Spartan Ballers Looking for Redemption

Last season's exhibition loss to Grand Valley, along with the dissapointing loss to Memphis in the Sweet Sixteeen, motivates the Spartan ballers.

EAST LANSING -- At this time last year, the Michigan State Spartans were met with high expectations, a top ten ranking and an upcoming exhibition date with a Division II team.

In that game, the Grand Valley State Lakers surprisingly defeated the No. 8 ranked Spartans 85-82 at the Breslin Center, an exhibition loss, to be sure, but not a pretty evening for a nationally respected program.

This year, the Spartans' prospects for the season are as high as they were last year (if not higher) and they are ranked in the top ten once again. This year's exhibition opponent is Northern Michigan.

The Spartans are going to take court Wednesday night against a team that does not possess the size, speed or talent that they have, but they know not to take this team lightly based on last year's result against GVSU.

"A lot of people were down on us (after the loss)," said Kalin Lucas on Monday. "I think last year, we took it for granted."

Lucas doesn't think the Spartans will give another disappointing performance on Wednesday in their exhibition opener. Even though this game won't count in the official standings, he feels that the team is more than ready to go.

"Man …we can't wait," Lucas said. "We've been playing against each other for a while. We want to go out there and play against somebody else and push the ball."

In sports, teams tend to get a little restless and irritated in the preseason with playing against the same people everyday in practice, and this team is no different. The Spartans have been going at each other for months and they feel that playing another opponent will be a relief after all of the tough practices.

"Real sick of it," MSU captain Travis Walton explained. "We had a competitive summer. We've been going hard against each other everyday."

The game on Wednesday will also help the Spartans work toward eraseing the still-lingering memories of their embarrassing Sweet Sixteen loss to Memphis. For senior Goran Suton, the opening tip can't arrive soon enough.

"It's been a while so I just can't wait," Suton said. "We so worked so hard in the off-season, and during the summer. This is what we do it for."

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