Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 3/16/13
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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Adam Jones: Bengals dominated Steelers in playoff game

Robert Griffin III on QB battle: Only one of us runs 4.3

Gordon defends friendship with 'good friend' Manziel

Geno Smith ‘kind of pissed off’ about Ryan Fitzpatrick’s return

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bell admits he knew about missed drug test, lied to media

Report: Chargers rookie Joey Bosa to hold out of camp

Doc Rivers blames ‘bloggers’ for Blake Griffin trade rumors

Jason Peters: Eagles practiced too much under Chip Kelly

Report: Giants’ Victor Cruz cleared to practice

PETA sends Warren Sapp vegan lobster following shark bite

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

Five NFL teams set to underachieve in 2016

WATCH: Belichick gets annoyed by Jimmy Garoppolo question

Ronda Rousey denies being pregnant despite rumor

Eight most overpaid offensive players in NFL

Giants acquire All-Star Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

Vikings QB injured trying to kick open door

Josh Gordon thankful for support from Browns

Report: Seahawks DE Chris Clemons retiring

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker