EAST LANSING - Tom Izzo can't wait for Tuesday's match-up between No. 1 ranked Kentucky (2-0) and No. 2 ranked Michigan State (1-0).
"Well, it doesn't get any better than this," said Izzo during his Monday afternoon press conference. "I'm not sure I've been as excited about an opportunity as this in a long, long time. I just think it's great for college basketball, it's great for the media, great for the fans, great for the programs. And as I said, no matter what the outcomes of the game are, I think all teams will benefit in some way shape or form."
Transition defense, rebounding, and staying out of foul trouble are points of emphasis for Michigan State.
"They're very good in the open court," said Izzo. "The Harrisons are extremely versatile there and probably the x-factor is Randle. At 6-9, handles the ball almost as much as the two guards. My second one would be the rebounding. There such a big team with the guards at 6-6 and 6-9 and 7-foot inside. The rebounding will be a factor. And the third one in all honesty is the foul situation."
Izzo hopes his team gets to the free-throw line with more frequency against Kentucky than they did during exhibition play and the season opener against McNeese State last Friday. Lack of free throws in those tune-up games had a lot to do with the amount of zone defense that Michigan State saw.
Izzo would like to get more post touches for Adreian Payne and his other bigs.
"I didn't think we got the ball inside enough and settling a little bit too much," said Izzo. "We had some open looks and we shot pretty well, so again there's reasons for it, but those would be two areas I think we have to improve on quickly if we're going to compete with a team like this."