Michigan State's Tom Izzo Likes His Big Ten Chances Despite Critical Loss

By John Raffel

Michigan State Spartans coach Tom Izzo badly wanted a win at the Minnesota Gophers earlier this week and the NCAA basketball loss to the Gophers, 76-63, shed doubt on if the Spartans can be a Big Ten contender.

But yet, at 11-3, the Spartans are in good shape to do plenty of damage in the Big Ten this season.

Minnesota was ranked No. 9 and MSU No. 18 going into the game. The Gophers, 13-1, showed that they deserve their ranking and could be among the top three teams in the Big Ten.

But the Spartans gave it a good shot. But Izzo has to be concerned that his squad faded in the last nine minutes, scoring only four points and making some dumb mistakes.

It’s only a been a few days since Izzo sustained the loss of sophomore Brendan Kearney, who announced recently he will transfer from MSU.

But that’s the least of Izzo’s worries. He has plenty of talent in the cupboard. He needs to make it work with what he’s got.

Keith Appling, who had 15 points and five assists, will take this team plenty of places.

“We battled back and did a lot of good things. But down the stretch, we didn’t do those things we needed to. But that’s an incredible basketball team,” Izzo said.

Gary Harris added 12 points for the Spartans who maintain they could have won this game at a tough place to play. But the Spartans, without Draymond Green, need to do more

“They’re a great team but we could have won that game,” said Harris.

“We had an opportunity to pull this game out but we let it slip out of our hands,” Appling said.

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