Izzo welcomes high expectations

michigan state tom izzo college basketball odds news

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State is expected to have one of college basketball's best teams this season, and Tom Izzo is embracing the hype.

View NCAA Futures Odds

``I'm excited about it,'' the coach said Friday before the first practice of his 19th season.

The Spartans are without one player, center Derrick Nix, from last season's squad that won 27 games, finished second in the Big Ten and advanced to the NCAA tournament's round of 16.

``I think we deserve to be a highly ranked team,'' Izzo said. ``But I think there are a lot of other teams that do, too.

``Hopefully, we can live up to those expectations.''

It's a much earlier start for practice for Michigan State than last season, because of a new NCAA rule.

``This is a different experience, this is strange,'' Izzo said. ``We're starting 21 days earlier than we did last year. I think there's pluses to it.

``I was a fan of it because I think it gives us a chance that we don't have to get our players going and just kill them in the first week or two. ... It is almost an NBA season now, just not as many games.''

Sophomore guard Denzel Valentine didn't participate because of a hand infection.

``We don't know if he got a spider bite or what, but his hand swelled up,'' Izzo said.

Sophomore guard Gary Harris was limited because of a sprained ankle. Last year, he was slowed by shoulder and back injuries.

``It's so early in the year, I think he's a week away from doing anything physical,'' Izzo said.

The rest of the Spartans were put through a relatively difficult workout. And when Izzo wanted to give his players an extra push, he called on the hundreds of students, who are camping out for tickets, to cheer and jeer them as needed.

Michigan State opens the regular season Nov. 8 against McNeese State, four days before playing Kentucky, another team expected to be ranked high. The Spartans also will play North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Texas before Big Ten play.

While Izzo is fired up about his talented and experienced roster, he isn't sure who his leaders will be this season.

``We just actually met for an hour about it,'' Izzo said before practice.
None of the four returning starters - Adreian Payne, Keith Appling, Branden Dawson or Harris - is considered a natural leader, but Izzo wants at least one of them to become more vocal.

``I'm not into leading by example at all,'' Izzo said. ``Cop out. Hate it. Despise it.''

Bet NCAA Futures Odds

Want More From TheSpread.com? Follow us on Twitter and Facebook or Subscribe to Our News Feeds!

 

Loading...

College Basketball Predictions

Thumbnail Villanova vs. Providence Prediction No. 10 Villanova will look to build some momentum heading into the Big East tournament with a win over Providence on Saturday afternoon but will the Wildcats...
Thumbnail Indiana vs. Purdue Prediction Big Ten rivals meet in West Lafayette, IN on Saturday afternoon when No. 23 Purdue hosts a struggling Indiana team at 2:00 p.m. ET. Are the Boilermakers a safe play as a...
Thumbnail Alabama vs. Georgia Prediction No. 8 Alabama is favored on the road Saturday afternoon in Georgia but the Bulldogs have made it a habit throughout the season of playing up and down to their...
Thumbnail OK State vs. West Virginia Prediction No. 17 Oklahoma State will tussle with No. 6 West Virginia at 2:00 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon in a battle of Big 12 rivals. Will the Mountaineers cover as a...
Thumbnail Florida State vs. Notre Dame Prediction No. 11 Florida State will attempt to not be tripped up by a struggling Notre Dame squad on Saturday afternoon when the ACC foes meet at 12:00 p.m. ET. Will...

NCAAB Headlines