The Michigan State Spartans are entering Friday night's Sweet 16 match up against Northern Iowa with a wounded squad. They best player, Kalin Lucas, was injured in the second round Maryland win.
But don't feel too sorry for the Spartans because coach Tom Izzo is still the reason Michigan State wins games. And you know for that reason, the Spartans will be difficult to beat Friday.
Izzo has had plenty of success in the NCAA tourney and he's not just happy to make an appearance in the Sweet 16. Izzo has taken the Spartans to five Final Four appearances in 11 years. He garnered one national championship. Last season, the Spartans lost to North Carolina in the championship game.
When it's tournament time, Izzo's squads put it into high gear. They peak at the right time. The Spartans are not a fun team to play in March/April. They live for the NCAA tourney.
So it will become another day at the NCAA tournament office for Michigan State. The Spartans will be ready. Expect full-court pressure defense. Expect Michigan State to run, run, run and run more. Expect a full 40-minute game and maybe more. Expect a war.
The Spartans will not overlook Northern Iowa. They are on their usual mission: go to the Final Four.