After starting the season with a loss to unranked James Madison, #4 Michigan St looks to rebound with a win over the Duke. A victory on Tuesday night would take them to 2-1 on the season. Michigan State’s projected starting lineup vs. Duke is as follows:
Michigan State Starting 5
- PG– A.J. Hoggard
- SG- Tyson Walker
- SF- Jaden Akins
- PF- Malik Hall
- C- Mady Sissoko
Michigan State is one of the deepest teams in the Big Ten after returning five of its top six scorers from last season’s Sweet 16 squad. The Spartans also brought in a few talented recruits, including five-star power forward Xavier Booker, four-star forward Coen Carr, and four-star guard Jeremy Fears Jr.
Michigan State Position Groups
The Spartans might try different lineups throughout the season but will roll out a three-guard lineup that features A.J. Hoggard, Tyson Walker, and Jaden Akins for now. These three had great success last year, so head coach Tom Izzo will likely stick with them throughout the season unless they are forced to play bigger against particularly tall teams. Meanwhile, the frontcourt will feature Malik Hall and Mady Sissoko, two senior forwards who have spent much time with the Spartans. Any alterations to this starting frontcourt will probably be due to injuries or the rapid progression of freshmen forwards Xavier Booker or Coen Carr, two highly-touted recruits.
Michigan State Point Guards
Starting at point guard for Michigan State is A.J. Hoggard, a 6-foot-4 senior who has spent all four years with the Spartans. Hoggard averaged a team-high six assists per game last season, helping facilitate the offense by creating for others off the dribble. Hoggard is not a one-trick pony either; he can score, too. However, he is more of a volume scorer and will not be relied upon to be uber-efficient from the floor. His vision and passing are what make Hoggard indispensable. Backing up Hoggard will be freshman Jeremy Fears, a lightning-quick point guard who loves to push the ball off of missed shots and utilize his exceptional straight-line speed to find advantages in transition. Fears will be a terrific option off the bench for the Spartans, as they will need to increase tempo occasionally, especially when they are faltering in the half-court.
Michigan State Shooting Guards
Tyson Walker starts as a shooting guard for the Spartans, but at just 6-foot-1 is undersized for the position. Still, Walker is a crafty scorer on the offensive end of the floor, utilizing a number of impressive isolation moves and dribble counters to get to the rim. Walker also has the ability to score on all three levels, evidenced by his impressive field goal percentage (45.9%) and three-point percentage (41.5%) last season. Tre Hollomon, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard, will back up Walker off the bench. Hollomon is also a bit undersized, but the Spartans can hedge minutes in a strategic way to ensure that they aren’t too small at any given time. They certainly have the depth for it.
Michigan State Small Forwards
While he is typically considered more an off-guard, Jaden Akins will start at the small forward position for the Spartans to begin the 2023-24 regular season. Akins is extremely athletic vertically and has the ability to knock down open shots or off-the-dribble looks. Freshman highlight sensation, Coen Carr, will come off the bench for Akins throughout the season. Carr is among the highest-flying forwards in college basketball this year and will undoubtedly put together a highlight reel of slam dunks.
Michigan State Power Forwards
Malik Hall, the 6-foot-8 fifth-year senior forward, will be deployed at the power forward position for Michigan State. Hall is at full health entering the 2023-24 regular season after undergoing foot surgery earlier in the year, which gives Michigan State another talented three-level scorer to add to its frontcourt. The impressive five-star recruit, Xavier Booker, will see some minutes at power forward and, if he improves exponentially, could garner some starts by the end of the season, too.
Michigan State Centers
Mady Sissoko has seemingly beaten out Carson Cooper for the starting center position, at least for now. At 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, Sissoko has the body, strength, and coordination to be a serviceable center in the Big Ten, one of the most physical conferences in the nation. While he won’t contribute much offensively (5.1 points per game last season), Sissoko will do everything that is asked of him by head coach Tom Izzo, who values that trait in a player a lot. In the case of foul trouble or injury, Cooper has proven to be a solid option due to his size and length. Expect these two to split a lot of minutes throughout the year.
Michigan State Full Roster
|G||Jeremy Fears Jr.|
Michigan State Starting Five FAQ
- Who Is Michigan State’s Head Coach?
- Who Is Michigan State’s Starting Point Guard?
- Who Is Michigan State’s Best Player?
Who Is Michigan State’s Head Coach?
Michigan State’s head coach is Tom Izzo. Izzo has been to 25 consecutive NCAA Tournaments with the Spartans, making eight Final Fours in that stretch; he also won a National Championship in 2000.
Who Is Michigan State’s Starting Point Guard?
Michigan State’s starting point guard is A.J. Hoggard, a 6-foot-4 senior guard who just averaged close to 13 points, six assists, and four rebounds per game last season. Hoggard will be one of the keys to success for the Spartans during the 2023-24 season.
Who Is Michigan State’s Best Player?
Michigan State’s best player will probably be 6-foot-1 senior guard Tyson Walker, who averaged 15 points per game on 46% shooting from the field and 42% from behind the arc during the 2022-23 regular season. Walker should be the leading scorer once again for the Spartans this year.