At this point in the season, you have to take want any coach says publicly with a grain of salt, but according to Michigan State head coach Tim Izzo his Spartans are going to look to run with Louisville on Thursday night.
Izzo said that after a grind-it-out win over No. 9 seed Saint Louis on Sunday, he's looking forward to being a "race car driver" again against the Cardinals.
"Maybe in their case, maybe a Kentucky Derby (jockey), maybe we'll get a couple teams going up and down," Izzo said on Sunday. "But we can play any way, we've played any way. That's been a plus with our program for I think all 15 years (of NCAA Tournament play). We really can play a slugfest or speed. And I do enjoy both. Today I didn't enjoy the slugfest as much, but when it's over, it feels pretty good."
Izzo said that his great concern with Louisville is how the Cardinals can beat you in a number of ways. He added that he expects this team to play far more aggressively than the U of L squad the Spartans defeated in the 2009 Elite Eight.
That 2009 Louisville team pressed Michigan State early on, but backed off after being consistently burnt by point guard Kalin Lucas. The Spartans ultimately upset the No. 1 overall seeds from Louisville by a final of 64-52.
When asked about Louisville's pressure on Monday, Michigan State star Draymond Green - a freshman on that 2009 team - was brazen.
"We're not just trying to break the press," Green said. "We're gonna try to make you pay for it. (In 2009) they thought they were gonna run us out the gym, and we ran them out the gym."