Detroit News writers Bob Wojnowski, Matt Charboneau and James Hawkins break down the national championship game.


Michigan State and Michigan are Nos. 11 and 12, respectively, in ESPN’s “Way-Too-Early” college basketball rankings for the 2018-19 season.

The top three teams are Kansas at No. 1, Duke at No. 2 and national champion Villanova at No. 3.

Purdue, at No. 24, is the only other Big Ten team in ESPN’s Top 25.

The Spartans finished 30-5 after losing to Syracuse in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They won the Big Ten regular-season title and return Cassius Winston, Joshua Langford, Xavier Tillman and, possibly, Nick Ward.

“If Nick Ward returns, the Spartans will again possess the most significant big man in the Big Ten and Cassius Winston to lead the squad,” ESPN’s Myron Medcalf says. “You can't replace Jaren Jackson Jr. and Miles Bridges. They're unique talents. Marcus Bingham will work with Ward, Xavier Tillman and Kenny Goins to form a strong frontcourt and back a Big Ten contender.”

Michigan fell to Villanova in the national championship game and finished 33-8 and with the most wins in program history.

John Beilein will bring back Zavier Simpson, Isaiah Livers and Jordan Poole, while Moritz Wagner and Charles Matthews have to decide to return to Ann Arbor or go pro.

Medcalf: “Beilein won with an elite defense this season, and if he can maintain those high marks, his team should start the season as Big Ten contender again.”

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