Dec. 19, 2009
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Michigan State vs. IPFW
December 19th, 2009
MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo
It was kind of a strange game and you have to give them credit for them coming back when we had them down 17 points in the first half. If anyone ever tries to put athletes in a position where they are treated like the normal student, I want to tell you that you are insane. Our guys went through a lot this week, and to have to take nine days off and then we had finals and it was nerve racking for me. We had 11 finals yesterday and I think we as basketball coaches, presidents and facility, we have to start figuring out what's fair for the student athlete because this wasn't. I'm not sure if Dane (Fife) had finals this week, or if it was fair for him. Our team looked lethargic, stat wise we did a pretty good job, but we just ran out of gas and got into foul trouble. All in all, for nine days off I think I'll give Dane some credit for having his kids bounce back and they did an incredible job. He absolutely destroyed us shooting 50 percent from the line. I thought Raymar (Morgan) was our shining star and he had four assists right off the bat and our first four baskets. Kalin (Lucas) played pretty well, if I was him I think I would be fist fighting some of my other players because you can't get a double-double in assists if no one makes shots. Even though we shot 50 percent I though we passed up some shots and just didn't make some shots where he deserved an assist for. Those two guys I thought played well, and Delvon (Roe) I think had better stats than he played, I was disappointed in our rebounding a little bit but all in all I thought we looked tired. I understand why and that's disappointing. Maybe I'll start being like Paul Hewitt from Georgia Tech and vote for basketball to be a one semester sport so we can put our true grit behind academics instead of the phony way we approach it.
On if this finals week different from pervious...
We had eight and 11 finals in the past two days, and a lot of times we don't have any the last two days. Kalin had two yesterday and we practiced sparingly during the week. Like I said, there are so many people that write, report, talk on talk radio, about how much the athletes get you better start realizing to be an athlete they don't get treated like the regular students at all. It's a lot harder and I'm sick of tired of hearing it the other way so I'm on a little binge about that.
On not having the Izzone there today...
I have to say this to the Christmas fans here, I have been a little disappointed with the crowds and there have been a lot of no-shows up until now. The Students have been great, but there have been a lot of no-shows too. I thought the place was packed today and there was some energy. It was a strange game because we really never got in a flow and got it going even after that 17-point lead. Delvon had that one and one and we missed then and just stopped checking after that. We didn't give the fans a chance and I think they hung in there pretty well. It has been amazing the last couple years because sometime the holiday fans have been a little bit better. I don't mean that in noise but definitely in turnout. Top programs I think players deserve to have fans in the stands even if that means giving your ticket away to somebody.
IPFW Head Coach Dane Fife
Ultimately, Michigan State did what they do best. I thought they pounded us on the glass in the second half, they pounded it into the post and threw it over the top of us. That led to our demise. We made some really silly turnovers in the second half. We did a great job of fighting back in the first half and cutting it to seven. Their guys are 6'6" or 6'6" and 250 while our guys are 6'2" or 6'3" and 195, so when you're trying to guard that constantly for 40 minutes it wears on you. I thought we got tired and were a couple men down, but this is kind of what we expected out of Michigan State. They do what they do and they got it done today.
On his relationship with Tom Izzo...
Coach has meant everything to me and my family and I know he'll always take the opportunity to say how he recruited the whole family for about ten years and nobody came to Michigan State to play for him. I almost did when I was a player at Indiana and [Bob] Knight got fired. He has been everything for me. He has been probably the person that has been the most influential in terms of what I do as a coach. When I first decided that I wanted to be a college coach, Coach Izzo had me come meet him in his office. He has been willing to call recruits for us and you just don't see that very much. It's not just me, Coach Izzo does that for a lot of people. In terms of my coaching career, I would say right now Coach Izzo has been the one that has been there for me. He has wanted to help me and asked what he can do to make my situation better. That's just rare, you just don't see that a lot.
On comparing this year's Michigan State team to years past...
It seems like I say the same thing every year. They are so physical. Draymond Green and [Delvon] Roe knock our guys over by just moving. When our guys need to set a screen or move a guy, they have to get all their weight behind them and shove their guys. They are all built like NFL linebackers. I think their physicality and how tough they play really causes people problems. Losing Travis [Walton] and Goran [Suton], they are taking some to gel as every team is at this point. I think this will be a typical, traditional Michigan State team and in the end they are going to have a chance at winning the national championship.