Found March 16, 2013 on Fox Sports Detroit:
Tom Izzo said Saturday, after getting knocked out of the Big Ten Tournament, that he was so tired of playing Big Ten opponents that the Los Angeles Lakers seem like a better scheduling option. He was kidding. We think. His Michigan State team couldnt do better than a tie for second in the Big Tens regular season, and it didnt advance past the conference tournaments semi-finals by virtue of Saturdays 61-58 loss to Ohio State at the United Center in Chicago. The Big Ten has four teams in the Top 10, and its championship game on Sunday will feature the No. 10 Buckeyes against No. 22 Wisconsin which beat No. 3 Indiana for the 12th consecutive time to reach the finals. Some of these guys Ive gone against for 10 years, Izzo said of his conference coaching counterparts. You know what each others gum is. I look forward to playing anybody else. Id play the Lakers tomorrow. Weve beat the hell out of all of us, and it will help us at the end. The No. 8 Spartans will not hang a banner this year unless they reach the Final Four. There has been only one time that MSU has played in the Final Four which it has reached eight times and did not win either the Big Ten regular season championship, the conference tournament or both. That was 2005, when the Spartans finished second and then lost the conference tourney opener to Iowa. They will gather at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Breslin Center to learn where they fit in the NCAA Tournament bracket, and the hope is that it will be 82 miles down Interstate-69 and Interstate-75 to The Palace of Auburn Hills. Izzos one NCAA championship in six Final Fours came in a Cleveland-Auburn Hills-Indianapolis run. The Spartans likely will be a No. 2 seed, but could drop to a No. 3. And while there isnt much difference between the first opponents for No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, the quality does go up a tad for No. 3 seeds. MSU almost certainly would have been a No. 2 had it beaten the Buckeyes, and could have slipped into a No. 1 seed by winning the tournament. But the Spartans didnt advance because they couldnt find an answer for Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft, who matched his usual defensive brilliance with 20 points. So, with forward Branden Dawson stepping up to limit Buckeyes leading scorer Deshaun Thomas to 16 points on 6-for-19 shooting, the scrappy point guard proved lethal. Craft had averaged 9.6 points and Thomas 19.7 points. (Dawson) did a decent job on Thomas, said Izzo, whose team won the conference tourney in 2012 by beating OSU in the finals. He did a great job. But we did not do a good job on Craft and he beat us. Craft scored 18 points in the second half, and Keith Appling could not stop him. Craft also had nine assists, four steals and only two turnovers. Craft limited Appling to 3 points when they last met on Feb. 24 in Columbus, but Appling did respond with 16 points on Saturday and was four-for-seven on three-pointers. Shooting guard Gary Harris, the Big Tens Freshman of the Year, had a shoulder pop out again but managed to play 32 minutes. He hit only one of seven shots from the field and finished with 5 points, all in the second half. Harris popped another shoulder, said Izzo. It was a problem. I need him in there to defend. Hes played with it a lot, and its a shame. Harris scored 13 points in Friday nights quarter-final win over Iowa. Center Derrick Nix played his second-best game after the 25 point-11 rebound effort against Texas in December, scoring 17 with nine rebounds. But he was involved in a pivotal play that cost the Spartans down the stretch. With 1:27 remaining, he slapped Craft on the shoulder as be broke free to the basket. He was assessed a flagrant foul which Izzo agreed with and Craft made one of two free throws. More importantly, the Buckeyes also got the ball back. Denzel Valentine, the only player to score off the bench for MSU in the tourney, hit a basket with one second left to bring about the final score. FIRE IZZO? When asked a question about Northwestern coach Bill Carmody being fired on Saturday, Izzo said, George Perles told me when I was hired, You will be fired; its just a matter of when. Though, its a virtual impossibility that Izzo, 58, will ever get fired at MSU. Perles, now a member of the MSU board of trustees, was both the former athletic director and football coach when Izzo was hired in 1995.

Craft leads OSU into Big Ten final

Aaron Craft came on strong in the second half to finish with 20 points and lead No. 10 Ohio State past No. 8 Michigan State, 61-58 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. Craft keyed a seven-point spurt midway through the second half that stretched the lead to eight at 55-47, and the Buckeyes (25-7) came away with the win after the Spartans (25-8) pulled within...

Thomas, Craft Push Buckeyes Into Title Game

Deshaun Thomas hit the eventual game-winner with 22.1 seconds left and Aaron Craft scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half to lift Ohio State to a 61-58 victory over Michigan State in a Big Ten tournament semifinal contest. OSU advances to its fifth straight tourney final and will meet Wisconsin in the title game.

Craft leads Ohio State past Spartans

CHICAGO (AP) -- Aaron Craft came on strong in the second half to finish with 20 points and lead No. 10 Ohio State past No. 8 Michigan State, 61-58 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. Craft keyed a seven-point spurt midway through the second half that stretched the lead to eight at 55-47, and the Buckeyes (25-7) came away with the win after the Spartans (25-8...

Craft's Offense Bringing OSU To New Heights

The Ohio State basketball team advanced to the Big Ten tournament finals for the fifth consecutive year with a 61-58 win over Michigan State on Saturday afternoon. The Buckeyes, however, could be poised for even bigger things if Aaron Craft can continue his recent streak of offensive success.

Video: Craft Continues OSU Roll

Ohio State's Aaron Craft met with the media after the Buckeyes defeated Nebraska Friday in the United Center. Check out what he had to say inside.

Video: Craft is MVP

Ohio State's Aaron Craft took home the tournament MVP honors at the Big Ten Tournament Sunday in Chicago after the Buckeyes took the crown.

Deja Craft: Buckeyes To Play In Fifth Straight B1G Championship

Flashback to February 24th. The Buckeyes were trailing by six points at the half to the Michigan State Spartans in The Schott. Deshaun Thomas was struggling (1-for-8 shooting), and the Buckeyes needed another scorer to step up their game. Enter Aaron Craft, who scored 17 of his career high 21 points in the second half as he carved up the Spartan defense with patient but effective...

Spartans fall to Ohio State 61-58 in Big Ten semis

Tom Izzo didn't have to search long and hard to find a bright spot after Michigan State bowed to Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament - a likely break from conference play. Aaron Craft came on strong in the second half to finish with 20 points and lead No. 10 Ohio State past No. 8 Michigan State, 61-58 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. And when it was...

Quick OSU backcourt causing havoc

CHICAGO Ohio State probably has the best point guard still playing in the Big Ten tournament. It certainly has two point guards who are collectively better than anybody else's one or two. And it's a lineup with both Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott on the floor that's helping the Buckeyes play their best basketball of the season right now. Friday night, the No. 2 seed...

OSU's Craft, MSU's Payne share special bond

CHICAGO - The biggest guys get off the bus first, especially in a tournament setting when other teams might be watching, and Michigan State's Adreian Payne has always been one of those guys. There were plenty of times he was just getting out of a van or even unfurling himself from a regular car, but Payne has been making that trek for a long time. For a long time, too, Ohio...

Buckeyes Knock Off Spartans To Advance To B1G Final

Score: Ohio State 61, Michigan State 58  Star(s): Ohio State: Aaron Craft 20 Pts, 9 Ast, 4 Stl, 3 Reb. Michigan State: Derrick Nix 17 Pts, 9 Reb. College Spun/Antonio Venegas The star of the game for the Buckeyes today was Aaron Craft. Arguably, you can make a case that this was his best game of his nearly three year career in Columbus. He finished with 20 points, one short of his...

Ohio State wins it's 4th Big Ten tourney title

Can we all just agree on one rule change for next year? Let's stop calling the Big Ten tournament the Big Ten Tournament and rename it the Ohio State Invitational. I mean after what they did to Wisconsin during the final stretch run should give us all pause to wonder if anyone will ever be able to beat this team in the Big Ten tournament. Seriously, after they dumped...

For all the marbles (and a pretty sweet trophy) LiveBlog

Out last LiveBlog of the Big Ten season is finally upon us and it’s for the B1G Championship and an automatic bid to the Big Dance. (not that either team needs an autobid) Join us as Thad Matta shows Bo Ryan just what a B1G Coach of the Year should get out of his team. While there will be a gluttony of white guys on the court, none of them will be as rosy-cheeked as our own Aaron...
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