A trying season for Tom Izzo, MSU

"What happens at the beginning of the year doesn't matter, but I had to remind these guys, 'Hey, don't listen to what everyone is saying. You are good and you deserve to be good,'" Izzo said. "I had to do that for me too. I had to realize that too."

It was something he had never done during a season unlike any other in his years of coaching. It might be the most he has grown as a coach, and if given the time -- the thing Michigan State has had the least of this season -- he will reflect on that fact and realize that the man coaching the Spartans on Friday is a very different man and coach than the one who began this season.

For a man who has made his career by not changing his goals, his coaching method or his sideline presence, that's a good thing.

"This season will be something I'll put in my back pocket and save," Izzo said. "And hopefully I'll never have to use it again, but at least I'll have a little better idea on how to deal with it. So yes, I think I grew as a coach, as a parent, as a person because of it.

"That's a deep thought, but yes, I grew."

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