Tom Izzo was fired up about Michigan State's victory over Valparaiso on Thursday. (Dale G. Young/Detroit News)
Auburn Hills — Michigan State Tom Izzo said he's pulling for Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament — and reading between the lines, that means Michigan.
Michigan State, which last gave the Big Ten a national champion in 2000, plays Memphis on Saturday in a third-round game at The Palace, and Michigan will face VCU in the first game of the day.
Izzo was asked Friday at a news conference if he thinks MSU fans will root for VCU against the Wolverines.
"I've said all year you can't like your rival, but first of all, I have great respect for (Michigan coach) John Beilein," Izzo said. "Good guy. He's done it the right way there.
"I am 100 percent pulling for the conference. I'm pulling for every team in this conference. I think sometimes in recruiting it helps if the conference does well, believe it or not. Right now we have so many good coaches in our league, we have so little recruiting issues like some conferences do. It will be interesting."
Izzo said that because Michigan and Michigan State are on different sides of the Tournament brackets, that might make rooting for each other a bit easier.
"I think this is one time it would be great for the state of Michigan," Izzo said. "I think the governor should put Beilein and I on the economic package and we get paid for this. That would be a good deal."
Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State and Minnesota have advanced from the Big Ten.
Wisconsin was eliminated.