OT: Have to give it up--Izzo is the best coach in America

Submitted by wolverine1987 on March 28th, 2010 at 5:37 PM

This makes 6 final fours in the last 12 years for Sparty with Izzo, and many of those times he clearly did not have one of the four most talented teams. That record is literally amazing, and surpasses any coach in basketball today. What I don't understand is how they don't get even better recruiting classes than they already do. Izzo can tell any kid that if you stay four years here (or even two) you will likely be in the final four. There has never been a 4 year starter for Sparty that hasn't gotten to the final four since Izzo arrived. That is even more amazing. I am all kinds of jealous.


Zone Left

March 28th, 2010 at 5:40 PM ^

Maybe not the best, but he is damn good, no doubt about it. That said, we may never have found that out if the damn SUV hadn't rolled over. Damn it.

Ty Butterfield

March 28th, 2010 at 6:12 PM ^

IIRC, wasn't Mateen Cleaves there when the SUV rolled over? The fact that Cleaves was there just makes the whole thing not sit right with me. Something just seems off, like Izzo and Cleaves planned the whole thing and Cleaves flipped the SUV on purpose.
I can imagine this conversation taking place between Cleaves and Izzo right before Cleaves gets in the SUV:

Cleaves: "The chicken is in the pot"
Izzo: "Cook it"

The rest is history. Damn Mateen Cleaves.

The Other Brian

March 28th, 2010 at 5:42 PM ^

Define "best"...in that he's amazingly consistent, never puts out a bad team and consistently puts a good showing in in March? Yeah. But in terms of Xs and Os? Roy Williams owns his soul.


March 28th, 2010 at 7:36 PM ^

National Championships 1 to 1, Self has been there twice and Izzo six times. To me that says Izzo has a tough time closing the deal. Not to mention it was no coincidence that when Self's Illini squad rose to power in the Big Ten, Izzo and MSU went into a mini slump. I believe no big ten championships and 3 first round exits.


March 28th, 2010 at 8:20 PM ^

The guy below says that because NC beat MSU this year, Roy is a better coach....does one game matter or not..I'm so confused...

One game doesn't mean that much. But Roy Williams has beaten Izzo five times head-to-head, all by double-digit margins.


March 28th, 2010 at 5:51 PM ^

I don't know if I'd go that far. I'd say they're pretty equal. As much talent as MSU has had, comparatively, NC has been sending NBA teams to the draft on a semi-annual basis. They are the premiere talent program in the country, and Roy didn't win any till he got there. I mean, don't get me wrong...Roy's great. Maybe better. But I don't seem him owning Izzo. It's easy to draw up Xs and Os when you have better players.

The Other Brian

March 28th, 2010 at 5:56 PM ^

Recruiting is part of coaching. If Roy is head and shoulders above Izzo as a recruiter, then Izzo isn't the best coach in America.

And are you saying UNC had better players than MSU this year? Because they were horrible this year, and they still beat the Spartans. Last year MSU wasn't even competitive in either game they played against UNC. In the 2005 Final Four, UNC blew their doors off after halftime. 81-67 in the 2007 tournament, too. How many times does he have to beat Izzo's head in before it's okay to say he "owns" him?


March 28th, 2010 at 6:32 PM ^

I don't follow your argument. Williams outrecruits Izzo, beats him head-to-head and wins more national championships . . . doesn't that make him the better coach?

If Izzo needs McDonald's All-Americans to win championships, then he should go out and get them. Recruiting is part of his job.


March 28th, 2010 at 6:39 PM ^

I was replying to the post that argued MSU had better talent than UNC this year, and I don't think they did. And, when I looked at UNC's roster, I was surprised to see how many All Americans they have. Moreover, all I was saying is that as far as an 'in-game' coach, I would prefer Izzo.

However, I do agree with you that Roy is a better recruiter.


March 28th, 2010 at 6:43 PM ^

If Izzo's a better in-game coach, why does Williams destroy him in every head-to-head matchup? Surely the best coach in the country (your claim, not mine) could find out a way to at least not get blown out every time he faces UNC. Other teams manage to do it.


March 28th, 2010 at 6:35 PM ^

Izzo, (which I agree is a fact) yet Izzo has not a little better, but a way better record than Williams in the tournament, simply is objective, factual proof that Izzo is a better coach than Williams.

I get no pleasure from arguing this, this is a sports bar argument to me, but you are not measured by the regular season, or your championship year, you are measured by how well you do in the tournament over time.


March 28th, 2010 at 6:54 PM ^

A record that no one else is even close to. BTW, that is not opinion, it is the very definition of fact. Feel free to take the position that 2 championships, recruiting better players, and the regular season trumps that. You have a legitimate point, no sarcasm, but I'll very comfortably side with that record over Williams


March 28th, 2010 at 7:32 PM ^

He also walked into a lot of his talent coming into NC. Recruiting matters (unless you coach Michigan...then it's all coaching), but NC is the premiere program in all of college basketball (because they're not on probation half the time like Kentucky). They regularly have more talent than EVERYBODY. Isn't it with Rich Rod that we all expect him to be a good coach, but with much better players at Michigan, because Michigan can attract better players than WV? Izzo is Rich at West Virginia...just longer. MSU Basketball was a historically above average program, taken to great heights, just like WV was an above average football program. You can't discount the schools Roy was at when considering how he can recruit.

Tell me the times when NC has beaten MSU with less talent? If you take the whole season into account, NC underachieved...MSU is overachieving. Coaching has a little to do with it.

But I'm not saying Roy isn't an elite coach. Just that if you look at their track record of success, they're pretty close.


March 28th, 2010 at 8:35 PM ^

Whether it's talent or coaching ability is ultimately irrelevant. Williams is 5-0 against Izzo, all by double-digit margins. If Izzo is the best coach in the country, shouldn't he have found a way to at least keep in close - once?

As for us, if Beilein can't start beating MSU, that would be a sign that he isn't getting it done. I'm confident he can start doing so, though - we were literally seconds away from doing so at Crisler this year.


March 28th, 2010 at 5:59 PM ^

i kinda disagree...roy williams does well when he has four future NBA stars on his teams. however, even this year with a roster full of mcdonalds all americans, he sucked. if izzo had the players roy does at UNC, hed definitely get them dancing.

in terms of in-game coaching, there are few coaches i would take over coach k and izzo. as far as the latter, he's the only thing that i want from that university.


March 28th, 2010 at 6:26 PM ^

Yep...he did beat Izzo, and then proceeded to lose a ton of games with more McD's All Americans on his team than any other school Moreover, as a result of not winning many games after MSU, he didn't make the tourney, which is basically the entire point of college basketball. So - yes - he did suck this year. Roy completely underachieved with the talent he had at UNC and I think that if Izzo had the same level of talent (which he does not), Izzo would have gotten that team to the tourney.

McDonald's All Americans at UNC: Larry Drew, Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller, David Wear, Travis Wear, Dexter Strickland, and John Henson...that is 7 McD's All Americans!!! How do you not make the tourney with 7 of the nation's best players?!?!

McDonald's All Americans at MSU: ZERO!

Roy absolutely sucked this year and I would take Izzo over Roy any day of the week. I would, however, take Roy's players over Izzo's players, as well!


March 28th, 2010 at 6:31 PM ^

If all things are equal, I would want the guy who has consistently been there year-in and year-out...I would want the guy that has his teams totally over perform when it counts, and always puts his teams in a position to win. However, all things aren't equal and UNC has blue chip, lottery pick talent every year. MSU does not.

Granted, I do not like MSU, but they regularly over achieve with the level of talent that they have...and, I think Izzo is largely responsible for it.


March 28th, 2010 at 6:53 PM ^

Yikes! Look - if that's what you took away from my statement, then sure. That's exactly what I saying - I talked about my 'gut' quite a bit.

Geez, it's a simple opinion...They are both really good all-around coaches. Roy is one of the best, but happened to suck it up this year. Izzo happened to over perform every expectation of his team's ability and made it to the Final 4. That seems to be a patter of his...Izzo regularly over performs in the tourney - evidenced by 6 Final Fours in the last decade or so.

Granted, Roy has done VERY well at UNC; however, in his career, he was always plagued by his inability to win the big game. At KU, his teams regularly under performed and he couldn't get the monkey off of his back. so, props to him at UNC, but I would rather have a coach that gets his teams to the Final Four consistently and always goes deep in the tourney.