Just hours after the University of Virginia won its first men’s NCAA national championship in basketball, ESPN already had its power rankings for the 2019-2020 season released. Unsurprisingly, both Michigan and Michigan State were placed high on the list. Most fans (especially those in the state of Michigan) and analysts would agree that both schools have a very good shot at making it to the tournament next year, but should they be placed as high as they are?
The University of Michigan came in at seventh on ESPN’s list, and the school’s placement seems apt for what is returning. One aspect of the list that hinders how accurate it can be is athletes who haven’t declared for the draft yet. Therefore, ESPN had to assume before the NBA draft whether athletes will depart or stay at their schools.
For the most part, barring any unforeseen draft declarations, most of Michigan’s roster will return for the upcoming season. This is good news, considering key pieces to the roster such as Poole, Livers, Simpson, Brazdeikis and Teske will be able to continue off of the solid season each player had. Most importantly, John Beilein will continue to be the head coach for Michigan, bringing vast amounts of experience and should continue to make Michigan a top defensive team with his coaching and schemes. If anything, the lack of high-quality recruits to Michigan this year was the only reason to think the school would be any worse than last year, where they made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament before losing to Texas Tech.
Looking at Michigan State’s placement at number one on the power rankings, it seems a bit to high and lofty for the school program. While the school should keep players Winston, Ward, and Langford, seniors McQuaid and Goins will not be on the roster for next year. While MSU’s season looks promising next year, it felt more apt to rank them at either three or four.
Along with Michigan, MSU failed to net any large name or insanely talented players during the signing season for NCAA basketball. However, Winston as the floor general for running MSU’s offense already ensures a successful season up until the NCAA tournament. Winston’s ability to drive, shoot the three pointer, and run the offense with his passing skills will ensure that coach Tom Izzo can run the team’s offense the way he sees best.
Combine that with the fact that freshman Henry and sophomore Tillman looked very good during the tournament this year, and MSU has a very strong returning roster under an experienced and successful coach in Tom Izzo. MSU fell short of a championship appearance this year in the tournament when they lost to Texas Tech during the Final Four.
Whether Michigan or Michigan State fans agree where their teams placed in ESPN’s way too early rankings for the upcoming NCAA basketball season, both should look forward to having success and a chance at a championship run next year in the tournament. For anyone interested, ESPN’s ranking will be linked here.