MSU No. 15, UM No. 17 in Katz's 'Power 36' hoops rankings
Michigan and Michigan State find themselves in similar situations following the 2017-18 men's basketball season.
Each saw stars leave early for the NBA. Each saw other starters test those same waters, only to return. Both welcome top-20 recruiting classes.
Their coaches even have seen their names emerge as NBA head-coaching candidates — Michigan State's Tom Izzo as a coach in which the Orlando Magic reportedly have expressed interest, and Michigan's John Beilein interviewing with the Detroit Pistons.
Both won Big Ten titles last season — Michigan State winning in the regular season, and Michigan winning its second straight conference tournament title, with the Wolverines racing all the way to the national title game.
And both, Andy Katz writes, can win the Big Ten again.
Katz, a former ESPN college basketball reporter who now writes for NCAA.com, has Michigan State No. 15 and Michigan No. 17 in his "Power 36" rankings following the NBA early entry deadline, posted Monday.
Michigan State and Michigan are sandwiched around Nebraska — offering three teams Katz writes "have the potential to win the Big Ten."
Michigan State is the highest-rated Big Ten team in Katz's rankings.
"The Spartans did get Nick Ward back and still have Cassius Winston and Josh Langford. But the loss of go-to scorer and late-game shot-maker Miles Bridges — let alone the shot-alterer in Jaren Jackson Jr. — cannot be understated. The Spartans will have loads of talent and could still win the Big Ten."
More: Projecting Michigan basketball's 2018 starting lineup, rotation
Of Michigan, Katz writes: "Mo Wagner is gone and so too are sharpshooter Duncan Robinson and steady guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman. But the Wolverines got Charles Matthews back and the experience of Zavier Simpson, Jordan Poole, Isaiah Livers and Jon Teske gives the Wolverines one of the more ready starting fives at the beginning of the season.
"Last season’s team needed a few months to get the learning curve straightened out. That shouldn’t be a problem next season."
Gonzaga tops Katz's rankings, which include seven Big Ten teams.