Itching for a Fight

"You don't always get to play in a game like that, and if it's still lingering today, I don't care," Izzo said after practice on Friday. "It should linger a little bit, and that's probably not the right approach, but it really should."

EAST LANSING — Losing stinks.

And when a team loses a game like Michigan State lost to the North Carolina Tar Heels Wednesday night, it can do a lot of harm, especially to young players.

More importantly, it can potentially damage a team's confidence and affect their performance in future games.

Spartan Coach Tom Izzo doesn't think that it will affect his team negatively as MSU prepares to play Bradley on Sunday. But he does think that his players should remember what happened against the nation's top team

"You don't always get to play in a game like that, and if it's still lingering today, I don't care," Izzo said after practice on Friday. "It should linger a little bit, and that's probably not the right approach, but it really should."

The players weren't the only ones still feeling the pain of Wednesday's game. Izzo himself hasn't completely moved on from the loss. For a program that is considered by many to be elite, that bad of a performance is not supposed to happen, and Coach Izzo is ashamed that it did.

"Yesterday was not a very good day," he explained. "I'm not going to lie to you. It was embarrassing the way it went, especially in that venue. I felt worse for our fans. It was a big game and we did not play to the magnitude of the game."

After watching the film of the game four to five times, Izzo did not view the game as badly as most people did. That's not to say that he was proud of his team's performance, but he was able to pry some positives out of the film and also confirm the primary cause of the loss.

"I think most of our half court defense was decent. I thought we contested shots, they made a couple good shots," he said. "It was turnovers, turnovers, turnovers, and of all the years that I've been here, I never saw more ridiculous turnovers."

The players had Thursday off after a long week that consisted of playing four games in seven days. The rest was sorely needed for the team's physical and mental state. Many players reflected on the game and are trying to learn from it as some fans question the caliber of the team.

"The game kind of stuck in my mind. We had a great opportunity to play against a great team," senior Travis Walton said. "I just got some time to relax, chill, and think about it a little bit, but also know that we got to regroup. Everybody's against us now, so this is a time we have to come together more."

SUTON SITUATION

Goran Suton had successful surgery on his knee Thursday. Coach Izzo said that the surgery lasted about 15 minutes. "A little flick" of cartilage that the doctors thought was causing the problem was found. There was very little swelling in the knee after the procedure. Izzo would like for Suton to get a couple of games in before the Big Ten season and is pretty sure that he will not play before Christmas.

READY TO SHOOT

Coach Izzo gets on his guys for many things, but shooting is not one of them. He encourages the players to shoot and stay aggressive. Being tentative and not playing strong with the ball can lead to many problems, most notably turnovers.

The Spartans run a lot of sets, and use a lot of screens, so Izzo wants his players ready to shoot when they come off those screens. And he wishes one particular player would be more aggressive.

"I think it's been a problem for a lot of our guys," Izzo said. "Chris (Allen) is maybe our best pure shooter, and for some reason, I'm sure if you ask him, he couldn't tell you why, but he's not pulling the trigger on it.

"I am telling him to shoot it. I'm gonna tell him to keep shooting it. I thought the last game, he did a better job than he did down in Florida."


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