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2 Days to B1G Basketball: Izzo Lends A Helping Hand to D-II School

Today we continue our daily countdown towards the tipoff of the Big Ten basketball season.

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When programs schedule preseason exhibitions the opponents they enlist are usually of suspect talent. So the fact that Michigan State torched Division II opponent St. Cloud State 101-46 isn't a surprise. The game played out as expected, with State dominating early and St. Cloud State struggling on their way to 22.6% from the field and only hitting 2 of their 23 three pointers.

What was surprising, though, was the fact that the opposing players would later be 'grilled' by Tom Izzo after the blowout. St. Cloud State has a first year coach in Matt Reimer and the coach set up for Izzo to meet with the team and discuss their performance as bluntly as he could possibly be. The end result was Izzo criticizing the teams play throughout the exhibition, pointing out their flaws and making an example of the teams lack of leadership. While sounding a bit harsh out of context, the intention and overall message from Izzo's meeting with the team was an attempt to not only teach the players, but to help them improve and be better from their poor performance.

The message more or less resonated with the players who took little issue with Izzo essentially throwing them under the bus. "It was something to remember...he's such an important person the basketball community. He's a leader and his words carry a lot of weight...I'll try and take some of his advice to heart" mentioned freshman forward Jon Averkamp.

Junior point guard Jordan Poydras, who was called out point blank by Izzo, also took little issue with the criticism. "I think it helped us get our heads on straight. It's nice hearing that feedback from somebody who has been around the game so long...For him to talk to us, and the things he said, really means a lot," mentioned Poydras, one of St. Cloud State's captains.

Overall the team itself was happy with the session with Izzo, who also had the team in to watch a Michigan State practice. Following the video session the Huskies also conducted a practice session on State's practice court with Izzo helping out. All in all while on paper you'd think it'd be a bummer to get chewed out by the coach of the team that demolished you, but it looks like the experience was a learning one for the Huskies and could go out to help them as they get ready for their upcoming season.