Spartans Basketball Notebook

The Michigan State University men's 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, here's Tom Izzo's State of the MSU Program Address:

The Michigan State University men’s 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, here’s Tom Izzo’s 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 don’t. 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 don’t have a lot of next times; there are no secrets about that. We’re not as dead as somebody make us yet, we’re not in a position we’d 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 we’re 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 don’t think anybody knows my team better than I do and I don’t know them as well as I’ve known other teams to tell you the truth. But I know what our schedule’s 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 isn’t 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 doesn’t want to put the blame on his kids, especially when it’s not his fault.

"I’m so tired of making excuses for this team and I’m so tired of me giving them abuse and them taking abuse on things that aren’t they’re fault either.

It’s unfair to deal with things that you don’t have control over. It’s 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 don’t understand what you have to go through and what the day is like. They don’t understand the schedule, they don’t understand the injuries and there is a bottom line – Win, baby, win.

"Right now, I’m not happy where this team’s at. But I’m not as disappointed under the circumstances. I really believe that if Anderson… doesn’t get hurt and lose that continuity right when we were starting to get better for the final time I still think we’d have another win or two. Another win or two with the schedule and the strength and everything I’d think we’d 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 it’s rightfully so then go ahead and do it. I can criticize myself it’s 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. That’s the way it is. It doesn’t matter if you’re at North Carolina or you’re at Michigan State that’s the monster that you create, but it’s the monster you want to create. I want to create that monster and I want to be held accountable to it as long as it’s legit."

Izzo on players leaving early:

"I think now, like if I’m doing it now I’m 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 wasn’t a total shock, but I thought maybe he’d go one more year. The Randolph thing was a pretty much shock, the Taylor thing was a total shock and so I’m 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 don’t 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 we’d 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 one’s 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 don’t want to say we’re starting over, I don’t think that’s 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 we’re going to go down the tubes. Our recruiting has still been good. Maybe a guy pans out; maybe a guy doesn’t pan out. Let me tell you what I’m not worried about. I’m not worried about Michigan, I’m not worried about anybody else in the league, I’m not worried about our recruiting going down. So you’ll get your work out of me, we’re going to get the job done.

Izzo on remaining optimistic:

"It’s been an incredible five years, but we’re not 2-20, we’re 14-11 and we just played supposedly one of the top teams right to the wire. We’ve been out of one game (Illinois) all year and we have one bad loss – Toledo. I think it’s my job to make sure we win games down the stretch – don’t get me wrong."

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