Columbus, Ohio – Michigan State’s men’s basketball team hopped on the team bus and drove to Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday night and spent the morning Thursday going through practice and media sessions ahead of its NCAA Tournament First Round game against USC on Friday.
The Spartans, seeded No. 7 in the East Region, will play the 10th-seeded Trojans on Friday, March 17. The game will air live on CBS at 12:15 p.m., with Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas and Jamie Erdahl calling all of the action.
“I’m excited to be here, I really am,” Head Coach Tom Izzo said. “I think it’s great. You never know where you’re going or what you’re doing, but anytime you can be closer to home, it’s great for your fans, your media, your players, the families, this, that, the other thing. But Columbus, we’ve been here before. We’ve been at this arena, not with these guys. But it’s been a great venue. And I’m just excited to be here. I think our team — we played some really good basketball in the last three weeks, and we played a couple of games that I think was really poor.
“I think staying focused has been a little bit of an issue for us. The task at hand. But we’ve been a very good defensive team three-fourths of the year. We’ve been a very good offensive team a quarter of the year. You hope in this new season you can put the two together, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The Spartans practiced at Ohio State’s on-campus facility on Thursday morning, before busing over to Nationwide Arena to meet with the media and hold an open session for fans.
“It’s a new season,” graduate forward Joey Hauser said. “It’s different, throw away the game plans, it’s not conference play anymore. We don’t know our opponents like some of our conference opponents. It’s a rebirth, it’s make a name for yourself now.”
Michigan State finished the regular season 19-11 overall and 11-8 in the Big Ten Conference, earning a double-bye, but lost in the quarterfinals to Ohio State.
“Definitely a new approach, just looking at it as a new season, putting the past behind us and moving forward, taking it a game at a time,” junior guard A.J. Hoggard said. “So just have a new mindset rolling…
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