News and Notes from Michigan State Basketball Friday Edition…
1. The Spartans led for 36 minutes in a game that featured four early lead changes and two ties.
2. 17th straight NCAA Tournament appearance for Tom Izzo.
3. MSU is 57-26 ALL TIME in 28 trips to the dance.
4. The win over Delaware was Tom Izzo’s 40th NCAA victory. He has a .727 winning percentage which is 7th among active coaches.
5. The Spartans are 22-6 all time in the first game of the tournament. Under Izzo they are 13-4 in the round of 64.
6. MSU has had at least one 10-0 run in 18 different games this season.
7. Spartans have a 8-1 record on neutral court games this year.
8. The Spartans are 16-2 when they reach 70 points this season and 14-0 when hitting 80.
9. The Spartans held the Blue Hens for FOUR minutes in the second half last night without a field goal.
10. Harvard has won the first game of the tournament two straight seasons.
11. Harvard now has 27 wins this season. That is a program record for wins in a regular season.
12. Tommy Amaker is now four wins away from being the All Time most winningest coach in Crimson history.
13. Harvard is 15-0 this season when holding opponents to fewer than 60 points.
14. Harvard is 14-0 when opponents shoot under 40%.
15. Harvard is 18-0 when out rebounding opponents and 23-3 when they commit less than 15 turnovers.
16. Harvard is now 5-0 this season when playing on a Neutral court and 25-2 when leading at halftime.
17. Despite winning Tom Izzo wasn’t real happy yesterday. After the game he said, “When you’re a team that is contending to move on, you got to play well for the whole 40 minutes and we didn’t tonight, we survived, but I think we learned something and I think we’ll grow from it.”
18. Travis Trice had a great night. This team is SO unselfish that he didn’t want to talk about himself. In fact Trice said, “My mindset really was just come in and do whatever the team needs me to do. But any time you got a guy like AP who has a game like that, you just got to try and find him. And I think that’s what we did early on and it really helped open it up for everybody else.”
19. You may have noticed that Trice is getting into the lane more. He is becoming more aggressive and he talked about his development. “My job really as a point guard is really to read the defense and take what they give me. And the play had broke down and the guy, my guy, was close up on me so, I think, I was thinking just to go and drive. But, coach did a great job tonight of putting us in sets where we could attack and we could get into the lane.”
20. Izzo has NOT been pleased with the way games are being officiated this year. Last night he was more upset with his team than the zebras. “there’s been games that have been very discouraging for me that are not even my games that I watch other teams. This one there were some, but it was discouraging the way we reached and Valentine’s got two fouls and he goes and reaches and tries to get a steal. So, I would have to blame a lot more on us, as you know, I can only say I’m not a fan of the new stuff. Because of the length and the things that happen and the great players on the bench, I’m not a fan of it, but I wasn’t a fan of the way we played tonight. So, I was more disappointed than the guys in the numbered shirts than the striped shirts.”
21. Sitting courtside watching the Spartans blow out the Blue Hens you saw Izzo able to go down the bench and “educate” some players. Izzo addressed that advantage in a blow out situation. “That’s a polite way of saying I was chewing somebody out, but I guess if that’s what it is, I guess that’s what it is.
Teaching? Yeah, that sounds better. Moms like that better. But we made some ridiculous plays. Our bigs, our subs did some poor things. I was really disappointed. Zel did some things he hasn’t done all year, he’s been my most consistent player night in night out by far and he was uncharacteristically and I don’t know if it was the two early fouls that just kind of knocked him out. So those are the parts that were disappointing.
And I did not think we played very intelligently. The game plan was not give up dribble penetration, and not foul, and there were a lot of them, 39 free throws, that’s two games worth. So we didn’t do a good job of that.” He continued, “Our bigs I thought jogged up and down the court, other than AP and Branden. Our other guys and they said, you know, like Gavin gets in, gets two fouls so fast that he can’t even get loose. And Costello did the same thing and maybe I have a little understanding for that.
It’s frustrating. I think we’re all, we all think that this is going to be the better way, but I would be all for it if we got six fouls.”
22. Watching this team rolling how much does Izzo think back to last year. AP weighed until the last minute whether or not to come back to MSU or go to the NBA. In staying he has taken his game, inside and out to a new level and Izzo talked about it. “I think that’s the million dollar statement right there. I think two things: He made the right decision to stay. Yes, he made the right decision for me and everybody can write that; he made the right decision for him. He is a much better player. He’s much more cerebral player, he’s a much stronger player. He is starting to marry the insight outside, put them together, you know. And if he does that on a consistent basis, I see him as one of the best four men in the whole country.”
23. Izzo talked up his senior in light of all the freshman getting the attention for the upcoming draft. “II know there’s freshmen that are good, there’s this and that, that are good, but the guy can do a lot of things. What he doesn’t even show, he’s got a left hand. He didn’t make that one, he’s got a better left hand than any of the, than anybody around the country, if you ask me. And he can rebound. It hasn’t been something that’s doing as well, he got eight tonight. So I think, is it a blessing for me and Michigan State? Of course. But I still think his high school coaches did the best job of all, they tried to be the mediators in between, figuring out that the coach is going to want to stay for himself, which never was true; and the player is going to want to go, because every player wants to go. And I thought they did the best job. And when he got injured it looked like it was but there’s no question in my mind, no matter I’m sure he’s moving up, but no matter if he does or doesn’t, he is a better player, better ready for that next level now than he was a year ago.”
24. Does Izzo agree that Trice is playing his best basketball right now? “Travis has been really good. He’s been good in practice, he’s making shots, and it’s been more than just the Big 10 tournament. I think he was Sixth Man of the Year worthy and he is a guy that comes off, he knows he’s going in three, four minutes into the game and he’s turning himself in, he’s a better defender than people give him credit for. He is playing very well.”