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Men's Basketball
Post Game Quotes Against Belmont
Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo
Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo

Dec. 19, 2006

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Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo
Opening Statement...
Well I think you would have to declare us not a very good basketball team right now. We are definitely struggling. We found a way to win thanks to Drew (Neitzel), but we really are not doing a lot of things very well. To turn the ball over that many times against that team is not very good, and the rebounding hasn't been very good, and the big guys aren't guarding very good, and Travis (Walton) is struggling a little bit, so I think we've covered everything but Drew (Neitzel). He played pretty well and he has so much pressure on him.

On practice and preparation ...
I don't know why we are playing like we are. We had two great practices and we didn't just leave it on the practice court because we spent a lot of time talking about things. I haven't worked them as hard and we haven't had the two-a-days, all the things that I think has made us a great program. I've put a downgrade on it and I'm very disappointed with our inside guys - I didn't think we covered at all tonight. I think you got to go deep to say we did well in any spots tonight, except they are a decent team and they are well coached. We are going to have to do a lot better. At least we found a way to win, and that's the mark of a decent team. But it really has been disappointing the last few games how we have responded.

On the crowd...
I brought up the crowd a few weeks ago, and I think it has been a lot better than our team. There have been a lot more people in here and they should be disappointed and I should be getting ripped for stating something if I can't back it up. That's my job so I'm going to work a little harder at it, and I'm disappointed and now I'm going to try and do something about it.

Belmont Head Coach Rick Byrd
Opening statement...
I was proud of our team. I thought we played very hard. We just had a real difficult time scoring the basketball in the second half. Like the game with Illinois, which wasn't quite as competitive, the way we play with four out and one in, trying to throw the ball in the post and score first, it's a little easier to do at our level of play and our conference than it is when you can't score as well. We've played with Big Ten centers, and SEC centers and at UCLA last year. It's an effective style, we were close to leading the country in field goal percentage last year. So it's good for where we play, but sometimes it makes it tough. I thought Michigan State played very hard and very physical in the second half.

On Neitzel's three pointer as the shot clock ran out with the score tied at 38-38...
What was that, like 36 seconds into the shot clock? It was a huge basket, but I don't know how players react to that stuff psychologically. I know I don't really, you just have to coach the next possession and you have to play the next possession. He had to throw a runner up and they got the offensive rebound. I thought we defended pretty darn well and I think just in general his second half offensively made the difference and their defense in the second half. But if he scores two like he did in the first half I like our chances.

On the difference with Neitzel and MSU between the first and second half...
I don't know if it was as much us, or if it was him not making some of the shots. It's amazing how they say you play well when the shots go in and you don't play well when they don't go in. I think it's some of that, and he missed some pretty decent looks in the first half. I think Tom Izzo probably said that they needed to get him some space and they were physical on their screens and it was hard. Then you try to get up in them and try to get your hands away and we got a couple of those calls. It's just really hard to guard them, but they did a better job of getting better looks. They ran a couple of little things that I didn't do a good job of getting our team prepared for. They did a little off the ball screen, back of the ball screen, rolled and got maybe two dunks off that, and that's maybe my fault for not having us ready for that.

On his overall impression of Michigan State...
I was impressed with Michigan State's team, and young men, and the way they play hard and keep their mouths shut and line up and shake your hand. It's a sign of a great program when you see what I saw out there today. I really appreciate that.




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