(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

That Tom Izzo. What a schmoozer.

The Michigan State coach was so busy catching up with old friends courtside that he nearly missed the Spartans pre-practice team huddle at center court on Thursday.

"Hey coach!" yelled former coach-turned-broadcaster P.J. Carlesimo in order to get Izzo's attention that his players were waiting for him.

Izzo smiled and sauntered over to provide a pep talk a day before the seventh-seeded Spartans (25-11) face the third-seeded Oklahoma Sooners (24-10) in an East Regional semifinal.

Izzo, who is making his fourth-straight Sweet 16 appearance and 13th overall, laughed about being late during his post-practice news conference.

"The players love when I miss the center-court huddle. They have no interest in me being in it," he said. "I always believed a player-coached team is better than a coach-coached team anyway."