|Women’s (AP)||Men’s (AP)|
|2 Notre Dame||T-3 Oklahoma|
|4 Baylor||6 Michigan State|
|6 Maryland||10 Maryland|
|8 Texas||11 Louisville|
|10 Louisville||12 Miami (Fla.)|
|11 Texas A&M||16 Kentucky|
|15 Kentucky||19 Baylor|
|17 Miami (Fla.)||21 Texas A&M|
|20 Michigan State||23 Notre Dame|
|23 Oklahoma||25 Texas|
A lot of schools in the Top 25 are just happy to be there, the elite programs are not. The best programs are figuring out how to stay in the Top 25 for the rest of the year and for years to come.
While there is no exact way to guarantee success season after season, there is one thing that helps – recruiting.
The future is bright…
|Women’s (ESPN HoopGurlz)||Men’s (247Sports)||Men’s (ESPN Recruiting Nation)||Men’s (Scout.com)|
|3 Texas||3 Michigan State||3 Michigan State||3 Michigan State|
|4 Florida State||5 Connecticut||7 Connecticut||6 Connecticut|
|12 Michigan State||9 North Carolina||8 Florida State||7 North Carolina|
|13 North Carolina||10 Florida State||9 North Carolina||10 Texas|
|14 Connecticut||11 Texas||15 Texas||11 Florida State|
Texas and Michigan State are the only two schools to have both men’s and women’s programs currently ranked in the AP Top 25 and have both teams bringing in Top 20 recruiting classes.
As mentioned earlier, recruiting has become a large part of whether or not a program can remain relevant for consecutive seasons. But there’s only so many five-star players for the over 300 Division 1 basketball programs.
Teams have to be able to find the “diamond in the rough”. The “needle in the haystack”. Because stars and rankings only mean so much.
@ChiLottery yeah I was 127 out of 150 when I left high school and LeVeon bell was a 2 star. That never matters!!!
— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) February 3, 2016
Today is bright too…
As the end of February approaches, the late-season Wooden Award Player of the Year Top 20 lists have been released and MSU can also be included in this conversation. Michigan State is one of three schools with award finalists on both the men’s and women’s side.
|Azurá Stevens, Duke||Grayson Allen, Duke|
|Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland
Brionna Jones, Maryland
|Melo Trimble, Maryland|
|Aerial Powers, Michigan State||Denzel Valentine, Michigan State|
**Michigan State is the only school to have both men’s and women’s programs currently ranked in the AP Top 25, have both teams bringing in Top 20 recruiting classes and have Wooden Award late-season finalists on both teams.**
Every great team has a great player. The 1996 Chicago Bulls had Michael Jordan. The 1992 Duke Blue Devils had Christian Laettner. The 2012 Baylor Bears had Brittney Griner.
Both MSU men’s and women’s basketball have star players. Stars that can help a team make a run in March.
Aerial Powers, Redshirt Junior
High School: Detroit Country Day, Detroit, MI
|Grade||(92) 4 stars|
|MSU STATS||Freshman||Sophomore||Junior (so far)|
|Minutes per game||26.4||35.5||31.7|
Denzel Valentine, Senior
High School: Lansing Sexton, Lansing, MI
Position: Small Forward
|Grade||(93) 4 stars||(92) 4 stars||3 stars|
|MSU STATS||Freshman||Sophomore||Junior||Senior (so far)|
|Minutes per game||20.8||29.4||33.2||32.9|
What to watch now:
Aerial Powers, fresh off of numerous “Player of the Week” awards, will have to continue her recent pace if she wants a shot at the Wooden Award. On the men’s side, Denzel Valentine, who is having his best season yet at MSU, seems to be one of two main candidates, battling Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield.
It is a special time at MSU.
The women’s team is coming off of an injury-riddled 2014-2015 season and are currently 3rd in the Big Ten and 20th in the country. They are a very dangerous team that can win a 100-point shootout or a defensive battle. And the incoming class with do nothing but help them next year.
The men’s team is looking to prove that March is, in fact, the month of Izzo. They are arguably one of the best teams in the country right now, coming off a 19-point win away from home over a tournament bubble team – Ohio State. Valentine, Forbes, Costello, and Wollenman will be missed next year, but the 2016 recruiting class will even make Izzo smile.
Whether you are a fan of Michigan State or not, the Spartans’ basketball program has the potential to be the benchmark for success in college basketball.