April 2, 2001

Izzo Lashes Out At Cornell Basketball

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Following his team’s 80-61 loss to Arizona in the Final Four on Saturday, Michigan State’s head coach Tom Izzo didn’t wait long to point fingers for the Spartans second half debacle.

But rather than place the blame on senior Charlie Bell’s anemic three point performance or the squad’s incessant turnover problem, Izzo found a different source for his woes.

“We should have never played that damn Cornell team during the Thanksgiving tournament,” Izzo told reporters during the postgame press conference, gently wiping the tears away from his cheeks.

Izzo was referring to the Coca-Cola Classic at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich., in November, when the Spartans smashed the Red 89-56.

“Scheduling Cornell was a huge mistake,” Izzo lamented. “That really fucked up our RPI ranking. Had we actually scheduled a decent team, we probably would’ve been ranked higher in the polls and we probably would have gotten a No. 1 seed in the West.

“That woulda made winning the Final Four a cinch. We coulda killed Duke,” Izzo continued. “The only team we didn’t stack up well against was Arizona, and thanks to that stupid Cornell game, we had to play ’em.”

Spartan seniors Bell and Andre Hutson, who lost their chance to win back-to-back titles, didn’t have any kind words for Cornell either.

“You think playing against a guy like Ray Mercedes can prepare us for the Final Four,” Hutson yelled at a New York Times reporter who persisted on pressing the issue. “No way!”

“That Cornell win gave us a false sense of security,” Hutson added in a quiet, solemn voice. “Beating them by 30-plus points made us think that we could go out and hammer anyone in the country. Man were we wrong.”

Michigan State had the option next year of repaying Cornell’s favor and playing a game in Ithaca. But after this season, Izzo doesn’t seem to keen on that anymore.

“Hell no,” voiced an incensed Izzo. “There’s no way I’m gonna do that now. And if anyone from Cornell steps into East Lansing, they’d better watch their backs.”

Editor’s Note: It’s April Fools! Tricked ya!

Archived article by Sun Staff