SI.com’s Luke Winn has a breakdown of the winners and losers from offseason developments, with NBA early-entry decisions having been finalized yesterday. The biggest winner, of course, is North Carolina, which returns all three guys who had been looking at the NBA draft plus player of the year Tyler Hansborough (who didn’t even explore the draft). This means their starting lineup from this season’s Final Four team remains fully intact.
With three McDonald’s All-Americans arriving to supplement the returning players, UNC Basketball Update ponders whether this could be the most talented college basketball team ever. The Tar Heel Fan Blog, meanwhile, is feeling confident enough to declare UNC “the prohibitive favorite” to win the national title and drop a Tombstone quote in the process.
So our Spartans’ work will definitely be cut out for them when they face the Tarheels at Ford Field in December.
Regarding other teams on MSU’s upcoming nonconference schedule who had players looking at the NBA:
- Texas: A.J. Abrams is staying at Texas. D.J. Augustine had previously hired an agent, and will be the Longhorns’ only departing starter.
- Kansas: Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush, and Darrell Arthur all declared early for the draft. Rock Chalk Talk thinks there’s enough talent left, though, for the Jayhawks to be an Elite Eight team next year.
- Among potential Old Spice Classic opponents, Gonzaga gets back point guard Jeremy Pargo and Tennessee received a commitment from a top shooting guard recruit (Scotty Hopson). In the loser column, Maryland released two top recruiting commitments. (See the Winn piece.)
All in all, the nonconference slate looks to be as tough as any that MSU has ever played.