Breslin Center East Lansing, MI
Tom Izzo next week will be leading his Spartans to his 19th straight NCAA tournament and he will be in pursuit of his eighth Final Four and second nation championship personally and third for the program. This is his best chance since he had Mateen Cleaves wearing the green and white.
So considering that he is nicknamed Mr. March for his unprecedented NCAA success, how does Izzo value a high seed vs. the location of where they play? It is a viable question and his answer was well thought out.
“That’s a good question, I’ve heard some people talking about that and I look at that the same way I look at this Big Ten schedule. It’s all too confusing to me now. If you’re in this pod, you’re in that. I don’t even know where we’re going. You’re in the west, but you’re playing in the Midwest, and in the second round you go to the west. That’s almost too confusing for me. I will say this. With a group that has great senior leadership, the reason I’d like to be closer to home are two-fold. One is travel for the parents. And two is time change for the guys. Other than that, I don’t care where we are. It’s hard to worry about regionals when, whether you’re a 1, 2, 3 seed, you know, I guess if you’re a 1 seed history tells you that you should get out of the first game. But history told some pretty prominent 2 seeds in the last few years that didn’t get out of the 2-15 game. And so that’s a problem. But then when you go to the 7-8, getting out of the first weekend is so much harder. So I don’t look at that. I just look at now, would I like to be a 1 seed? Yes I would. You know why? Because that means we’ve won some more games. We’re playing better, we’ve been respected by our peers for what we’ve accomplished, and there will be some confidence. Do I care if we’re a 2 or 3 seed? I really don’t. I really don’t, and I’m not, I haven’t been able to look at who’s gonna be shipped where. One year were we a 1 and got shipped out West? Yeah. That didn’t work out so good. But I don’t know, I guess I haven’t thought that far ahead No. 1, and No. 2, if I had a real young team, inexperienced, I’d want it for more reasons to be close. I want it close so that travel isn’t as bad. The one year we did go West, we went Columbus to Phoenix, and I think we went Sunday night and we had to be in Phoenix for Thursday night. And I think that hurt us, personally, you know? So any time you’re changing hours, it can be a little bit harder on players, especially with school and all the things you’ve got to balance at that time.”
So as you watch CBS on Sunday to see the tournament layout, ask yourself when you look at the seed and location how it benefits MSU. Would the Spartans have been better off with a lower seed, but better location or did they get both?
The Spartans head into action tomorrow night at 6:30 PM against Ohio State or Penn State. You can see that game on BTN.