Izzo on Crean

By: Dan Hedman
By: Dan Hedman

One thought came to mind when Michigan State's name appeared on screen during Sunday night's NCAA basketball selection show:

"Marquette's a great team and very similiar to us with coach Crean coming from Michigan State," Drew Neitzel said.

Tom Crean had two stints at the Breslin Center and both resulted in Big Ten Championship banners, but Thursday will be his first matchup with close friend Tom Izzo since leaving for Marquette in 1999.

"We exchanged some plays earlier during the year just 3 weeks ago... so that ticks me off," izzo joked.

But all jokes aside, Izzo said the dissapointment of having to face his close friend in the first round is far outweighed by his excitement for a 10th staight tournament birth -- and he won't take it easy on his portege.

"If we get beat, they'll be no bigger fan than Tom Izzo for Marquette," he said. "But while we're playing, I'm not a fan of anybodies."

Izzo sees some similiarities between the 2000 national champos Crean helped build and this year's Spartans:

"If Cinderella's slipper could fit anybody it's one of these kind of teams," he surmised.

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