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Men's Basketball
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Jan. 26, 2012

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Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement...
I guess if I had to pick a program to set a milestone against, it would be the guy that I respect as much as anybody in the country, that's Tubby. It was a game that I thought we played pretty good, and yet we couldn't get over the hump. I think that was a lot of them, they just keep grinding it and don't let you pull away. I thought (Rodney) Williams for them is one of the more improved players in the league. When he hit those first couple of threes; they've done such a great job with him. Those young guards are going to be good someday soon here. For us, to win a game like that when our starting backcourt goes 1-12, I thought we had some pretty good looks; we just didn't shoot it very well. At half time we really challenged two guys; Wood with his defense and B.J. (Branden Dawson) with his defense and running up the court. I thought B.J. did an incredible job in the second half. I also thought Appling did an incredible job running the team and playing defense, he was phenomenal. He just didn't make some shots and I thought there were some pretty good looks. And maybe the stars could have been Payne and Nix. I thought early we went to Payne, and he scored a couple. Then Nix went in there and got some fouls on people, he did a great job. We just kept rotating those guys, Payne went up and got some rebounds that he hasn't (in the past games). There were some things we did a better job of, and yet we didn't look as smooth as I'd like to. But I don't think you do when the ball and some of them shots aren't going in, and yet we shot a pretty high percentage. We rebounded the ball pretty well; I didn't think it was off the charts. Now that I've talked about everybody, my resident superstar Draymond, was just unbelievable. He defended and he had to guard different kinds of guys. That last pass he threw, I don't know how he saw him. He is so unselfish. He did everything but make his free throws and he's madder at that than I am. The way he played, the shots he took, the rebounds he got, the way he defended and the way he passed, I thought that was one of the better performances of a player has had here for me. That was a good way for the 400th too, if that has any significance.

On winning the 400th career game...
I said it at the press conference and I said it now. It isn't humbling. They asked me on TV, `what went through your mind,' and I said `that I was 517 behind Krzyzewski.' It's hard to be real excited about something like that. Any milestone that you can share in front of your home fans, with your people; the 300th was great to be here with everybody, the 400th, I guess was great to be here with everybody. And to win it against a program that was so classy. I appreciate that too. It was kind of a grind it out win. We weren't great, they weren't great, we just kind of ground it out and that was probably the way I needed to get a win here.

On the play of Draymond Green...
I have been blessed with a lot of good players. But usually it is hard to be blessed with great players that are good in a lot of different categories. His intelligence, his willingness to communicate, his willingness to talk, he has gotten so much better. He gets a little upset on the free throws still. He makes a mistake and he comes over now. I just see how far that kid has grown and it makes me feel really good. I talked to Morris Peterson last night and I said, "Draymond is taking steps like you did.' He is a special guy and is one of the best Spartans I've had.

On what this meant personally...
I appreciated Jud tonight. I just think anytime you accomplish something that is a milestone, you should take the time to appreciate the people that got you there. I appreciated my parents. I had a big appreciation for Jud, I don't think there is any question if he wouldn't have stuck up for me, I wouldn't be here. If he wouldn't have taught me like he did, I wouldn't be here. I am appreciative of that and that means a lot to me. It meant a lot. I struggle still because so many guys have won so many more games. But I am proud that we are staying consistent and I guess that's what I am proudest of.

On the many components that have made this possible...
I think it was the players. I think it was the players that have been here. I think it is the players that still support us. I think of Steve Smith being my first recruit, and where would we be, where would this whole university be, this athletic department be without Smitty. There were so many guys behind the scenes. When I think of my favorite player, there are a million of them. When I think of who did the most for me, that is when you come up with Antonio Smith who kind of set the standards and built the culture. That this should be smash mouth basketball, that is how you have to play in this league and that is how you have to play to win. There were a lot of players. My mentor was definitely one, but I think it is the players behind the scenes that still call, still wished me luck today. They haven't forgotten and I think I appreciate that as much as anything.

Minnesota Head Coach Tubby Smith

Opening comments...
I want to congratulate Tom Izzo on his 400th win. He certainly is a class guy. His teams play extremely hard. He's a great coach and a great friend. I didn't want to be his 400th win, but he's a guy you know who does things the right way. His teams always come ready to play. I'm real honored to coach against him and have him in the league. We had some opportunities there. We battled and battled, but lost the toughness part. I thought our kids played a good game.

On Joe Coleman...
I thought there were times we could have given a little more. We gave up too many easy baskets. We had opportunities to take a couple charges and we didn't. I just thought they out toughed us, not any particular player was tougher. As a team, I thought they played harder and played smarter than we did.

On physical teams...
You get behind and if you're playing against a team that executes well, then they'll burn you. If they have a kid like Draymond Green, he's such a multifaceted player. He can do so many things he's just hard to guard. He makes so many things happen; good for your team on the defensive and offensive end. He's a real difference maker, and I thought he was the difference maker tonight.

On comparing Draymond Green to Trevor Mbawkwe...
They do a great job. You need that toughness, and he's got it at his size. He's got a great heart, great motor and great passion for the game, and it's contagious for his teammates. He can make the plays. He can knock down outside shots. He can get to the free-throw line and make his free throws. He can do a lot of things well.

On getting close but not finishing...
They outworked us in some areas. It's always tough to play on the road, especially here, but I thought the biggest difference was we let them throw the ball where they wanted to throw it. Throw it in the post whenever they wanted to, especially early in the game. That's why their post players had such an outstanding night tonight because we did a poor job in that area.

On Coleman's intentional foul...
That was huge. It happens in the game. Any time you come from the behind it's a tough call, it's a tough play. He plays with such heart, with such toughness. Joe is a freshman and he'll get better at it. We did some good things tonight, just didn't finish the right way.

 

 

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