Lupe Izzo has become as much a fixture at Michigan State games as Tom has, with TV cameras frequently finding her in the crowd during important games. The Izzo family also is famously hospitable to former players, who often crash on the Izzos' coach when they are in town, so she undoubtedly has countless great stories about MSU basketball over the years. Grantland's Davy Rothbard recently caught up with her for an interview on a variety of topics, including the 2000 national championship:
Mateen had a really strong personality and was awesome with his teammates. Basically, he became a player-coach. Tom just sat back and let him talk to the other players, since Mateen had known Morris and some of the others since they were little kids. He knew how to speak to them in deeply personal ways to inspire them and give them the will to win. A.J. Granger was also a special part of that team, along with Antonio Smith, who had graduated the year before but had been with those guys since grade school. This was still early in Tom's career, and winning it all was incredible — the school's first championship since Magic Johnson was there in 1979. It's because of those special players and their families that Tom has been able to have the success that he's had.
Part two of the interview is here. More links after the jump.
Draymond Green might be the nation's best player to Tom Izzo, but the All-American is still learning to handle success | MLive.com
Draymond Green wasn't prepared for all the attention he's received this season: "When you hear about those things, I'm not really the type that's about individual awards, but those are great accomplishments," Green said. "When you hear about those things, of course you want them to happen. "I'm sitting there thinking what can possibly happen, what can possibly go wrong. It was really stopping me from being me, being the happy person that I am around my teammates, just always having a smile on my face."
MSU notebook: Freshmen Brandan Kearney, Travis Trice learning in NCAA spotlight | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
Green helped Brandan Kearney learn from his bench meltdown: "I mean, I know what he was going through," Green said. He wanted to let Kearney know that "you have to be careful because, (although) we all know what was wrong with you, we know you were upset with yourself, it won't be perceived like that. Perception is reality." Green continued: "You have to be very careful of controlling your emotions, because it can look as you're coming off as a bad apple, bad teammate. It wasn't that. It was completely opposite."
Michael Rosenberg: Michigan State usually steers clear of upsets under Tom Izzo | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
Nice read from Rosenberg on why Tom Izzo teams are hard to upset in the early rounds: "Izzo's tournament preparation is certainly a factor -- he and his staff give players teaspoons of information throughout the day during the tournament, instead of shovels full. Then there are the two chief characteristics of an Izzo team: great rebounding, which (unlike great shooting) rarely slumps, and the ability to play fast or slow. It is harder for a smaller program to frustrate an Izzo team, because the Spartans are comfortable playing almost any way. And because of Izzo's famously tough scheduling, Michigan State usually has faced most styles of play by March."
SLAM ONLINE | " The Spartans and Wolfpack Own Columbus
More national recognition of how good Green is: "Draymond Green is the best college basketball player in America. It needs to be said, and it’s something that I can stand up and say without any hesitation. Michigan State’s Draymond Green is the best player in college basketball. Kentucky’s Anthony Davis might be the most dominant player in college hoops, but there’s no question that no one can do all of the things that Green can. In the first two games of the tournament, the Dancing Bear has averaged 20 points, 12.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists, all while shooting 57 percent from the field and 50 percent (4-8) from three-point range. This isn’t a new revelation for the supporters of Green and the Spartans, we’ve seen it all year. What will be impressive is Green’s ability to maintain such a high level of play as the competition intensifies more and more. In five Sparty losses, Green shot just 32.4 percent from the field. Tom Izzo’s frontcourt has emerged into quite the formidable force over the course of the season, and even if Green struggles other players like Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix can pick up the slack."
A Look Back At 30 Years Of March Madness TV Graphics
Not really MSU related, but Deadspin has a cool slideshow at the evolution of March Madness graphics: "That having been said, the format and amount of information displayed onscreen during March Madness has changed enormously over the past 30 years. Here, then, is how the visual representation of the NCAA Tournament has evolved in the last three decades."