EAST LANSING - A six pack of Tom Izzo quotes, from his weekly press conference from the Breslin Center:
1 - On Michigan State's shooting woes, especially from pure shooters like Korie Lucious:
"It's only driving me crazy because I've wasted a lot of my nights, instead of looking at my opponents, I've wasted a lot of my nights to make sure I'm not fooling myself on shot selection, whether shots are taken quickly, things like that. I don't know what percentage on those four five games when we really shot miserably, but I know at Illinois, I don't think I minded all but two shots. And if I can go through a game and be satisfied by all but two shots, that's almost a miracle.
"I do believe sooner or later you make em, if they're the same guys that have made them in the past. If you're talking freshmen that you don't know, that's a different story. If you're talking guys that have done it before, then I say that hitters will hit. Some of our shooters better hit, or be hit."
2 - On Michigan (11-9, 1-6):
"I think they're better than their record. I think in a lot of ways they're a better team than they were last year. I think they run their offense a lot better than they did last year. There's more continuity. he's got the kind of players that I think he wants to coach. He's got bigger guards that are playing well. Morris has been very good, getting people shots. Hardaway has improved. I think Douglass has improved a lot now, shooting from deeper range, taking the ball to the basket a little bit.
"They're shooting the ball better, probably still not where he wants it, but better in the Big Ten probably than it was in the non-conference. They're a very good free throw shooting team (that) doesn't get there very often. And rebounding has maybe still been an issue for them somewhat in some games."
3 - On the Spartans' current standings in the Big Ten race:
"Remember last year, we're 9-0. 9-0. And we had to beat Purdue down there the second to last game of the season to share a Big Ten title. Everybody was ready to give it to us and I said 'Wait a minute'. The schedule was kind of in our favor last year. The schedule has been in Ohio State's favor. I don't think anybody would argue that. Now that was a big win they had (over Illinois), but up until that game, the schedule was definitely in their favor this year.
"I think like I've tried to say, everybody's got issues that are different. I think if Ohio State has one major negative, let them get one injury, which happens to all of us, and that could change that team enormously. Enormously."
4 - On coaching players today (read: Durrell Summers)
"Some people need to be pushed. Some people need to be challenged. And some people need to be on morning, noon and night. It is hard to do that now though and it's hard because of the social media. I mean just think, John Calipari gets...I mean personally, no matter if anybody likes him or not, I think he's done an unbelievable job coaching these last two teams, because he's had a couple of guys, including the one he went after and that center last year, which I think he'd be better off putting a saddle on him and riding him every day to have a chance, and he's done it, well. But he has to apologize because you get on somebody?
"You know, with you own kids you do it, but it's behind close doors. With your team you used to do it but it was in the locker room. Now, there are no doors on anything. We're all naked. And so, I said it to you guys, I think it's harder to discipline kids. Not because of kids, but because if I did now what I did to Morris Peterson, I'd probably be shoveling snow in the UP. Probably be a hell of a lot happier."
5 - On preseason expectations and championship goals:
"We're always playing for a Big Ten Championship. We're always playing for a deep run in the NCAA tournament. But, we haven't won a Big Ten Championship a couple of times and have gotten to a Final Four. We haven't won a Big Ten Championship a couple of times and have made a deep run in the NCAA tournament. And that's why I said there's still so many things to play for.
"And if tomorrow the Big Ten race was out, I wouldn't change how I feel about anything. I wouldn't change...you know, we're so out of whack sometimes, me too, that we just think every year we should win the Big Ten Championship, we should go to a Final Four. I mean, you all know it, that's what we think. Well, you know what? Like I said, once in a while it's good to get punched in the mouth and realize that maybe you complain about the media, you complain about fans, you complain about players getting fat and sassy. Maybe as a coach you do too, because yeah, I state that as our goal, but it is our goal. Want me to lie to you at the beginning?
"Now if anybody in this room would have asked me 'Are you the second best team in the country?' at the beginning of the year, I would have said 'Are you crazy?'. Of course we're not. We don't have Allen and (Raymar), and with the injuries and all the things, but I didn't want to be some guys that I know and cry about where we were ranked. I liked it. I enjoyed it. I thought that was a compliment to the team. I guess I didn't realize, and this is back to the Boeheim theory, but you don't realize the impact that it does have on your players."
6 - On the motivation of Durrell Summers
"I told Durrell at halftime, 'You don't guard better, your playing days might be done here'. And you know what? That kid had his best half of defense that he's played since he's been here. So if somebody catches me swearing on TV to him, grin and bear it, because that's the way it's going to be.
"He did an incredible job the second half. He really honestly did. You would hope that by your senior year that that is a personal issue with yourself, that you have to motivate yourself. Maybe I assume by then that that's what it is. As I'm learning, that's not the way it is. And so I will respond accordingly."
">VIDEO - Tom Izzo: Michigan Prep