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March 21, 2012

Best game ever?

Chane Behanan, the freshman forward who gets to guard Draymond Green tomorrow night, has me excited for this MSU-Louisville game.

    “Each team has incredibly fast (point) guards," the 6-7, 250-pound Behanan said. "Each team has two good shooters. Each team has a four-man who can play inside and out. And big, athletic centers. It might be one of the best games ever played in college basketball."

    Behanan thought about that for a minute and said: "At least in this year."

    That's more like it. One thing that impressed me when talking to the Louisville players was their knowledge of the Spartans. Behanan was going up and down the MSU roster, talking Wood, Thornton and other guys that aren't on his specific scouting report. It was obvious that Peyton Siva has watched a lot of Keith Appling film. In other words, it was the opposite of talking to North Carolina players before an NCAA Tournament game. But I'm sure that has nothing to do with the fact that Roy Williams should have at least three times as many national titles as he has.

    Also today:

    * Rick Pitino was asked about previously advising Tom Izzo to stay at MSU and shun the pros.

    "The Coach Ks of the world, the Tom Izzos of the world, the Billy Donovans, they're a true treasure for these kids," Pitino said. "I mean, just the life lessons these coaches teach these young men. I don't suggest any college coach go to the pros. There's a misconception that college guys can't coach in the pros. They can't coach in the pros because they get horse$#& jobs."

    Yes, he really said it.

    "Excuse my language," he said. "Horse something else."

    Anyway, point taken.

    * And speaking of life lessons, Tom Izzo told reporters today that a missed class assignment contributed to the decision to leave Branden Dawson home. Dawson was all packed but walked home off the bus after the bus got to the top of the tunnel at Breslin.

    "Definitely a tough lesson," Draymond Green said of Dawson. "But at the end of the day, it'll help him out as a player and it'll help the program out as well."

    "I talked to B.J. but I didn’t ask him about it," Derrick Nix said of the decision. "I don’t think he wanted to talk about it.”

    * Izzo mentioned that Travis Trice has been able to take some tape off his right foot, though Trice said not much has changed with the foot. But he moved well during MSU's shootaround and was able to dunk with ease. Speaking of that, Adreian Payne had the best dunk of the day, a monster windmill, but Brandon Wood would have stolen the show if he could have completed an under-the-leg windmill attempt.

    Thanks to posters Trophy and I Believe for approaching me after the practice to say hi. It's good to see some of you getting together for this event, hopefully I'll be able to catch up with you at some point.

    * Mark Hollis and Greg Ianni were able to catch a Diamondbacks game Tuesday (Kirk Gibson threw water and sunflowers seeds to them in the stands), and Gibson is expected at Thursday's game along with Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Steve Mariucci. John Smoltz is trying to make it, Hollis said. Hollis said there are a few tickets available still through the MSU ticket office, if anyone can get to Arizona real fast.

    * Rick Pitino confirmed what Tom Izzo said Monday -- that Louisville is not going to deviate from its pressing identity in this game.

    "Michigan State is as good a running team as there is in college basketball," Pitino said. "And we got our guys to this point by pressing and running, and we're not going to change because the other team may be a little better on the backboard and try to take possessions away. We're going to let them go out there. ... We're going to run with them. They obviously are a better backboard team. But we're going to make it that type of basketball game. We do not want to play slow against Michigan State."

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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