February 7, 2009

VIDEO: Izzo faces Crean for first time in Big Ten play

EAST LANSING - Michigan State coach Tom Izzo does not like to play against former assistants or close friends. On Saturday, the veteran Spartan coach faced one his closest friends and former assistant coach Tom Crean.

As much as Izzo dislikes facing Crean now, it will become even more uncomfortable in the years ahead after Crean fills out his roster with a couple of recruiting classes. The current talent pool at Indiana is quite shallow and it was evident from the midway point in the second half forward as Michigan State grew a 10-point lead into a 75-47 victory.

"I never like facing my assistants," said Izzo. "I said that he is one of the guys I like playing against the least because I feel so many of the banners up in the rafters are because of him as well. He was the first guy that I hired when I got here and we had a goal to take the program to an elite level, and in that four-year period, I thought we did that.

"He's got a championship ring from us when we won it and I have Final Four ring from him when he got there with Marquette. That speaks volumes for the respect that we have for each other. Unfortunately, twice a year we have to compete."

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