Late-starting game doesn't faze Michigan State

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — When the start times for this weekend's NCAA Tournament games were announced, there were some head-scratchers.

The biggest was the fact the East Regional games in Syracuse, New York, were pushed later than the South Regional games in Houston.

The result was No. 7 Michigan State's game Friday against No. 3 Oklahoma will start after 10 p.m.

It's not the ideal time for teams in the East, but to adjust to the time, Michigan State was having practice late Tuesday night.

"I'm in bed by 8," junior Denzel Valentine joked. "It's gonna be tough. It won't be as tough going into it, but after practice when you look at the clock and it's midnight and you have to get up for class the next morning — that's when it will be tough.

"But it's cool. We got to get used to it and see where guys are gonna be at come Friday."

It's a significant change from the opening weekend of the Tournament, when both Michigan State games started before 1 p.m.

Odds are the Spartans will be kicking back and relaxing at that point Friday.

But the late start isn't just a problem for Michigan State.

"Oklahoma has to do the same thing," senior Travis Trice said. "They gotta play at same time as us. It doesn't really matter, the game is still the same. Whoever has more points at the end wins.

"So if it's 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock in the morning, it doesn't matter."

All in Trice family

The Trice family could use a private plane this weekend, or maybe the ability to be in two places at once. But considering Trice and his dad, Travis Sr., are playing for championships, it's a hassle they're OK with.

Travis Trice Sr. is the coach at Huber Heights Wayne, which is playing in the state semifinals Friday. A victory would put Wayne in the state title game Saturday.

"God willing we win and they will be in New York that night," Trice Jr. said. "It will be a busy week in the Trice household."

Feeling the magic

A photo illustration of Valentine has been making the rounds of social media in the last two days, one that has Valentine flipping the ball in joy next to the Tin Man, Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion from the "Wizard of Oz."

A copy of the picture was taped to the door heading into the team's practice gym.

"Caught me at the wrong time, I guess," Valentine said, laughing. "I was just really excited. You put a run together this time of year, in March, you make it to the Sweet 16 after everything we've been through this whole season … it was really special."

'Little tendinitis' for Costello

Izzo said junior Matt Costello has been dealing with knee tendinitis, but last week when Costello was asked he brushed it off, admitting it hurt by not wanting to use it as an excuse.

He took part fully in an early walk-through practice Tuesday.

"It's nothing serious, but a little tendinitis in it," Izzo said. "It's caused him some problems."