Tom Izzo: Michigan State must 'embrace' one-and-done March madness

Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Basketball

Tom Izzo wants his Michigan State basketball team to improve its offense in the long break between losing Saturday to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament in New York and its next game.

Against a still-to-be decided opponent. In a yet-to-be-determined time and place.

He also wants the Spartans to build their mental toughness for the NCAA Tournament ahead.

"When it gets to this time of the year, you better understand the difference in playing games in one-and-done time," Izzo said Tuesday on "The Mad Dog Show" on WVFN-AM (730) in Lansing, Mich. "A couple guys said after (losing to U-M), 'I just didn't do this well enough.' And Dwayne Stephens said, 'Yeah, and we're going home.'

"So understand that, remember that. Don't fear it, embrace it. And that's what we're trying to do now."

Izzo allowed for the Spartans to absorb a little culture and a quick spring break trip. They took Monday off to rest following Saturday's 75-64 loss to the Wolverines. Then on Tuesday night, they went as a group to Chicago to watch the musical Hamilton at CIBC Theater. MSU alum Jonathan Kirkland is starring in the production.

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The Spartans practiced Wednesday afternoon at the NBA training facility in Chicago, hours before Denzel Valentine and the Bulls were set to take on Deyonta Davis and the Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center. And then it was time to head back to East Lansing for a busy few days of practice.

"It's kind of a weird week, because we've never had a week off in between," Izzo said. "So we're trying to deal with that."

Izzo had plenty of plans for No. 5 MSU (29-4) the rest of the week as they wait for their NCAA Tournament future. He expected to have review sessions on how to deal with teams that press and those that play zone defense. He anticipated plenty of film study and individual drill sessions. Then he is prepared to make the Spartans "hit it pretty good" in workouts Thursday, Friday and Saturday, including an intrasquad scrimmage with referees.

Then comes Sunday, when the Spartans will find out their NCAA fate a week and a day after their Big Ten tournament semifinal loss to Michigan. Izzo said MSU will have its annual banquet that day, then gather inside Breslin Center to watch the selection show afterward in the arena.


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