East Lansing, MI
Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo Talks the State of his team, Northwestern and More! Here is a transcript:
We are down to seven games in the regular season which is hard to believe, and with four home games we have to take advantage of something. I think you look at a couple of different things we have done lately. From the Michigan game on we’ve played harder and we’ve played with more energy. Not always better but we haven’t turned the ball over a lot considering the lineups we’ve had in there and the different playing groups. I think that is a plus. I think our shot selection in a couple games was not as good. I think we got used to not getting the ball inside cause Adreian was gone and now we are trying to learn to play back with him.
I think as far as he (Payne) goes I think he has done an incredible job. He’s averaging 18 points. You can tell his conditioning is nowhere near what it is. His defense second half of the game was better, but he has a long ways to go there to catch up with how we are guarding. Perhaps the biggest thing is just getting his conditioning back because he is a very good rebounder. Not rebounding like he did earlier, but I never expected to play him 32 minutes in the last game.
Kaminski has gotten more minutes and that is probably going to help him sometime, but I think the two or three guys that have taken advantage of more time, Denzel is probably number one on that list by far. If you look at Matt’s (Larson) stats he’s a top ten guy in rebounding and assists. He’s averaging like nine points and eight rebounds in the last seven games and for a guard that is incredible.
I think Costello has started to build up. If we can just keep him out of foul trouble, that first foul, the second foul I can’t believe they called it. It’s not like he is a hatchet man out there he is just getting into positions that maybe he really doesn’t need to be. He too is averaging seven points and five rebounds. Starting to make a difference definitely defensively.
And Trice as done a pretty good job. I was amazed that he defended as well the way they were going to post us up. I thought he has played kind of turnover free basketball. I think there are some things we have to improve on our break and that is why in a little meeting we had yesterday academically took some guys aside and talked to them about how important practice is going to be this week.
We’ve had good practices the last two, but not great. I am getting like some players and I am coaching not to get some guys injured or we don’t get tired or we don’t you can’t do that. So we got to get after it this week. This is going to be a big week of practice. We got to get our break back. I think we really got to concentrate on our rebounding and concentrate on the chemistry of the players that are going to play together.
With both Costello and Adreian in there it will at least give us some semblance of what we are going to be down the stretch. I think those two guys have to learn again how to play together. I think we have to do a better job of coming up with some shots and getting the ball inside out a little bit more which we did a poor job the last game.
You look at Northwestern; a team that a month ago everybody thought was in shambles. Chris (Collins) has done a great job rallying them. You can tell his team has bought in to his defensive philosophies. They’re not good defensively, they’re very good. They’ve shot the ball better in the last couple games. I think in the last four games they’re shooting like 36-37 percent from 3, so they’re starting to shoot the ball a little bit better. But it’s the defense that has made the difference. They take pride in it, they’re playing it hard and guys are buying in. This is a team that, they lose a heartbreaker to Nebraska or they would have come in (here) with a four-game winning streak. That’s exciting. It’s a change there. Because of that, they’ll come in here (with confidence). They’ve gone to some tough venues and won already, going to Minnesota and Indiana. We’re going to have to play better and we’re going to have to play well. We’re going to have to start getting better at the things we need to do to play at the end of the year.