High expectations drive Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans.
And this season, those lofty hopes are once again present in East Lansing.
Izzo has the athletic talent and uncanny coaching savvy to make Michigan State a league and national championship contender for at least the next two seasons.
But don't look that far ahead—the Spartans can do it this year if they find the consistency they currently lack.
With freshmen like Gary Harris and Lansing native Denzel Valentine, the Spartans are stacked with potential at the guard position. Sophomore Travis Trice is finding his stride, and sophomore swingman Branden Dawson is one of the conference's elite athletes.
Keith Appling, a junior, is the engine that propels the Spartans. He could be Izzo's third Big Ten Player of the Year since 2009 if he continues his rampant pace of 14.9 points per game, about a 20 percent increase from last year's average of 11.6 points per game.
Big men Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix give Izzo's Spartans a frontcourt that's both agile (Payne) and physical (Nix and Payne).
Izzo certainly has the means necessary to snag a league crown. He might just find himself knee-deep in March Madness, forging down a path to Atlanta, the site of the 2013 Final Four.
So, what's in the cards for Michigan State? The Big Ten season is underway, and the Spartans have high standards in place.
Will they rule the league, or will they fall behind the likes of Ohio State, Indiana and Michigan?
Glad you asked.