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Coach’s corner: Catching up with Tom Izzo
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On February 15, 2013 @ 2:57 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
Each Friday leading up to the NCAA tournament, USA TODAY Sports’ Nicole Auerbach catches up with a premier college basketball coach:
EAST LANSING, Mich. – This week, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is happy – or as happy as he can be when he says he still can’t tell how good his team is. (Here’s my hint: Pretty good.) Izzo’s Spartans are coming off their most spectacular and dominating win of the season, a 75-52 rout of rival Michigan, the best win Izzo said he’s seen from his team in three years.
Once again, Michigan State is being touted as a Big Ten title contender (and is sitting atop the conference standings with Indiana at the moment) and a national championship contender, too. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about college basketball this season, it’s we should never count out a coach like Izzo and a balanced, talented team like the Spartans.
Sitting in his office Thursday morning, Izzo caught up with USA TODAY Sports about his team flying under the radar for much of the season, the brutal Big Ten schedule and what every great college basketball team needs – a fantastic leader.
Izzo on why people haven’t been talking much about the Spartans until recently:
We had some question marks coming in. You have to remember the (Branden) Dawson (torn ACL). He didn’t start shooting the ball again until September, so that’s seven months. Most people say you aren’t any good until the year after. Adrian Peterson kind of screwed up that theory. That was a key thing. Our point guard – would he come into his own? He was a 2 guard playing the point. Would he grow? We had a couple of freshmen we knew we’d have to rely on, especially (Denzel) Valentine and (Gary) Harris. Those are unknowns.
That, along with you take Michigan – they had (Trey) Burke and (Tim) Hardaway coming back. They had some things to plug, too, but usually a team is going to have a chance to go far with its guards. It’s like if you have a great quarterback, you’re going to have a better … [For more on Coach's corner: Catching up with Tom Izzo, click here.]
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