2024-25 Big Ten offseason at a glance: Michigan State Spartans

  • 06/07/2024 7:30 am in

Welcome to “Big Ten offseason at a glance,” a team-by-team look at the conference at the start of the summer. We’ll examine roster movement for each Big Ten roster and give an early outlook for each Big Ten program for the 2024-25 season.

Previously: Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Oregon, Washington, Maryland, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Rutgers, Northwestern, Michigan, USC

Today: Michigan State (20-15 overall in 2023-24, 10-10 in Big Ten play)

After sky-high preseason expectations, Michigan State finished just 10-10 in the Big Ten and earned a No. 9 seed in the 2024 NCAA tournament. The Spartans cruised past Mississippi State in the opening round before falling to North Carolina by 16 in the round of 32. Tom Izzo returns to East Lansing as the longest-tenured coach in the conference.

Michigan State roster movement

Players returning with eligibility remaining: Jeremy Fears Jr., Tre Holloman, Jaden Akins, Coen Carr, Xavier Booker, Carson Cooper, Jaxon Kohler, Gehrig Normand

Players departing due to exhausted eligibility: Malik Hall, Tyson Walker

Players who departed via the transfer portal: Mady Sissoko (to California), AJ Hoggard (to Vanderbilt)

Players arriving via the transfer portal: Frankie Fidler (from Nebraska Omaha), Szymon Zapala (from Longwood)

Players arriving via high school: Jase Richardson (247Composite top 30), Kur Teng (247Composite top 55), Jesse McCulloch

It was a relatively quiet offseason in East Lansing, as just two players entered the transfer portal. One of them, Hoggard, played four seasons at Michigan State and will use his COVID season at Vanderbilt. After landing a pair of transfers, the Spartans have filled all 13 scholarships for the 2024-25 season.

What to like about Michigan State

There is plenty of talent on the roster. The guard trio of Fears Jr., Holloman and Akins should be exciting to watch, assuming Fears Jr. is healthy. Holloman played a ton of minutes last season as a sophomore and appears ready to take on a more prominent role.

Akins will be counted on as a go-to scorer for the first time in his career after averaging 10.4 points last season. He’s capable but will need to be more assertive. The Spartans have also added a capable shooter and scorer on the wing in Fidler, who averaged over 20 points per game last season at Nebraska Omaha.

Booker could start at the four because he can step out and will likely be paired with Cooper, a 6-foot-11 big man who figures to get the first shot as the starting five. Booker’s talent is undeniable, but he’ll have to play harder consistently to reach his ceiling.

What to question with Michigan State

The Spartans lost their two best players in Walker and Hall, two experienced guys who knew their roles perfectly.

For Michigan State to reach its team potential, many things must go right. Fears Jr. and Holloman have significant shoes to fill after Walker’s graduation and Hoggard’s departure as a transfer. Akins, who has been regarded as a breakout candidate for years, will finally need to make that leap in his fourth season. Fidler was a prolific scorer at Nebraska Omaha, but will it transfer to the Big Ten? And finally, will Michigan State’s frontcourt options figure it out? The Spartans have been underwhelming in the post for several seasons now.

Michigan State’s outlook for the 2024-25 season

Here is Michigan State’s Big Ten schedule for next season:

Home: Indiana, Nebraska, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, Washington, Wisconsin
Away: Iowa, Maryland, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rutgers, UCLA, USC
Home/Away: Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota

Bart Torvik’s projections have Michigan State at No. 18 for the 2024-25 season, which seems too high for a team with unproven talent at many positions. Joe Lunardi’s early bracketology has the Spartans as a No. 7 seed, which would improve over last season’s disappointing performance.

Izzo will always have the Spartans in the mix and the lower expectations may lead to better results in East Lansing. However, Walker and Hall are massive losses and Michigan State needs a lot of things to go right to avoid having another season on the bubble.

Filed to: