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Izzo talks road trip to Columbus, NBA trade deadline

February 9, 2023
<p>Senior forward Malik Hall (25) gives a hand signal to one of his teammates on Feb. 7, 2023. The Spartans defeated the Terps with a score of 63-58.</p>

Senior forward Malik Hall (25) gives a hand signal to one of his teammates on Feb. 7, 2023. The Spartans defeated the Terps with a score of 63-58.

Photo by Jonah Brown | The State News

Ahead of Michigan State’s road trip to Columbus, head coach Tom Izzo discussed the matchup against Ohio State as well as the recent blockbuster NBA trade, partially put together by former MSU basketball player and new Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia. 

The Spartans are coming off a 63-58 Tuesday night win over Maryland that came down to the wire. MSU won’t be back in action until Sunday, giving the squad a bit of extra time to practice and rest. 

“It was a good practice today,” Izzo said. “I think there’s a little freshness to them, which I think is really important right now.”

Senior forward Malik Hall, still slowly rehabilitating his left foot injury, had a quiet seven points against the Terrapins. However, that tepid showing can be partially attributed to missing practice the day before. 

Following the win over Maryland, Hall seems to be a bit more comfortable - for now. 

“He had a good day today and made it through the whole practice, that was encouraging,” Izzo said.

A healthy Hall will be key for MSU against Ohio State. While OSU’s season hasn’t gone quite as expected, the Buckeyes are still a talented team with plenty of potential. 

“If you look at Ohio State, it’s a strange team,” Izzo said. “They’ve really got some talent and early on they were ranked.”

Plus, nearly every conference matchup is key down the stretch. While Purdue is poised to secure the regular season title, the standings are a jumbled mess below. 

MSU will need to collect every win it can to ensure quality seeding come the Big Ten Tournament. 

“I’ve been in this league 39 years and I don’t ever remember it clogged like it is now,” Izzo said. “I just think there’s a lot more really good teams, maybe not as many great teams, but definitely not any poor teams.”

In more national news, Ishbia’s newly-acquired Suns made headlines around this weekend, acquiring star forward Kevin Durant. 

“You’ve got Chris Paul there right now, you’ve got Booker there, you’ve got some people - Ayton,” Izzo said. “That league is now to the point where you need to strike while the iron’s hot and while you’ve got your personnel in place.”

The billionaire and former MSU walk-on recently acquired the Suns, paying over $2 billion for the franchise. Just a few days into his stint as owner, Ishbia is already making massive moves. 

“Nothing like starting off making a splash,” Izzo said. “I thought it was a great move.”

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