(EAST LANSING) - Coach Tom Izzo wasn't happy with the way his team played in a 97-83 exhibition loss to the Harlem Globetrotters. He didn't take much solace out of the fact that the Globetrotters also throttle Syracuse a few days later. MSU wasn't playing MSU basketball.
The coach got his message through to his players and they plan to come out tonight against Nike Elite on a mission to prove they are still the physical, assertive team they have always been under Izzo.
"One thing that is different from the Globetrotters is that we have something to prove," said MSU forward Paul Davis who led the Spartans with 19 points against the Globetrotter "We didn't play well at all during the Harlem Globetrotters game."
While the Globetrotters were loaded with former NBA talent including all-time Spartan great Magic Johnson and former Phoenix Suns guard Cedric Ceballos who was flown in strictly to give the Spartans the toughest test possible, this Nike Elite team has few names that are known in East Lansing, but that doesn't change coach Izzo's demeanor coming into the contest.
"These guys have got three guys that can flat out light it up," Izzo said.
But Elite hasn't lit up anyone in five games this exhibition season, winning just two. Most recently #2 Duke destroyed the Elite team 105-69, Stan Blackmon led Elite with 22.
Look for a similar result in tonight's contest or something is very wrong early on with the Spartans.
Coincidentally, a different Nike Elite team coached by former UM pilot Bill Frieder will go up against North Carolina tonight, so don't get confused.