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Izzo talks about loss to KU and facing Josh Jackson

20 March 2017, 07:57 | Winifred Adams

Izzo talks about loss to KU and facing Josh Jackson

UCLA guard Lonzo Ball powers his way to the basket for a score against Kent State's Kevin Zabo who was called for a foul on the play during the first half

Sunday's first half was eerily similar to how Michigan State fell behind 10-0 right out of the gate against Miami in the round of 64 before turning on the engine to breeze to a 78-58 win. "I don't know if it was the veterans, a combination of veterans and (Michigan State's) youth". Some of our writers think so.

Izzo's only complaint was the score didn't show how close the game really was.

Connor Muldowney: Everyone needs to tune in strictly because the matchup between longtime friends Josh Jackson and Miles Bridges will be epic. It was a questionable call that very well could have swung the game to Michigan State. Izzo watched both of them play several times.

"It was a hard game to coach in large part because nobody listened to me", Self joked. It's why missing out with a team led by Marcus and Markieff Morris hurt more than losing with Andrew Wiggins. MSU benefitted from the contributions from bench players with 10 of the team's first 22 coming from non-starting players. Guard Frank Mason III added 20 points and five assists, and guard Devonte' Graham had 18 points and four assists. An upset win is in the cards, but it certainly won't come easily.

No. 1 seeded Kansas is headed to its home-away-from-home just two victories shy of its first Final Four berth since 2012 and third in the 14-year Bill Self era.

Kansas re-extended its lead to seven after back-to-back and-one plays by Jackson.

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The Jayhawks also are used to grinding out games stuck in the mud by finishing with tough defense and winning by a few points. Self praised the way his team fought in a game that he noted was much closer than the 20-point gap would seem to indicate.

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Walk-on Matt Van Dyk was forced into duty early in the season when Bridges was out with an injury, and gave Tom Izzo some quality minutes despite being undersized, but was far from an impact player. "But I also think those moments have helped us define who we are from an execution and toughness standpoint when the game is on the line on both ends". Kansas looked great on Friday, but I still struggle to trust the Jayhawks. I believe MSU has an excellent opportunity to snatch a win.

"It's always good when going against Josh", Bridges said. He clearly believes his team stacks up well with the Jayhawks.

The Spartans chopped that deficit to five points thanks to a Joshua Langford three-pointer and three free throws from Miles Bridges.

The Kansas head coach also pointed out this was the kind of game that only happened because of what the team went through during the regular season. Kansas shot 34/64 (53.1%) from the floor, made 14/15 (93.3%) free throws and out-rebounded Michigan State 36-28.

The most significant departure Izzo will have to deal with is Miles Bridges, who could very well declare for the National Basketball Association draft after putting together the best freshman season at MSU by anyone not named Magic Johnson. And Mason chose first to tip his cap to reserve forward Dwight Coleby, who picked up three points and four rebounds in nine of the biggest minutes of the night.



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