October 12, 2010

High expectations

EAST LANSING - Michigan State is coming off back-to-back trips to the Final Four and enters the season as a consensus Top 5 team. The Spartans have their eyes set on a third consecutive Big Ten championship and are hoping to make a run to the Final Four for the third straight year.

The Spartans return most of the roster from last year's team with notable exception of Raymar Morgan. The dismissal of wing Chris Allen also creates a potential for lack of depth on the perimeter.

"We lose a little bit more than you think," Izzo explained during Tuesday's basketball media day. "We lose Morgan and Allen. We have seven players back that have started. We return 70 to 75 percent of our scoring and rebounding from last year, but what we lose is the intangible of Morgan in that he could guard so many different people. He could guard a point guard one minute and a center the next."

Expectations remain as high as ever at Michigan State.

"I think we need another title," said Izzo. "I'm proud of what we've done. It's not been easy. It's not been easy to maintain. I guess now I start moving to the 13 tournaments as being almost as big an accomplishment as some of our others just because it's hard to maintain a standard like that and still play a tough schedule.

"We will have some pressure on us from the standpoint of our accomplishments in the last few years, but to me that's an area where you get respect."

Michigan State veterans have the higher expectations than their fans. Draymond Green made it clear on Tuesday that anything less than a national championship would be a disappointment to him. Like Green, Lucas, Summers, Austin Thornton, Korie Lucious, and Delvon Roe, have been to two Final Fours during their Michigan State careers. All of those players appear hungry for Michigan State's third national championship in basketball.

"They have to come back with a different mindset on how we can finish the job," Izzo said. "We have gotten to a couple of Final Fours, but we have not finished the job. That will be the battle cry, can we finish practices stronger? Can we finish the preseason stronger? Can we finish (the Big Ten season) stronger?"

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