into a perennial title contender. Hopefully, Crean has learned a lesson or two from him.

    But doesn't Izzo also idolize Bob Knight himself? Coach K is an obvious prodigy…he would be nowhere without “The General”

    Maybe if Creany can't get the job done eventually it will be time to make K an offer he can't refuse?

  • marcusgresham

    No, I was totally disagreeing with you, I was just kind of saying that everyone has a down year here and there.
    That should be encouraging to Indiana fans, too–down, but not necessarily out.

  • firstinlineforsugarhigh

    Say what?

  • marcusgresham

    Oops. missed the “n't” there. I meant to say I WASN'T totally disagreeing with you. Maybe when I learn to type you'll be able to follow me better.

  • firstinlineforsugarhigh

    K, no problem.

  • jaywiz

    I just switched from the Teague article where everyone was talking about calipari, to this article about Tom Izzo. May I say that these are two coaches that are polar opposites in terms of strategy and ethics, and for that, I applaud you Mr. Izzo. You are indeed a class act and we all wish there would be more coaches like yourself.

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