EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -Michigan State has reached its goal, advancing to the Final Four in nearby Detroit. Coach Tom Izzo, though, insists the Spartans won't be content to simply show up against Connecticut.
``I'm not satisfied,'' Izzo said Tuesday. ``The ride there is great, but I have done the one thing that 44 other guys, whatever the number is now, have done: I have been a part of winning it.
``As great as getting there is, it doesn't even compare to that one shining moment night. And I plan on getting there again.''
The top-seeded Huskies, with 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet and star guard A.J. Price, stand in Izzo's path to a second national title Saturday night
The second-seeded Spartans earned a spot in their fifth Final Four since 1999 - the most of any school the past 11 seasons - after upsetting top-seeded Louisville on Sunday in the Midwest Regional final.
e bit of an emotional high now,'' Izzo said. ``If we continue that, use that to our advantage, I think you can play a little bit better than you actually are. If you think you've accomplished everything, then that goes right out the window. So that will be interesting to see in the next couple of practices.
``It was a great win against Louisville, but again, it wasn't a David-and-Goliath win,'' he added. ``We are a two seed, not a 12 seed. That's what I'm making sure my team knows.''
Still, Izzo acknowledged it will be a challenge to keep his team hungry. Its mission this season was to end the season in the home of the Detroit Lions, and that's been accomplished. There's also the challenge of ticket requests - the game is just a 90-mile drive from campus.
Magic Johnson, who famously lifted the Spartans to a national title over Larry Bird-led Indiana State 30 years ago, has told Izzo and his players that handling the distractions will be important.
Izzo said he wishes he could tell his players to leave their cell phones in East Lansing, but joked that would be like telling them to leave their hearts at home.
He didn't have some of the same problems when Michigan State traveled to the Final Four in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2005, but he's not complaining.
national title in 2000 over Florida in Indianapolis. ``I don't think Thabeet gives a damn about any of those, but I do. Maybe we can play a little bigger, a little taller and a little better than we actually are.''
Michigan State began the season ranked No. 6 and slipped to No. 18, in part because it lost to North Carolina by 35 points at Ford Field. The Spartans closed the regular season in the top 10 and won the Big Ten title by four games.
The Spartans won 30 games because their depth made up for various players being hurt, sick or inconsistent.
To beat Connecticut, they'll probably need each player at least approaching his potential. Third-seeded Villanova, coached by Jay Wright, faces a similar task against top-seeded North Carolina.
``I talked to Jay Wright yesterday. He said we understand the best two teams going in are UConn and North Carolina,'' Izzo said. ``Everybody talks like it's such a big advantage or disadvantage. We've been a two seed. We've been a top-10 team all year. It's not like we just came on at the end. In the end, that doesn't have anything to do with the score. We're gonna show up.''
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