Izzo excited for opportunity Tuesday

Michigan State coach sees excitement surrounding Champions Classic, opportunity for MSU on a big stage.

The hoopla surrounding No. 2 Michigan State and No. 1 Kentucky on Tuesday in Chicago has been undeniable and now it's almost time to see what comes of the hype.

"I think it's just a great opportunity for Michigan State," MSU coach Tom Izzo said. "I think all four teams are really looking forward to it and I think this is the best buzz I've heard nationally for a set of games on a given night, I think ever since I've been coaching other than the Final Fours."

The excitement around the event featuring four of the top five teams in the nation (Duke at No. 4 and Kansas at No. 5) is as much internal as external, though.

"I'm not sure I've been as excited about an opportunity as this in a long, long time," he said. "I just think it's great for college basketball, it's great for the media, great for the fans, great for the programs.

"As I said, no matter what the outcomes of the game are, I think all teams will benefit in some way shape or form."

For the Spartans, the opportunity to be on a big stage is something Izzo is thankful for. On top of that, a win would likely vault MSU to the No. 1 spot in the nation.

Izzo said the focus first has to be on the game and not the potential rank, but that it would be an advantage for the program.

"I think this whole week is an advantage to our program, that we're in games like this, that we're in positions like this," he said. "I don't know, maybe we aren't college basketball but we're a pretty good team that is looking forward to the challenge.

"I think when you're in events like this, it means that you're thought of as a program that is worthy of playing in something like the Champions Classic, which I'm happy and excited that we get another three years of it after this."


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