Head coach Tom Izzo told the media on Saturday, "We've been picked No. 1 before and I've heard the positives and negatives. I still think it's better to be picked high and try to meet those expectations than it is to be picked low and try to beat those expectations."
"It's a great sign of respect for the program to be named the preseason favorite, and yet it's also a sign of respect for some of the great players like (Maurice) Ager, (Shannon) Brown and (Paul) Davis that we have now," Izzo said.
The Spartans come off their 2004-2005 season with a 26-7 (13-3 in the Big Ten) record and a Final Four appearance. Izzo says that the Big Ten will be solid this year and very competitive. "I think the league is going to be so much better top to bottom. In fact, I think it's going to be the best it has been in a lot of years," Izzo said.
Joining Paul Davis on the Preseason All-Big Ten team was Illinois point guard Dee Brown, Minnesota's Vincent Grier, Wisconsin's Alando Tucker and Indiana's D.J. White. Dee Brown was selected as the Preseason Big Ten Player of the year.
The Spartans also had a Green and White scrimmage this weekend. On Saturday the Spartans played their inter-squad scrimmage at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. The Green team defeated the White team by a score of 84-44 in front of a crowd that totaled to be approximately 12,000.
Maurice Ager was the leading scorer with 26 points. The senior guard played one half with each team. Paul Davis grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and sophomore point guard Drew Neitzel dished out a game-high 12 assists.
The Spartans got their first opportunity to play in front of big crowd this year with a big-game atmosphere. The game provides a good chance for freshmen to get their feet wet. The big turnout shows how eager MSU fans are for the upcoming season.
After the game Paul Davis told MSU reporters, "That was the biggest crowd that I can remember at a Green and White game. It was cool seeing everybody coming out to support us. Having that many people here shows how great our fans are." Michigan State will begin exhibition play against Lake Superior State, Nov.7.