Tom Izzo may have been rocking the casual look on Tuesday, but his demeanor was anything but that.
Social media blew up as Izzo used his halftime interview to blast his entire team – Matt Costello for being "on the bus," in particular – and called out his seniors for a lack of coaching.
It was perplexing at the time. The Spartans had a five-point lead, and while it was sloppy at times, his point that "not one player" was having a good night seemed like a stretch. Denzel Valentine had 12 points, Eron Harris made three of his four buckets, as he and Bryn Forbes had seven points apiece.
Simply put, Izzo wasn’t mad because of what had happened. He was mad because he knew what could be happening.
The message was well received. The Spartans exploded in the second half, rolling past an Ohio State team that’s been on a rollercoaster all season long but had four straight wins.
Costello got off the bus, finishing with 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Forbes exploded for 27 points, draining seven triples.
Valentine had a pedestrian night by his standards, chipping in 17 with eight assists and five rebounds.
What it boils down to is the eternal battle this team has been facing all season long: what it can be vs. what it is at times.
The first half was bad because Izzo had a lot of great film to compare. When he exploded, the team flicked the switch and gave him more of that tape. Over 54 percent shooting from the field. Fourteen triples. A 45-point second half outburst and a 19-point win over a well-coached rival on the road.
MSU is off until a Sunday matinee with Penn State, so expect two things: an attempt at extra minutes for Tum Tum Nairn and a team that, if it learned its lesson Tuesday, will go for the throat early.