March 19, 2008

Neitzel believes his tourney experience will pay off

DENVER - When it comes to NCAA Tournament there are few seniors that have the wealth of experience in the Big Dance that Spartan senior Drew Neitzel does.

Neitzel is making his fourth tournament appearance. He was a starter on Michigan State's Final Four ballclub in 2005. The following year, Neitzel experienced the unthinkable with a first-round loss to George Mason. As a junior, Neitzel carried the Spartans past Marquette and nearly guided Michigan State to an upset over North Carolina in the Tar Heels own backyard.

"He knows the thrill of getting to a Final Four, what it means," said Tom Izzo. "I think we always talk about leaving a footprint of where you've been, leaving something behind that will make sure 10 years from now or 20 years from now, when you before I your kids back, you say, Yeah, you know, I helped hang that banner, I won that ring, I did this, I did that.

"We talk about that a lot in our program because that's the level I think we've gotten our program to, and that adds some pressure. That sometimes isn't always handled properly by a coach or by players, but it is what it is. It's got a lot more positives than negatives. I think he understands that. I think that's why he's looking forward to seeing what we can do this week."

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