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Michigan State Basketball Notes and Quotes: Tom Izzo says, “I have been an underdog all my life”

In Monday’s press conference, Coach Izzo talked about Illinois, opportunity, and taking things one day at a time.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday afternoon, following the Michigan State Spartans’ big win over the Indiana Hoosiers, Coach Tom Izzo and junior guard/forward Aaron Henry spoke to the media via Zoom. A lot of the discussion was focused on the challenge that lies ahead as MSU prepares to face Illinois on Tuesday night at the Breslin Center.

The full media remarks can be viewed in the videos below, but given that our staff is short on time today, and this won’t be as detailed of a post as normal, here is just a quick list of some of the highlights from the event.

  • Coach Izzo shrugged off the idea that MSU had entered “one and done” territory. Both he and Henry repeatedly mentioned that the goal was to continue to get better and to take things one game and one day at a time.
  • Izzo mentioned that he had forgotten what it is like to be the “hunter” instead of the “hunted.” MSU has been fortunate over the past 25 years of usually being the team at or near the top. But, “I have been an underdog all my life,” Izzo said.
  • Junior point guard Foster Loyer continues to nurse a sore shoulder and will not play against Illinois on Tuesday. Michigan State is hoping to get him back later in the week.
  • As for sophomore guard Rocket Watts, Coach Izzo mentioned that he finally showed the potential on the floor against Indiana that he had been showing in practice for the last several weeks.
  • Henry and Izzo both talked a lot about the things that the Spartans did well in the win in Bloomington. They mentioned the importance of being connected, having a positive mindset, giving good and consistent effort, and playing smart. Coach Izzo said that if you do these things, the ball will find the bottom of the net more often that not.
  • Coach Izzo spoke for several minute on the importance of positive body language and passion in leaders. He feels that Josh Langford is really coming along in this area and that it has helped the team.
  • There was also a lot of discussion about the small lineup that MSU used (playing Aaron Henry at the four position) in the win against Indiana. Coach Izzo mentioned that this lineup is a potential weapon in the arsenal, but he is still focused on getting better play out of Joey Hauser and Malik Hall at the power forward position.
  • Toward the end of the call, Coach Izzo accused long time MSU beat writer Jack Ebling of trying to bait him into a fine by asking about Big Ten officiating.
  • The word the probably came up the most on Monday’s call was “opportunity.” With so many tough games remaining, there is the opportunity to still make this a successful season.

MSU will take the court next on Tuesday, Feb. 23 against Illinois. The game tips off at 7 p.m. on FS1.

Tom Izzo Full Remarks

Aaron Henry Full Remarks