There's no denying that it's been a tough start to the year for the Spartans of Michigan State. A quartet of high-profile losses against Arizona, Kentucky, Baylor and Duke might have had fans grumbling about what has traditionally been a top-flight college basketball program. Things have started to settle for head coach Tom Izzo and company — who have gone 5-1 without freshman phenom and leading scorer Miles Bridges — but a blip on the radar in the form of a defeat at the hands of Northeastern likely had some of those same fans reaching for the panic button again.
However, Izzo has proven to be a master of helping guide his team through a season while growing as a unit along the way. In other words, Michigan State fans have no fear: Big Ten conference play is here. And this year's campaign started off on the right foot with a 75-74 overtime victory against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.To cap it all off, the team was visited by Izzo's mother, Dorothy, after the game. Not sure if Mrs. Izzo was ready for the attention from all these strapping young lads, but a hug from mom — even someone else's mom — always makes a win better. A 75-74 overtime win, good; a 1-0 start in Big Ten conference play, better; a chance to see Tom Izzo's mom hug every sweaty, smelly Spartan in the locker room, priceless.