Michigan State's Tom Izzo condemns criticism of his players as 'despicable'

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo came out on the offensive at his postgame news conference Tuesday night, after the Spartans dropped consecutive games for the first time this season, as he fired back at critics of his players.

"I'm gonna tell you something, guys -- and I really mean this from the bottom of my heart," Izzo said. "If there's any Michigan State people out there that are abusing some of my players on that frickin' Twitter ... I'm sick of it. OK? I'm sick of dealing with what I gotta deal with on that.

"So if there are Michigan State fans, I'd be more than happy to buy their tickets, and I mean that. I mean that. Now, if they're not -- but some of the stuff that my guys have put in front of me the last couple days -- I mean, we're still 16-7; we're not 5-20."

Izzo expressed frustrations after Tuesday's 75-70 loss to No. 22 Penn State, the 16th-ranked Spartans' first loss to a Big Ten team at home this year, that there has been too much unfair criticism of his players.

"I'm pretty proud of the 550,000 living alums," Izzo said. "And it's despicable, some of the things that have gone out there about some of our guys that have given more to this program than most of those alums or most of those people sitting behind a chicken keyboard."

Michigan State's Cassius Winston scored 25 points but could not convert on two chances to pull into a tie in the closing seconds.

"It sure wasn't his fault," Izzo said of Winston, who certainly didn't get much help offensively from his teammates, none of whom scored in double digits.

Izzo implored Michigan State fans to level whatever criticism they have of the team at him, not his players.

"I'm asking all Michigan State fans, real fans, to understand," Izzo said. "I get paid a lot of money, so take your shots at me. But don't take 'em on a kid who's been a 3.7 [GPA] student who's done more for this university than most of those people have. I just -- it's despicable to me. That's my shoutout to the people that love me or people that hate me."