Michigan State Plays Marquette on Sunday in NCAA Tournament Second Round for a Spot in the Sweet Sixteen

The preparation for short turnarounds is nothing new for Izzo and the Spartans
Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 5:45 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (MSU Athletics) - The mantra for the Michigan State men’s basketball has been to “Win the Weekend.”

After being USC, 72-62, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon at Nationwide Arena, the Spartans were one step closer to do that, taking the court today and making final preparations for a second round meeting with Marquette on Sunday, March 19.

The Spartans, seeded No. 7 in the East Region, will play the second-seeded Golden Eagles on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. on CBS, with Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas and Jamie Erdahl calling the action. The TCF Bank Spartan Media Network radio call can be heard on one of 38 affiliates and on the web at MSUSpartans.com, with Will Tieman handling the play-by-play and Matt Steigenga serving as the color analyst. The game can also be heard on channels 133 or 201 on SiriusXM and channel 964 on the SiriusXM app.

Michigan State watched most of Marquette’s first round win over Vermont at the arena on Friday afternoon before returning to the hotel.

The team went through film sessions on Friday night and Saturday morning before heading to Nationwide Arena for a 90-minute practice at noon. Following the practice, Head Coach Tom Izzo and select players met with the media on the podium while the MSU locker room was open for 40 minutes.

“We’re excited, we really are,” Izzo said when he addressed the media. “And Marquette, they’ve done a hell of a job. I’ve known Shaka for a while. I talk to him a lot over the years. I’m impressed with his team. To get a guard like he’s got in Kolek that becomes the player of the year in that league is amazing. They’ve got the sixth man of the year in that league.

“We just played a team that had an incredible guard in Ellis. And they had a sixth man of the year. So we’re getting -- we’re not dodging anybody, that’s for sure. And yet I’ve been really pleased with the focus of my team, last night in the walk-through room, today in the practice. It’s something I complained about for weeks. I just did not see it all the time. I think that’s the beauty of the NCAA Tournament and maybe the beauty of playing on Friday and then getting a chance to play again.”

The preparation for short turnarounds is nothing new for Izzo and the Spartans. Under Izzo, the Spartans are a remarkable 23-7 in the second game of an NCAA Tournament weekend. Five of the seven losses have come to No. 1 seeds or eventual National Champions.

“Coach is obviously one of the best in the country at preparation just for things like this,” senior forward Malik Hall said. “Watches a lot of film. I credit everybody on the coaching staff, not just the coaches, but the GAs, video coordinators, everybody does a really great job making sure that the players are prepared when we go out for games.

“We watched a little bit of film. We’ve had walk-throughs, watch more films, have more walk-throughs. We’ve done a lot of different things to make sure we’re mentally focused on what’s to come tomorrow.”

The Spartans will face a Marquette team that carries a 29-6 overall record, including a 17-3 mark in the BIG EAST, and is making its 35th appearance all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Marquette has four players averaging in double figures led by BIG EAST Player of the Year Tyler Kolek, who is averaging 13.3 points and 7.8 assists per game. Sophomore guard Kam Jones (15.0 ppg), junior forward Olivier-Maxence Propser (12.4 ppg) and junior forward Oso Ighodaro (11.4 ppg) are also scoring in double figures. Kolek was named first-team All-BIG EAST, while Ighodaro and Jones were both named All-BIG EAST second team. Sophomore forward David Joplin earned the BIG EAST Sixth Man award.

“They’re very aggressive on defense,” junior guard A.J. Hoggard said. “They get up in you, they get after you. They blow up a lot of things, take away things. We’ll see a number of things they’re just to take away and we’ll need to adjust.”

This will be the 56th meeting all-time between the programs, with MSU leading the head-to-head series, 32-23. Sunday’s game will be the first time the schools have met since 2014, when the Spartans posted a 79-68 win in the Orlando Classic. Michigan State has a 2-0 record against Marquette in NCAA Tournament play, the last coming 2007 with Izzo facing former assistant coach Tom Crean. The No. 9-seeded Spartans beat No. 8 Marquette, 61-49, in Winston-Salem, N.C. The first NCAA Tournament meeting between the teams was a 74-69 win in 1959, with MSU reaching the regional final. Izzo is 2-0 all-time against Marquette.

“I think just being in close games will help prepare us,” graduate forward Joey Hauser said. “We had Kentucky earlier this year, that was a double overtime game. Gonzaga came down to the wire. We played some big teams. Obviously the Big Ten season is a gauntlet in itself so, like ‘Lik (Malik Hall) talked about earlier, Coach Izzo does it on purpose because it prepares you for March. That’s his goal, that’s what he wants to do.”

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