2014 Michigan St. season preview with Steve Mariucci

steve mariucci

As has been well documented, NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci is a big time Michigan State guy and close personal friend of Tom Izzo. So when I caught up to Mariucci at NFL Network Media Day, I couldn’t help but talk some Sparty. After we discussed some NFL of course, Mariucci used to coach the San Francisco 49ers, and they play in the league’s toughest division, the NFC West.

So in this exclusive interview we talked about the Niners as well as the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.

Hey, the NFL is a copy cat league and right now everyone is trying to copy the winning hand possessed by the Seattle Seahawks. And that includes the Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams and even the Niners. But after we talk NFC West, we get into the MSU Spartans.

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Michigan State Basketball tries to duplicate 2000 NCAA Tournament run

michigan-state

For Michigan State basketball the NCAA Tournament journey begins in the friendly confines of the Detroit suburbs. The Michigan State drew Auburn Hills, Michigan for their regional, home of the Detroit Pistons. Obviously this is fantastic for Sparty. All the Michigan State basketball fans will already be right there. MSU has the most recent national title of any Big Ten team. And their bracket draw this year has some similarities with that magical 2000 run. This year, as well as that title year of 2000: Michigan St. played Valparaiso in their first tournament game. The road to the title included 2/3 same locations: Detroit and Indianapolis, both drivable locations for their rabid, often-intoxicated Michigan State fan base.

Tom Izzo certainly is “Mr. March” as Michigan State is 71-29 in March since 1998-99. Given the strength of the Big Ten this year, these Spartans will be more battle tested than usual. For officially the fourth time in Big Ten history, and third in the last five seasons, the Big Ten will send seven programs to the NCAA Tournament. It marks the sixth time in the last eight years that the Big Ten has had six or more teams in the bracket. Michigan State basketball always schedules extremely tough in the non-conference, making them ready for what really counts in March. They take their lumps in November and learn from them so that they can survive and advance into April

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2013 NCAA Tournament: Midwest Regional bracket breakdown

louisville big east champs

Warning: I will not be responsible if you copy these brackets and are out of your NCAA Tournament pool by Sunday.  However, if you do listen to my college basketball wisdom and win some money, I want 20% of the pot or at least a shout-out on your twitter or facebook page.

Louisville earned the number one overall seed in the entire tourney and is the top seed in the Midwest Regional.  With Duke and Michigan State in the region as well, it won’t be an easy ride to the Final Four for the Cardinals.

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Tom Izzo apologizes for AWFUL half of Michigan State basketball

tom izzo

When Tom Izzo greeted the media after an ugly come-from-behind Michigan State victory he rocked the mic right. His Spartans played such an AWFUL first half tonight that they were borderline unwatchable. They still managed to beat the Iowa Hawkeyes 59-56 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, despite scoring just 20 points in the first 20 minutes.

Tom Izzo did a Jimmy “B. Rabbit” Smith (Eminem’s character in “8 Mile”) style mic drop to end his postgame press conference.

“thanks for putting up with us tonight, see ya later,” is what Izzo said as he left the room. “Now we didn’t play good, but I’m telling you, you have to give Iowa a lot of credit for that. They made our life miserable tonight.”

Very true, Michigan State shot 26%, went 0-8 from three, 57% from the line in the first half. Tom Izzo is very well liked by the media because he can be self-deprecating and he stays grounded despite all that he’s accomplished (one national title, six Final Fours)

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Michigan State’s Tom Izzo wins humanitarian award

tom izzo

Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, an eight-time national Coach of the Year and the longest-tenured Big Ten men’s basketball coach ever, will be honored at the 2013 College Basketball Awards April 15 in Oklahoma City as the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award.

Izzo, who has spent nearly two decades as the head coach at Michigan State and has led his team to a national championship and six trips to the Final Four, will be honored the same night as the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year, Henry Iba Coach of the Year, and Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year. The event will be held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and is presented by Devon Energy and produced by Access Sports, an Oklahoma City based non-profit charitable foundation.

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Michigan State has many non-conference wins, but most with struggles

tom izzo michigan state

There’s no question that the teams of Tom Izzo are much better in March -when it counts- then November/December. But nothing has come easy for this Spartans team. It seems like every time they play inferior competition they struggle with them. They still win, but play way down to their level.

They did it again versus Texas, trailing in the second half. Yes, the Longhorns just knocked off a #23 ranked North Carolina team, but the Tar Heels are overrated. And UT has lost to Chaminade, USC, Georgetown and USC. State won of course, but the ‘Horns were down by just two down the stretch.

MSU’s struggles started with the upset to an inferior UConn team in Germany. They only beat Boise St. by four, not pulling away from Oakland until the closing minutes, beating Lousiana-Lafayette by just three, losing to unranked Miami team, they also trailed late in the second half to Loyola and Bowling Green. They’re just not dominating teams nor closing them out. By far, the highlight of the non-conference slate was the win over now #9 Kansas.

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Michigan State center Derrick Nix arrested, suspended indefinitely

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Michigan State center Derrick Nix has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Tom Izzo following a drug arrest early this morning.

The State News, MSU’s student newspaper, reported that the junior was arrested at 12:20 a.m. Tuesday morning in East Lansing “on charges of operating a vehicle with the presence of drugs and marijuana possession,” the paper reported.

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Michigan State 2012 season recap, 2013 look ahead

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As the first #1 seed to bow out of the NCAA tournament, the Michigan State Spartans can only look at all the improvements they made this season and see success.

The team finished with the number one SOS, 12 top-50 RPI wins, 16 top-100 RPI wins and 12 road/neutral wins in the nation’s top conference. They went from being unranked at the beginning of the season to earning a top seed in the post-season—if that’s not the true mark of improvement, then what is? [Read more…]

Incoming Michigan State recruit Gary Harris hits the big stage

Tom Izzo Angry About Illinois Firing Bruce Weber (audio)

Tom-Izzo

Tom Izzo had strong words for  University of Illinois’ Athletic Director Mike Thomas, who earlier today announced that Bruce Weber would no longer be the coach of the Fighting Illini.

Speaking as not only a close friend with Bruce Weber, but also as the president of the coaches association, Izzo was not at all happy with what precedent Thomas’ move may set for the coaching profession.

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Branden Dawson’s injury adds a dent in MSU Spartans’ depth