Michigan State's 'old' advantage
Appling, Payne key to Spartans getting back to the Final Four
We here at Insider recently went to some lengths to analyze the "freshman impact" that Division I's top recruits will have this coming season. Yet in all those thousands of words on national title contenders, there was one team we didn't discuss at all: Michigan State. And with good reason.
In 2013-14, the Spartans will make their impact felt in a decidedly different fashion, as "old" guys such as sophomore Gary Harris feature prominently for Tom Izzo's team.
If you've been reading along with me for a while, you know that I like to measure a team's experience in terms of the percentage of "possession minutes" that its roster returns from the previous season. This percentage measures not only how much playing time a group of veterans recorded last season, it also speaks to how much of a load those returnees carried on offense. So believe me when I say that Michigan State bringing back no less than 86 percent of the possession minutes from a team that was a 2013 NCAA tournament No. 3 seed testifies to an abundance of both experience and ability.
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As power conference teams are eliminated from the NCAA tournament, ESPN's team of recruiting experts will look at who's coming back, and who's coming in.