Michigan State Basketball: 5 Early Predictions For The 2014-15 Season

By Steve Ungrey

Michigan State Basketball: 5 Early Predictions For 2014-15 Season

Breslin Center basketball
Mike Carter -- USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State endured some heavy losses to graduation and other factors, but the Spartans will likely be among the stronger teams in the country when basketball season gets underway in November. Here are a few things to watch for the Spartans.

5. The Spartans will struggle at center

Adreian Payne
Robert Deutsch -- USA TODAY Sports

5. The Spartans will struggle at center

Adreian Payne
Robert Deutsch -- USA TODAY Sports

The loss of Adreian Payne and his 16.4 PPG means coach Tom Izzo will have to find a big man to score inside. Payne’s presence has been a big reason why the Spartans have done so well in the NCAA tournament over the past few seasons.

4. Keith Appling will be missed

Keith Appling
Robert Deutsch -- USA TODAY Sports

4. Keith Appling will be missed

Keith Appling
Robert Deutsch -- USA TODAY Sports

Not only did Appling score (11.2 PPG), he also dished out the ball quite well (4.5 APG). The Spartans will need someone to pick up the slack where Appling left off.

3. Lourawls Nairn will get a look

Lourawls Nairn
Geoff Burke -- USA TODAY Sports

3. Lourawls Nairn will get a look

Lourawls Nairn
Geoff Burke -- USA TODAY Sports

Billed as the fastest point guard in the country in some circles, Nairn will get a chance to prove himself right away thanks to some players’ departures. Ranked high on many recruiting lists, Nairn may be MSU’s best bet for a first-year player threat.

2. There will be another tough non-conference schedule

Matt Costello
Robert Deutsch -- USA TODAY Sports

2. There will be another tough non-conference schedule

Matt Costello
Robert Deutsch -- USA TODAY Sports

The official 2014-15 schedule has not been finalized, but the Spartans won’t back away from competition. They never have. Some years, the Spartans have played a ridiculously hard schedule, but there is no doubt it gets the team ready for battle.

1. The Spartans will still finish strong

Tom Izzo
Robert Deutsch -- USA TODAY Sports

1. The Spartans will still finish strong

Tom Izzo
Robert Deutsch -- USA TODAY Sports

Even with these departures, coach Tom Izzo always makes sure his Spartans stay strong in the conference title hunt. The odds are quite good that MSU will have another solid season with an upper Big Ten finish and a trip deep into the postseason.

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