The Michigan State Spartans defeat the Wisconsin Badgers 67-55 at the Big Ten Tournament on Saturday Afternoon. They will take on Michigan in the title game on Sunday.
It was another good day for Cassius Winston as he had 21 points in the game against Wisconsin. Xavier Tillman had 17 points for the Spartans in the victory.
Another player who impressed was senior Kenny Goins who had 13 points in the game for the Spartans and Tom Izzo talked about how important he is to this team. Well, Kenny has probably been the guy that’s changed our team throughout the last two and a half months. He is one of our best defenders. He is our best rebounder. He is maybe our best-conditioned guy, and he has really figured out how to shoot the ball. and does it with a high percentage. Kenny deserves a lot more than I’ve probably given him, but I think Kenny
is putting himself in a position where there’s going to be some basketball for Kenny after college.” Goins said
Michigan State will be playing Michigan tomorrow for the championship game and Tom Izzo was asked how important this rivalry is to the state of Michigan and to the Big Ten. Well, I think we both agree, and people used to laugh at me when I said, of course, I hate my rival. Who wants to hug and kiss the guy that took your girlfriend, you know? It doesn’t make any sense. But I have great respect for them, and I do agree with him. I think we’re on the exact same page, that if we can make this into a Duke-Carolina and I’m not trying to say we’ve gotten there yet because some of that is over a test of time. But whenever you’re playing in games that matter in the state, that’s big. It Matters in the conference, that’s big. When it starts to matter nationally, then you’ve got yourselves something special. When both teams — early on in my career when we were ranked I think 250th or whatever and they were good, then we were ranked in the top and they weren’t very good, it’s hard to have a rivalry. So we got what the media wants, what the fans want, and believe it or not, what the coaches want because it is important that big games matter, and big games that matter nationally are even bigger games.
The Game with Wisconsin was close for most of the game and the Spartans and Badgers has had some battles throughout the years. You know, I have great respect for Dick Bennett. I worked his camp when I was in college. I was at Stevens Point. It was a war with Bo for a few years. Then we got on the board together, and by the end, we were pulling for each other, and I really mean that, and still talk to him once in a while. You know, there’s not always love sometimes, but there’s respect that’s probably more valuable. With those guys, it’s both love and respect because we’ve played in a lot of big games together. You know, for Greg, I came up the same way. And so I taught him a lot those first couple months and even first year. I think he’s done an incredible job under some tough — how would you like to replace Bo? You know, they had just gone to two Final Fours. His team has got some youth to it and they’ve got some veterans, but I thought he’s done a hell of a job with them and he’s done a hell of a job, so the respect factor hasn’t changed. Wisconsin, when you grow up in Iron Mountain, I think we’re one mile from the border, so I’m kind of a Yooper Wisconsinite more than I am a Yooper downstater down here. I know none of you know what that means. But Iron Mountain is in the finals right now as we speak and that’s all that matters to me.” Izzo said
The Last time Michigan State won the Big Ten Tournament was 2016 and it would mean the world to the Spartans to win the title this year especially against a rival and what the Spartans have been through this season battling injuries. You know, I think it does to a certain extent, but Cassius has been on adrenaline for a while. At halftime, you know, I really didn’t know what was going to happen. So adrenaline kicked in, and it got him through parts of another half. I’m not complaining about it, I’m just being honest with you. I think everybody hides one thing or hides the other. You know, by tomorrow, we’ll be ready to play, and whoever plays will play. We’re going to play as hard as we can play and see where that puts us.” Izzo said