MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (WLNS) — Of the four coaches in the Final Four, Tom Izzo is the only coach who has been to the Final Four before.

On this eighth trip to the Final Four it gives Michigan State a reputation that Texas Tech is very much aware of.

Chris Beard admires Tom Izzo, he even admits to growing up watching and studying his Michigan State teams. This is something that makes the NCAA tournament so unique, where a person like Beard who sees Izzo as one of his idols, now has the opportunity to play against him.

“Coach Beard talks about Coach Izzo throughout the year. He talks about Michigan State, their toughness, their rebounding, and now it’s kinda ironic that we’re playing them,” said Texas Tech Guard Matt Mooney.

“We obviously modeled our program after them, but we know who we are now and we’re a tough team together,” said Center Norense Odiase.

“It’s going to be tough because usually we take advantage of what people aren’t good at, but if a team plays just like us, it’s like, well dang, what are we not good at,” said Xavier Tillman of MSU.

It just goes to show you how much respect the Red Raiders have for Michigan State.