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March 19, 2012

Izzo expects Pitino to mad-dog it

Tom Izzo just had a presser in East Lansing, a day after a grinding win over Saint Louis -- check out our gamer with video, rail, sidebar on Appling the shooter and photo gallery -- and three days before a very different kind of game could emerge between MSU and Louisville in Phoenix. I was skeptical about that before listening to Izzo today, but he thinks the Cardinals will be more aggressive in this game than they were in 2009.

    That team, Izzo said, could "beat you in different ways," pressed early and backed off when it was clear Kalin Lucas and Co. could break it easily. This team, he said, is more devoted to getting after people and needs to do that more than the 2009 team did. If that's how it turns out, get ready for an entertaining Thursday.

    Also:

    * Incoming MSU recruit Matt Costello has been named Mr. Basketball, and Izzo said he's "ecstatic" about it.

    * The USBWA chose Anthony Davis for the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year, while Draymond Green is one of four finalists for the Naismith (Davis, Thomas Robinson, Doug McDermott). Izzo made his case for Green today, saying it's "a collegiate award, not an NBA award," comparing Green with Shane Battier in terms of versatility, and pointing out again what he's done with less of a supporting cast than the other two top candidates.

    * Izzo was serious about getting some MSU football players in to help the Spartans prepare for a press, but this is going to be a light day before MSU flies out tonight. He isn't certain if the "Iron Mountain Team" can prep MSU, but he joked (I think) that he may use seven or eight at a time to press rather than the usual six.

    * Will Louisville back off Appling? "I hope so," Izzo said. And in discussing Green's struggles a couple weeks ago with all the attention he was getting for awards -- it prompted Green to lay off the Twitter -- Izzo got some shots in at his least favorite thing in the world. Twitter. He called it a "terrible disease."

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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