Thursday, February 2, 2023

Izzo talks short turnaround, Sunday matchup at Indiana

January 20, 2023
<p>Spartan Men&#x27;s Basketball coach Tom Izzo speaks of the upcoming basketball season during the media day on Oct. 10, 2022.</p>

Spartan Men's Basketball coach Tom Izzo speaks of the upcoming basketball season during the media day on Oct. 10, 2022.

Photo by Olivia Hans | The State News

Head Men's Basketball Coach Tom Izzo spoke with the media after practice Friday afternoon to discuss this Sunday’s game against Indiana and the quick turnaround from Thursday's win against Rutgers.  

In Michigan State's 70-57 win against Rutgers, freshman forward Jaxon Kohler had his best game of his young career. He earned his first collegiate double-double, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds while playing a career high 23 minutes. With junior center Mady Sissoko and freshman center Carson Cooper also having strong showings, MSU may finally be developing a solid rotation of bigs. 

“Jaxon was encouraging last night, but Carson's been encouraging,“ Izzo said. “I think what's cool is we're probably going to need all three.”

Izzo had no update on the health status of senior forward Malik Hall. He is not wearing the boot anymore, but the team is choosing to ease him into things and not rush progress. 

“He’s got to do some things to see if it bothers him, the hard part is it’s going to bother him,” Izzo said. “I feel good that the doctor feels it’s in good shape.”

This Sunday at noon, MSU is hitting the road to head down to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers. It’s another quick turnaround for the Spartans, who just played against a Top 25 conference foe last Thursday.

“We should know it like the back of our hand - the problem is, it does wear on you as you go on,” Izzo said.

To counter potential fatigue from such a quick turnaround, Izzo and the coaching staff let the team rest a bit more than usual. 

“We didn’t have a live walkthrough, it was just deader than a doornail. The guys were great, but we didn't have a long film session,” Izzo said. “A football coach once told me a healthy guy not as prepared is better than a prepared guy that’s not healthy.”

After a rough start to the season, Indiana seems to have figured things out a bit. The Hoosiers have won two in the row against solid Big Ten opponents.

The most recent win was an impressive 80-65 rivalry victory on the road against Illinois. In that win, Indiana’s senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis dominated, scoring 35 points. He is one of the primary areas of concern for Izzo heading into Sunday’s matchup. 

“He’s got sick athleticism, as far as blocking shots, getting rebounds, making spin moves, finishing, running the court,” Izzo said. “Elite for a guy his size.”

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