MSU basketball opens practice Friday

With new NCAA rule allowing teams to start earlier, Spartans get practice underway Friday afternoon at Breslin Center.

With a new NCAA rule that allows college basketball teams to start practice earlier, Michigan State opened practice Friday afternoon at Breslin Center.

Coach Tom Izzo said he supports the changes and see the benefits it can have for the Spartans.

"I was a fan of it because I think it gives us a chance that we don't have to get our players going and just kill them the first week or two," Izzo said. "I think it's gonna be a plus in the long run.

"I am a little concerned, cause starting out no matter how many days you take off there's still the mental grind that adds three weeks to the season. I'm for it in every way but I'm concerned in how we handle it."

Izzo said the new schedule – which allows teams to open practice six weeks before the first game of the regular season – likely will impact how MSU practices and builds gradually up for the season.

He said he is considering having two days off and two days off to open and leading up to the season schedule with six days on and one day off.

He also said the Spartans will focus on teaching a little more early without having to rush through things.

"A lot more teaching, instead of last year, to me, it was start on (October) 12th," Izzo said. "That was the latest day you could start with the way the calendar works then play an exhibition game on the 30th or whatever we played it."

Izzo added with the length added to the calendar, college basketball teams now play a NBA-length season – just with less games.

"It's just that we've never done it so there is going to be a little bit of a learning curve and to make sure that those guys are fresh, because it's a long year," he said. "If you look at it, it is almost an NBA season now just not with that number of games, but a lot of times practice are as hard as games.

"When you're starting a week before the NBA and if they don't make they playoffs they are done the early part of April, so it's almost within three weeks of an NBA thing now and that's a long season."

The Spartans open their season with an exhibition game against Grand Valley State on Oct. 29.

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