Michigan State Spartans men to stick to basketball biz during tournaments

Michigan State’s Nick Ward, right, shoots over Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ (22) Sunday in Madison, Wis. (AP photo)

By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING — Tom Izzo insists he and his players will only talk about basketball during the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.
“It’s time,” Izzo said Wednesday night.
No. 2 Michigan State will be the top-seeded team at the conference tournament, starting Friday afternoon against the winner of the Maryland-Wisconsin game. After having next week off, the Spartans will try to win the school’s third national title and second with its Hall of Fame coach.
“This has been a special group,” Izzo said. “And they deserve to really make as good of a run as they can make without any distractions.”
Michigan State has been facing a crisis over how it handled allegations against disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to decades in prison for sexually abusing many young women and girls. That led to the school president resigning and the athletic director, one of Izzo’s best friends, retiring in the wake of the scandal.