Spartans Coach Tom Izzo talks about rebuilding

Michigan State University Spartans, Tom Izzo, Detroit Sports
Okay, I admit it. My headline is more than a little misleading.

But Tom Izzo went ahead and said it, the “R” word, at his weekly news conference.

“We are not a team that should be totally rebuilding,” Izzo said.

That’s right, Tom. I’d bet, there are a lot of other people across the state who are thinking the same thing. Especially since this is a team that made it to the final four the last two seasons.

But last year is last year, because the Spartans are a meager, inconsistent 4-3 in the Big Ten. And they’re hanging on in the college basketball poll with a No. 25 ranking in this week’s poll.

Rebuilding is not the word, consistency is the word. MSU has star players that aren’t playing like stars. In a case like this, could it be the coaching? Possibly. Is it likely it could be the players? Very likely.

Trying to find the root cause is almost beside the point. And fretting about the Spartans’ record is pointless, because we’ve seen what the Spartans can do if they can be simply good enough to get into the NCAA tournament.

What I fear is going on here is a case of managing expectations. It’s very possible that Izzo can feel that his team just doesn’t have what it takes to perform this year. And if he can tell that now, he’s possibly getting fans ready for a late season disappointment.

On the other hand, could it be possible that he’s using this to motivate his team? Possibly, but I think it’s more likely that Izzo and is team are simply frustrated.

Nothing is clicking, nothing seems to be going right. And sometimes all you can do is show up and keep working. And then maybe things will start going your way.

MSU Spartans advance to NCAA Final Four championship game

Tom Izzo’s MSU Spartans rolled through the University of Connecticut Huskies tonight, winning a hard-fought game 82-73.

Up until the fifth minute of the second half, both teams were evenly matched, exchanging the lead several times. With 16 minutes left in the second half, the game was tied. At that point, MSU broke away and gained control of the game, forcing Jim Calhoun’s Huskies into bad shots while making the most of their opportunities.

With 3:18 remaining in the game, the Spartans had established an 11-point lead and though the Huskies put up a fight, they did not come close enough. The Spartans bench was remarkably productive and helped provide the speed and energy needed to defeat a talented Connecticut team.

The championship game is Monday night at Ford Field. MSU will play the winner of tonight’s Villanova-North Carolina game.