Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/11/11

In anticipation of Midnight Madness and MSU/UM, Tom Izzo spoke briefly to the media on Tuesday.  Here are some of the highlights of the press conference:

  • Considering the magnitude of this weekend’s MSU/UM football game and the NBA lockout, Izzo expects a ton of former players on campus to partake in the festivities.  He is not exactly sure who will be in attendance, but mentioned that he had heard from Morris Peterson, Jason Richardson, Steve Smith, Eric Snow, Shannon Brown and Kelvin Torbert amongst other guys.  On Friday he hopes to have a list of all the players who will be in East Lansing.

 

  • When asked about how the expectations are lower this year for the team, he said that he doesn’t like it very much because he holds the program to a high standard.  However, he said it does not make a huge difference.  He has coached teams with high expectations who have reached Final Fours, and teams with high expectations who haven’t lived up to them.  Some of his teams with lower expectations have reached Final Fours as well.  “I do like the chemistry of this team, and I’ve liked the way they have worked,” Izzo said.  “I think we have a couple freshman that are really gonna show some things and the big steps have to be with Nixes, the Paynes, the Applings.  Day Day has had a great off-season, but those guys have to take major steps, and from what I’ve seen so far they are ready to do it.”

 

  • Izzo spent a few minutes talking about Mark Dantonio.  “I think it is incredible what he has done with the program in a short period of time.  I look at where we went those first four or five years and where they went, and it is almost identical.  It is a lot harder to do that in football than it is in basketball, and I think he stands for everything you want a coach to be.”  Tom is grateful for what the program has done for the university.  He said football is king, and can affect an athletic department like no other sport can.

 

  • Russell Byrd has been practicing regularly and on back-to-back days.  He is still a little stiff, but looks better.  “Just having him out there, I realized how much I missed him,” Izzo said.  “He makes shots, he is 6’7″, he’s got size, he is an athlete.  I think he could be another guy that can really help us.”  In my off-season write up of Byrd, I said that I did not expect him to contribute much this year.  If you want to take Tom Izzo’s word over mine, I will not be offended.  Now that Dwaun Anderson is gone for the year and the depth on the wing is thinner than it has been in the last decade, any contribution Byrd can give will be extremely helpful.  It is good that he is practicing and appears to be getting healthy.  If his injury doesn’t hamper his ability to move laterally and play defense, he might be able to stay on the floor provide some valuable minutes for the team.

Midnight Madness is Friday, and media day will be sometime next week.  At that point, Coach Izzo will further discuss his players and what he expects from his team this coming year.

You can subscribe to the Michigan State Basketball feed and follow me on twitter @steve_miller04

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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