EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State coach Tom Izzo approaches the NCAA tournament differently than he did early in his career.
He and his assistants used to just worry about the first matchup. Izzo says his staff now prepares for more than one game each week.
The strategy has worked well.
Izzo has won 37 NCAA tournament games, a total that trails just four active coaches, including the 2000 national championship. He helped the Spartans earn a 16th straight invitation to college basketball's showcase, the third-longest active streak and the best by a Big Ten coach.
While Izzo acknowledged Monday he looks beyond the opening game, he tries to focus his players on only their next opponent. And for third-seeded Michigan State, that's 14th-seeded Valparaiso.