- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 12, 2010

EAST LANSING, MICH. (AP) - National championship or bust.

A lot of teams might claim that mantra each year, but it’s different at Michigan State. The Spartans, after all, have advanced to the Final Four in consecutive years and six times in 12 seasons.

They haven’t been able to win a second NCAA title for coach Tom Izzo and a third for the school.

“We’ll consider anything less than a national championship a failure,” forward Draymond Green said Monday.

Izzo didn’t quite go that far.

The coach, who chose to stay in college in June instead of going to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers, did say the program has to cut the nets down in April once more to earn elite status.

“We need another title,” said Izzo, who led the Spartans to the 2000 championship.

The Spartans seem to have a shot.

Three of their top four and seven of nine scorers _ missing just Raymar Morgan and Chris Allen _ are back from last season’s Final Four team that won 28 games and repeated as Big Ten champions. Morgan was the second-leading scorer last year as a senior and Allen transferred to Iowa State.

Michigan State’s chances of reaching its lofty goals will improve if its banged-up players don’t have setbacks during the season.

Kalin Lucas expects his surgically repaired left Achilles’ tendon to be healthy enough for him to play in the season-opening game Nov. 12 at home against Eastern Michigan. Durrell Summers, who could’ve skipped his senior year to enter the draft, was slowed over the summer by a sprained knee. Delvon Roe, coming off surgery on his right knee, is working out without pain for the first time since high school.

Garrick Sherman (foot), Adreian Payne (shoulder), Russell Byrd (foot) and Austin Thornton (back) are also dealing with various ailments.

“The key to our season is going to be the injuries,” Izzo said. “Especially early on.”

As usual, the Spartans won’t be able to ease into the season because Izzo put together one of the tougher schedules in college basketball.

Michigan State will play in the Maui Invitational, where the field includes Kentucky, Washington, Oklahoma, Virginia and Connecticut. The Spartans will play at Duke, against Syracuse in Madison Square Garden and then wrap up the non-conference slate against Texas at home.

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