Perching at No. 5 in the latest Associated Press poll, the Michigan State Spartans are exactly where most thought they'd be at this time of year.
Losing Derrick Nix, a tyrant in the paint, hurts Tom Izzo's team, which has experienced a decline in rebounding and physicality since the Detroit big man left the program.
However, talent remains plentiful for Izzo, who has Gary Harris, Keith Appling and Adreian Payne spurring a national-title worthy club.
Michigan State is what it should be. But is it what it could be?
We'll examine some of the misconceptions that may have been present during the preseason, along with gauging the Spartans vs. common expectations, such as owning the glass and establishing authority in the post.