Bronny James is one of the most-prized recruits of the 2024 cycle.

Besides having basketball royalty literally in his genes, he's a physically impressive guard at 6-foot-3 with a solid overall game. Simply put, he has the looks of an NBA guard, which is probably why he was recently evaluated as a five-star recruit.

The list of schools who have reportedly recruited LeBron James' eldest son is a veritable Who's Who of college basketball royalty. Blue-blood programs like Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and UCLA all have reportedly shown interest in Bronny James. USC is also in the mix, which makes sense since the Jameses live in LA. Ohio State is also interested, given that the Jameses are native to the Buckeye state.

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It turns out that Michigan State was interested in Bronny James at one point, as Dan Patrick goaded Tom Izzo into admitting on Monday.

"We did recruit him a little bit," Izzo said when Patrick asked the MSU basketball coach point-blank.

"I talked to LeBron about it at Draymond Green's wedding, if you want the truth."

Leave it to Dan Patrick to extract a great story from someone.

Izzo and his family attended Green's wedding last summer, as was publicized on the social media that Izzo so righteously hates.

But Patrick may have unwittingly baited Izzo into an NCAA recruiting violation.

College coaches are prohibited from publicly commenting on recruits, unless or until a recruit has signed a National Letter of Intent to play for said coach. The rule has been in place for some 50 years, according to The Athletic.

Izzo realized he may have stepped in it right after sharing that story with Patrick.

"Come to think of it, I don't even know if I'm allowed to tell you that," he said. "I might get fined or maybe they'll suspend me from the NCAA tournament.

"So we'll just say that there's a player out west that I looked at."

"You didn't say his name," Patrick said, pointing out a technical absolution of Izzo.

"Yeah, you did, that's right," Izzo said. "Thank you, Dan,"

It was a good story, and Izzo clearly wasn't telling it in order to gain some sort of unfair recruiting advantage in the Bronny James sweepstakes, so hopefully the NCAA does the right thing and lets this one slide. Kinda like it's let practically unfettered cheating in college basketball slide at Kansas and North Carolina for years, or how it's looked the other way regarding generations of what we'll call "creative" recruiting practices in football throughout the SEC.

Knowing the NCAA, though, it would be incredibly on-brand for it to penalize Izzo and MSU for this infinitesimal, innocuous gaffe while outright ignoring the unmistakeable moral and rectitudinous turpitude pervading the highest levels of college sports.

Michigan State's Protected Rivalries In A Division-Less Big Ten

There's much speculation that the Big Ten will abandon it's division-based format for football in the 2024 season.

If/When that happens, each team will likely have three opponents that are protected. That means that those specific games will be played each season.

With that in mind, we've come up with some choices for Michigan State's three protected games in a division-less Big Ten.

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