December 7, 2012

Hoop Feed: Izzo talks Dallas, film & practice

EAST LANSING - Less than 24 hours after criticizing his team for lacking intensity in the second half of 76-44 victory over Arkansas Pine Bluff, Tom Izzo said the film was just as bad, in parts, as he thought it was when he watched it live.

However, he did have some compliments to go along with it, as well as a forward-looking attitude on things when speaking about Wednesday's game after Thursday's practice at Breslin Center.

The film didn't look any different, any better, any worse?

"No," Izzo said. "I was very impressed with our first half, very disappointed with our second half.

"This was one of the games that I was totally upset in the middle of it, and totally upset after, and totally upset a day later, and now it's time to move on.

"At times we were really, really, really good and at times we were just going through the motions. Conventional wisdom would say, well, you're 35 up, that's what should happen. It would be different if this team had played to a high level early. They hadn't; they knew it. It's inexcusable now as we move forward because we don't have that many more games before it gets really critical in the Big Ten."

Hungrier Nix?

Among other things, Izzo said the Spartans need to get more productivity out of their big men.

"(Derrick) Nix has to be hungrier to score more," Izzo said. "And we have to get Keith Appling more shots. That wasn't all him. That falls on me and us."

Nix had just six points on 2-of-3 shooting, to go with five rebounds.

Appling had 9 points on 2-of-5 shooting.

Izzo said after Wednesday's game that he wished he had moved Appling to the two guard for a few shifts, to get the junior guard more shots from the wing while Travis Trice was excelling at point guard.

During Thursday's practice, Izzo was upbeat, but still demanding.

"He was pretty cool today," Nix said. "He was frustrated after the game. We had some stupid turnovers. We didn't execute our zone offense as well as we needed to. But he gets over it, and we have to take blame for that."

We See What You Mean, Coach

The Spartans had 19 turnovers against Arkansas Pine Bluff, reverted back to the sloppy play that the Spartans had in messy victories over Louisiana-Lafayette and Oakland in late November. MSU had 20 turnovers in each of those games.

"The turnovers, again, guys trying to do too much, guys trying to do things they shouldn't do," Izzo said.

At halftime of Wednesday's game, Izzo allowed Big Ten Network cameras to broadcast live more than five mintues of his intermission address to his team.

As part of his address, he look at sophomore power forward Branden Dawson and told him he can't try to spin and take time to try too many things when operating at the high post against Arkansas Pine Bluff's zone offense.

But on Dawson's very first touch at the high post in the second half, Dawson attempted a spin dribble drive ... and had the ball taken from him. Izzo could only grimmace.

Cowboys Stadium Game?

On Thursday, news leaked out of Dallas that Michigan State is making progress toward finalizing the latest unique Mark Hollis sporting event, featuring the Spartans playing on one of four basketball courts, simultaneously, to kick off the basketball season next year at Cowboys Stadium, the 80,000-seat home of Dallas's NFL team. The game would commemorate Veteran's Day.

Hollis has brainstormed publicly about the vision of having teams play on side-by-side courts in the past, possibly with Ford Field as the venue. But his eye has wandered to the NFL's most modern stadium for this enterprise.

Hollis began speaking with Cowboys Stadium officials about the idea a month ago when in Dallas for the unveiling of the 2014 Final Four logo. Hollis was at the unveiling as a member of the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

"We are intrigued by the idea and are in the early stages of exploring many details that would go into making an event like this a reality," Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Charlotte Anderson told ESPN.

Cowboys Stadium hosted its first college basketball game on Dec. 19, 2009, when Texas beat North Carolina 103-90 in front of 38,052 fans. In 2010, the stadium hosted the NBA All-Star Game.

Izzo said he isn't surprised to see another Hollis brainchild begin to come to fruition. "He's like the mad scientist. He's diabolical. The guy is whacked out, what can I say?"

Izzo's teams have played at Ford Field in The BasketBowl, which featured a stadium configuration that was the first of its kind; on a U.S. aircraft carrier; and last month opened the season playing in an air force hangar on a U.S. military base in Germany.

"As long as I don't have to fly to Germany and come back and play a game a couple of days later, that would be great with me, whatever they decide. I'm all in," Izzo said. "I'm into playing in things that are unique and that would be unique and I'm sure it would be a hell of a game, whoever they get us in with.

"He talked to me about it two years ago, and some of these things I blow off. The Greece thing, you kind of blow off but it is probably going to happen."

The "Greece thing" is the idea of Michigan State returning to the origins of Sparta to play another game on European soil, perhaps against USC. Hollis might have to save that one for 2014.

MSU is already slated to play Kentucky in Chicago on the Tuesday after the weekend that is being mentioned as the date for the event in Dallas. MSU will play Kentucky as part of the Champions Classic.

Izzo isn't worried about the turn-around.

"Been there, done that," Izzo said. "At least it wouldn't be many different time zones, in fact it would be the same time zone. That's a hell of a way to start. At least next year I'll have some veterans and that will make it a little better in the preseason, and now I think I have a better idea on how to handle these kind of things. I think I understand it a little better and I'll do a better job of it."

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