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Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo Praises Steve Pikiell & Rutgers Basketball

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Plenty of positive comments were made by several national analysts as well

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

While the Rutgers men’s basketball team fell short of shocking #4 Michigan State on the road last night, their performance caught the attention of many college basketball analysts. Here are some tweets that praised the effort that Rutgers delivered last night.

It wasn’t just the national media that took notice. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo was impressed and gave high praise to Steve Pikiell and Rutgers after the game. Here are two notable comments he made in his postgame press conference:

“Give them credit. I heard Steve Pikiell got an extension today, much deserved. His teams play hard, they play tough, they play physical, they play with a chip on their shoulder.”

“That’s the most physical team we’ve played. We’re physical enough to play some teams. We played Duke, (North) Carolina, and Notre Dame. Good teams. Tonight we played a well coached team that is as physical as the day is long. Their guards were, their bigs were. The way they went after the ball late, if I was watching the game and wasn’t coaching it, I would have enjoyed it.”

To watch his full presser, see below:

One statistic to keep in mind is that Michigan State averages 87 points a game, but only scored an average of 60.5 points in two meetings against Rutgers, not counting the overtime session last night. Let that sink in. Regardless of record and results, as last night’s gutsy performance is tougher to take this morning as a loss, this program finally has an identity Rutgers fans can be proud of. They are becoming known as a very tough and physical group that plays terrific defense. Michigan State came into last night’s game leading the country in rebounding and Rutgers held a +4 edge on the boards when the contest ended.

While last night was a disappointing result, it was highly unexpected and was another step forward in changing the perception of Rutgers basketball, both in the Big Ten and the national scene. I’ll leave you with this last stat, which highlights that Michigan State’s closest two wins of the season were both against Rutgers.

To read my game recap, click here. To read Dave White’s Four Thoughts, click here.