Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: 10 biggest early team disappointments of 2023-24 season

Oakland v Michigan State
Oakland v Michigan State / Rey Del Rio/GettyImages
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2. Michigan State Spartans - 7-5 (0-2 Big Ten)

Like USC, Alabama, and Saint Mary’s, some preseason top-25 teams have struggled compared to preseason expectations. However, none that were ranked in the top 5 have fallen in two months as much as Michigan State did. It started Day 1, losing at home to James Madison. Yet since the Dukes remain unbeaten, it’s hard to view that as bad as it was at the time.

However, that doesn’t excuse the other losses Michigan State has. Losing to Duke and Arizona is fine but they’re currently in last place of the Big Ten, thanks to losing at home to Wisconsin and falling to Nebraska on the road. Considering the talent they have on paper, it’s hard to see why they’ve struggled so much against decent teams.

Tyson Walker (19.8 ppg) has played at a high level but a case can be made that everyone else has underachieved individually, including Jaden Akins and AJ Hoggard. The incoming top-5 recruiting class hasn’t achieved much, including five-star big man Xavier Booker not even being in the main rotation.

Had it not been for that recent blowout win over Baylor and a current three-game win streak, Michigan State would’ve been the clear No. 1 team on this list. But compared to the teams at 1 the Spartans have at least done something good.