Defiant Tom Izzo Declares, "To hell with being the underdog."

Tom Izzo weekly press conference 01/04/16
Tom Izzo weekly press conference 01/04/16

Breslin Center

East Lansing, MI

The Michigan State Spartans held on to the #1 ranking for four weeks. It was an honor for the 14-1 Spartans and even with a loss to a good Iowa team on the road and without their star, they only fell to fifth.

There was some school of thought (albeit from talking heads that don’t know Izzo well) that losing that #1 target off the back of the Spartans would be a relief to the future Hall of Fame head man for the Spartans. It wasn’t.

When asked if he was relieved to have #1 ranking off his Spartans Izzo wasted no time and didn’t hold back on his emotion. “I should answer yes. So I can play with a chip and be the underdog, but I am sick of being the underdog. I’ve been the underdog for a lot of years. To hell with being the underdog. No I am really not. I think to take the next step in this program players have to understand that twice they are waiting to mob the court. At Oakland they were waiting to. At Iowa they did. At Minnesota according to people there they played their best game. Our players have to understand that is what that rating does to you. What that rank. As they say in the military with rank comes responsibility. The ranking was there. I don’t know how far we will drop, I’m sure a decent amount. I think you have to learn how to handle being the best, but just when we got there we also lost our best player. So did we really not handle it well or put in a position? I don’t know. Other than a couple of years in early two thousand, and even then I think I have been the underdog and it has been an OK life, I think I did OK for myself, but it’s time to move to a new direction I am tired of being the underdog. I don’t mind the pressure anymore I actually like it. I actually think it is a compliment and I think our program and our fans and everybody else has to learn to deal with it and that means we didn’t play well. I wasn’t happy with the way we played. I was not has unhappy with the loss at Iowa as the way we played. So I am going to answer differently by saying as long as we can remain ranked number one that means the better we are playing and  the better we accept the responsibility that is bestowed upon us with that ranking.”

The Spartans head man will get his chance to regain that ranking. #1 Kansas won last night while #2 Oklahoma lost and #4 Virginia fell. The Spartans host Illinois on Thursday night at the Breslin Center.