After rolling through November without much of a hitch, Michigan State enters December as one of the most dynamic teams in the land.
The No. 1-ranked Spartans (7-0) beat Kentucky, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech, but they did stumble a bit against Columbia and Portland prior to Thanksgiving. However, their most recent 98-65 thumping of Mount St. Mary's proved that they're ready for the prime-time spotlight—which they'll get Dec. 4 when hosting North Carolina.
The Tar Heels have long been a thorn in Tom Izzo's side. They beat him in the 2005 Final Four and again in the 2009 title bout. Needless to say, Izzo's probably looking to welcome them into the friendly confines of the Breslin Center, where opponents rarely escape with a win.
For that to happen, players such as Keith Appling and Gary Harris must be at their highest levels, for they're facing the No. 16-ranked team in the country. The same goes for Denzel Valentine, whose rapid development will only benefit the Spartans, and for Adreian Payne, who is one of the most feared bigs in college hoops today.
It's stock watch time. Who's hot? Who's not? Who has the most potential to shine vs. North Carolina? All of that will be addressed in this handy slideshow.
Note: Izzo has used multiple lineups and will continue doing so. The players highlighted on this list are the ones getting the most minutes, not necessarily starting from the opening tip.