Michigan State Basketball: What's Next for Tom Izzo and the Spartans?

Zach SmithContributor IMarch 26, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 22:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans reacts as the Spartans take on the Louisville Cardinals during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball West Regional Semifinal game at US Airways Center on March 22, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

For the Michigan State men’s basketball team, this year came to a disappointing end in frustrating fashion.

In their loss to Louisville in the sweet sixteen, MSU only scored 44 points—the lowest total for a number one seed in the shot-clock era.

The Spartans didn’t lose because they are a less talented team than Louisville, but because they were frustrated by the Cardinals' defense.

Gorgui Dieng, the Louisville center, shut the Spartans down inside by blocking seven shots, grabbing ten rebounds, and swiping three steals.

Louisville also gave the Spartans headaches by pressing them all game long.

“They disrupted us a little bit and we didn’t have enough guys who could play well,” MSU coach Tom Izzo said after the game.

The mood on the bus afterwards was a somber one. It was quiet, and you could tell an era was over at Michigan State.

So what’s next for the Spartans?

Green, Austin Thornton and Brandon Wood are gone and the team will be in desperate need of leadership.

The clear front runner to step into the “Draymond Green role” is Keith Appling.

The point guard cooled off near the end of the season, but he will need to step up his game next season if the Spartans are going to make another tournament run.

It also helps that Michigan State has one of the most exciting recruiting classes in recent history coming in next year.

They have three four-star recruits that are all in the ESPNU Top 100. Five-star recruit Gary Harris turned heads with his game winning shot in the high school tournament.

Finally, we can never count out Tom Izzo.

It seems he always finds a way to make it to the tournament, no matter how much talent or youth he has on a team.

Michigan State is going to be a successful program in the coming years. The recruiting class they have coming in coupled with the players they already have, plus Tom Izzo, equals a very bright future.