December 15, 2007
Fife: MSU is Best Since Mateen, MoPete Days
EAST LANSING - IPFW coach Dane Fife said that the No. 9 ranked Spartans that beat his team 79-57 in Saturday's non-conference game at the Breslin Center was the best team he has seen since in East Lansing since Michigan State's national championship team in 2000.
"Michigan State is an unbelievable basketball team," said Fife. "And I don't want to disrespect any of the coach Izzo's teams, but in my opinion, this is probably one of the best teams he has had since the Mateen Cleaves and Mo Peterson years. I don't want to disrespect in any of the other Final Four teams, but I just really like this team and how they compete. They may not have the talent that the other teams had, but this is a really good basketball team."
Spartan head coach Tom Izzo did not dispute the assertion made by the former Indiana star. But Izzo did make it clear that this year's Spartan basketball team does not yet have the killer instinct possessed by the Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson led team that Fife played against when he was at IU.
"I don't know for sure," when asked if Fife's assessment was accurate. "I think it could be. But I still don't think we have enough guys that are driven by excellence. When you can't put a team away at home, it means you are settling for mediocrity. I think IPFW deserves some credit for it, but I think we deserve some blame. We had some guys miss some bunnies, some easy shots.
That means that the focus just wasn't there."
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