The Michigan State University mens basketball team has found itself in some uncharted waters with the possibility of not making the NCAA tournament. MSU head coach Tom Izzo puts it in his own words about what he thinks about his team and what lies ahead for them. So without further ado, heres Tom Izzos State of the MSU Program Address:
Izzo on the NCAA tournament:
"I have no clue what the committee is going to look at, I really dont. I think teams, with our strengths of schedule in our situation normally 17, 18 wins could get you in."
The Spartans are currently 14-11 with four Big Ten games remaining. The good news for the Spartans is that three of those four will be at home. Izzo said that time is very short, but still believes his team has what it takes to make that final push.
"We dont have a lot of next times; there are no secrets about that. Were not as dead as somebody make us yet, were not in a position wed like to be in. We put ourselves in it, nobody else did and we have to dig ourselves out.
"I still think this team has a run left in them, and I do know were running out of time. If we win some games I think we can be a tough out in the Big Ten or NCAA tournament."
Izzo on feeling the pressure:
"I dont think anybody knows my team better than I do and I dont know them as well as Ive known other teams to tell you the truth. But I know what our schedules been like and I know what injuries have been like."
He said that the team was starting to make great progress before sophomore guard Alan Anderson went down with his dislocated right pinkie finger. He said having Anderson at the point has allowed sophomore guard Chris Hill to get more open looks.
Izzo said he isnt feeling any pressure and feels confident that his team will respond down the stretch.
Izzo said not having a full compliment of players together has set them back, but doesnt want to put the blame on his kids, especially when its not his fault.
"Im so tired of making excuses for this team and Im so tired of me giving them abuse and them taking abuse on things that arent theyre fault either.
Its unfair to deal with things that you dont have control over. Its fair to deal with any thing you do have control over. Some things I do have control over and some things like I told Maurice (Ager), none of us have control over."
Izzo on receiving more criticism:
"I can continually say people dont understand what you have to go through and what the day is like. They dont understand the schedule, they dont understand the injuries and there is a bottom line Win, baby, win.
"Right now, Im not happy where this teams at. But Im not as disappointed under the circumstances. I really believe that if Anderson doesnt get hurt and lose that continuity right when we were starting to get better for the final time I still think wed have another win or two. Another win or two with the schedule and the strength and everything Id think wed be in pretty good shape.
Izzo on constantly being judged:
"I have accepted that it is what you do for me today. I mean you learn that a lot. I just wish that the people that were doing it would understand the situation and then if you think its rightfully so then go ahead and do it. I can criticize myself its just I know why, and most of the people that do it have no clue why and that gets frustrating at times."
Izzo on setting a new, higher standard with success:
"Nobody judges anymore on five years, everybody judges on one week. Thats the way it is. It doesnt matter if youre at North Carolina or youre at Michigan State thats the monster that you create, but its the monster you want to create. I want to create that monster and I want to be held accountable to it as long as its legit."
Izzo on players leaving early:
"I think now, like if Im doing it now Im a little more prepared to lose someone than I was three years ago. I look ahead a little bit and try to recruit a little differently, try to have somebody there. The Richardson thing wasnt a total shock, but I thought maybe hed go one more year. The Randolph thing was a pretty much shock, the Taylor thing was a total shock and so Im not sure how you prepare for that."
Izzo on scheduling different:
"I think one thing people do is a better job at scheduling than I do because I really dont care I just figure I want to play these teams. The one year I did a great job, I thought, and it was all because of Mateen (Cleaves). I promised him that wed play these places and we went out and got it done. We played about eight of them that year: Texas, Kansas, Arizona, Kentucky, whatever okay and the son of a gun bails out of me and fakes an injury. But that schedule was made for that team and in all honesty and fairness, that kid because that was my promise to him. Would this have been a good year to try to get some confidence in those freshman and those younger players? One-hundred percent. So if you want to criticize me for something, criticize me for maybe scheduling."
Izzo on weathering the storm:
"I still say my favorite programs are Duke and Arizona from the standpoint that they have survived the defections. But did they have key people, go-to people that were the ones that still stayed? Did Duke have Battier and Carrawell? Did Arizona have Gardner and Walton? When we lost ours it was most of our players that should be the senior Richardson and the two juniors that definitely would have been our three best players. Somebody asked me a question if I was to be honest with you, I dont want to say were starting over, I dont think thats what good programs do, I think they do reload instead of rebuild."
Izzo on not being worried:
"I think some people think we had a five-year run and were going to go down the tubes. Our recruiting has still been good. Maybe a guy pans out; maybe a guy doesnt pan out. Let me tell you what Im not worried about. Im not worried about Michigan, Im not worried about anybody else in the league, Im not worried about our recruiting going down. So youll get your work out of me, were going to get the job done.
Izzo on remaining optimistic:
"Its been an incredible five years, but were not 2-20, were 14-11 and we just played supposedly one of the top teams right to the wire. Weve been out of one game (Illinois) all year and we have one bad loss Toledo. I think its my job to make sure we win games down the stretch dont get me wrong."