EAST LANSING – Tom Izzo is upset. at least.
He wants Michigan State basketball to make up for its delay with Minnesota. The Golden Gophers seem to want it, too.
However, the Big Ten has yet to rearrange schedules to accommodate the game originally scheduled for February 15 at the canceled Breslin Center in the wake of a campus shooting that left three MSU students dead and five others seriously injured. .
“In the 10 days since that happened, I’ve had a lot of things on my plate. One isn’t the commissioner or the Big Ten president or the scheduling guy or any of those people,” Izzo said after practice Thursday, as the Spartans geared up for Saturday’s game at Iowa. “So, yeah, I’m a little disappointed. Next question.”
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MSU (17-10, 9-7 Big Ten) lost Saturday at Michigan in its first game after the Feb. 13 shooting, then beat Indiana, 80-65, Tuesday in its first home game since the incident. They play the Hawkeyes on Saturday afternoon (ESPN), at Nebraska on Tuesday and have the regular season finale at home March 4 against Ohio State.
The Golden Gophers (7-19, 1-15) played a make-up game Monday in Illinois, losing 78-69, in a rescheduled game due to Minnesota’s COVID issues. Coach Ben Johnson’s team has three more games left: Saturday in Nebraska, Thursday at home against Rutgers and Sunday in Wisconsin.
The Cornhuskers’ home games with MSU and Minnesota have been closed due to the state basketball tournaments being played next week at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. That would leave the Minnesota-Rutgers game being moved as the only possible way to reschedule the Spartans postponement. However, Scarlet Knights coach Steve Bickel dismissed that idea, telling reporters after losing to Michigan on Thursday night that Rutgers would not alter next week’s scheduled game with Minnesota due to travel logistics.
“Send prayers first to Michigan State, the tragedy they are dealing with,” Beckel said in his post-game press conference. “It’s really tough this time of year. We have mandatory NCAA days off, we travel days, and we have a lot of game-changing stuff this time of year. And so I know they (the Big Ten) are looking for a lot of fun.” Different solutions are in different places. It’s really hard.”
I’m disappointed, I’m not going to lie to you, Izzo said Thursday afternoon. But I’m frustrated – frustrated with the way it was handled, if I’m going to be honest with you. …
“Nothing is clear. This is my disappointment. Nothing.”
If the MSU-Minnesota game is canceled, the Big Ten has a precedent for how it handles seeding for the upcoming conference tournament, which takes place March 8-12 in Chicago.
During the 2020-21 season, three Big Ten teams did not play the full 20-game schedule due to COVID-19 issues — including league champion Michigan, which finished 14-3 with three games canceled. Purdue, Indiana, Penn State, Northwestern, and Nebraska each played 19 games that season. The winning percentage is used to determine Big Ten tournament seeding.
The Spartans played every conference game in 2020-21, and all 14 teams played every one of their 20 games last season.
“It’s also a difficult situation where I don’t know if multiple teams have to move (games),” Izzo said of MSU-Minnesota’s ongoing scheduling situation. “I haven’t gotten into the weeds of it, I’ve had enough of my own. I don’t try to run the Big Ten office or the scheduling department. But I’m not really happy with the way it’s been done and communicated. But that’s what it is.”
Contact Chris Solari:[email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @tweet.
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