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.



March 28th, 2010 at 5:52 PM ^

Look...Izzo is a good coach. I'd be a fool to say he isn't, but let's be realistic here. He owes everything to Brian Ellerbe. Beyond that, this year he encountered what may be the softest final four run in history:

-barely beat #12 New Mexico State (and should have lost if not for bizarre lane violation call)
-barely beat #4 Maryland
-barely beat #9 Northern Iowa
-barely beat #6 Tennessee
-facing #5 Butler in semi-final game

That makes him lucky; not a genius.


March 28th, 2010 at 5:56 PM ^

They shouldn't have lost to NMSu, but your point is valid.

-Two point win against a 13-seed
-Two point win against a 4-seed
-Seven (!) point win against a 9-seed
-One point win against a 6-seed

They are the basketball equivalent of 2002 Ohio State football.

Dr. Chim Richalds

March 28th, 2010 at 6:01 PM ^

...with his best player out for the season, his other starting guard playing at 50%, and his starting power forward playing while barely able to walk. I'd say that is pretty impressive. Also, three of his top four players today were in foul trouble for pretty much the entire second half.

I'm just saying...


March 28th, 2010 at 6:40 PM ^

MSU hasn't defeated a top 15 all year. The 3 best teams they have beaten Gonzaga and Wisconsin at home and Maryland (you could count at Purdue, but I don't givent the injury situation)

It is difficult to draw conclusions based on their schedule. (no big wins, no bad losses) But I would take a trip to the f4 no matter what the circumstances.


March 28th, 2010 at 6:37 PM ^

Obviously, they have been good.

In addition, MSU is now 9-0 vs non-top 4 seeds in games that 'should' have been against top 4 seeds in tourney action. This was the 2nd 'easiest' (by seed) regional. This year vs 9 and 6, they went 16-9-12-11 to reach the F4.

Is 9 games a lot? I can't decide.

BTW - He is also 9-7 in his career vs higher seeds.


March 28th, 2010 at 7:13 PM ^

I was thinking the same thing. He certainly deserves praise for keeping his program at such a high level for the past decade, but this year's run has been as much about incredibly favorable match-ups and last-second wins as it has been about solid coaching. Though you do have to give him credit for winning without Lucas.


March 28th, 2010 at 8:17 PM ^

Per the oddsmakers, they werent even favored today. And they were a pick 'em against uni.

I guess its kinda like playing East Tenn State or South Alabama in the second round

Or George Washington and Temple in the regionals

to chalk up what Izzo has done to luck is ignorantly partisan


March 28th, 2010 at 9:06 PM ^

Logic skipped you on that one.
If they weren't favored until today, imagine how the line would have looked if they played better teams. Yes...it's lucky to avoid playing top flight teams. It's lucky to be saved by a lane violation in the first round. It's lucky to sneak by with last second jumpers or free throws. That doesn't mean Izzo isn't good, but ignoring the luck involved is...as you say... ignorant.


March 28th, 2010 at 9:31 PM ^

How does logic skip me?

You charge them for not beating the "scrubs" they played. Never mind that one of them was the ACC Champ, one was the MVC Champ with an elite D, one of the best statistically in the country, and the other one had wins over UK, KU and OSU. They didnt play a single scrub team during these last three. You're purposely devaluing the quality of teams played to fit an argument. Arent 4-5-6 seeds basically the same? MSU beat them both by making the right plays at the end. Teams who are coached by greats like Izzo know how to get it done, so you say luck. Fine. But, you make your own luck by preparation and working hard, two traits of Izzo's team.

They werent really favored to win any of those and played the final 2.5 games without their best player.

I guess luck was involved, but they also outplayed all of those teams, gutted everything out and made the big shots when they needed. It's funny how teams like Duke and MSU always seem to make all the buckets at all the right times.

It must be all luck and not talent and coaching.


March 28th, 2010 at 8:36 PM ^

Played a 16, a 9, a 12 and a 7 en route to a Final Four. The #2 seed in their bracket that year lost in the first round.

Won the last three of those by a combined 15 points. Barely got out of that second round game.

I never once considered this team a product of a lucky draw, but I guess I have to now.


March 28th, 2010 at 9:19 PM ^

I'm surprised you can type and tickle Izzo's balls at the same time!

Try comparing apples to apples. Michigan was a #1 seed in 1993 and beat a #1 seed in Kentucky in the semis. MSU is a #5 seed. The #1 EARNS the right to play lower seeds. The #5 seed might luck into it. AND, if State beats Butler...that's still a #5 seed; not a #1.

Again, just because MSU got an extremely lucky slate doesn't mean they aren't good. It's laughable, however, to think they aren't in the Final Four because of lucky circumstance.


March 28th, 2010 at 9:40 PM ^

What's your problem?

Look, you are denigrating somebody's else accomplishments as just luck. I'm just pointing out that your idea of "luck" works both ways.

The 1993 Michigan team beat a 9, 12, and 7 in rounds 2-4. Thats a higher sum of seeds than MSU did this year. And, only beat those "scrubs" by a total of 15 points. Fine, we'll throw out the 9 because thats basically who they were supposed to play. But a 12 and a 7 in the Sweet 16? By yout logic, we should be embarrased to even consider that team worthy.

George Washington, a 12 seed, and Temple, a 7-seed. The # 2 seed in the region lost in the first round.

Never once did I think they ducked anybody or only achieved what they did through luck. It's why I dont charge MSU with just being lucky based on their seeding. I know enough about the NCAA Tournament history to know that most Final Four teams generally catch matchups breaks along the way.

Like the 1989 team that played an 11 in round 2, a 5 in the Elit 8 and a 3-seed in the title game. I dont consider that team lucky. I consider them National Champions. And I extend the same courtesy to others, even if they are rivals.


March 28th, 2010 at 9:50 PM ^

My problem is that you made shit up that I didn't say in order to prove a useless point, and called me "ignorant" in the process.

MSU has been lucky in the tourney this year. If you don't agree with that...share what you're smoking. No one...NO ONE would say that they'd rather play Kansas instead of Northern Iowa, Tennessee instead of OSU, or Syracuse/KState instead of Butler. It doesn't mean that if they win they won't be the "National Champion", it just means they've been lucky with the way games have fallen. Get off the high horse.


March 28th, 2010 at 7:35 PM ^

But they did. I wanted Northern Iowa to beat MSU. But NI didn't get it done.

I think Izzo has done a great job with the talent he has, and he always gets a lot of his guys on the bench plenty of PT.

I'm a little tired of all the douche talk too.


March 28th, 2010 at 7:46 PM ^

I'm proud to say that he is from a town less than an hour from my hometown. If he were our coach we would be enamored with him like almost everyone else is. What he does with the talent he has (which isn't quite comparable to the talent Kansas, Duke, and NC has each year) is remarkable. He is in the top 3 coaches in college basketball IMO.


March 28th, 2010 at 8:22 PM ^

Coach K, sure. Calhoun? Probably. And I'm not starting the Roy back and forth again.

But really, your others, are you serious? Gary Williams, who he just beat, has one won and hardly sniffed another, seriously? Calipari, who has choked away more bought talent than anybody? And Billy had one great team...which he has turned into nothing. They're a mediocre program. How do you win 2 titles at a place like Florida and not build on it?!?


March 28th, 2010 at 8:44 PM ^

Coach K needs no explanation. His accomplishments are unmatched by any active coach.

Jim Calhoun has more national titles and conference championships than Tom Izzo.

Roy Williams has more national championships and more conference championships than Tom Izzo, plus beats Izzo head to head pretty regularly, so I'm not sure where your argument is.

Billy Donovan has more national titles and has a winning head to head record against Izzo.

Gary Williams is the only coach to ever win a national championship without a McDonalds All American on his team since its inception. He also has a winning head to head record against Izzo.

As for Calipari, I'll give you him, since he hasn't exactly run a clean program and hasn't won an NC. However, the last time Calipari's and Izzo's teams met, Calipari's Memphis team destroyed Izzo's.

I'm not saying Izzo's a bad coach. On the contrary, he's one of the better coaches in the game and I definitely think he works magic in March. However, saying he's the best coach in the game when he has only won one NC and struggles against the coaches I've listed is just silly.


March 28th, 2010 at 8:04 PM ^


At everyone here who is saying hes not a good coach, lucky or that somehow only 1 championship in 6 final four appearances is somehow a stigma on his resume

I remember a coach who had been to five Final Fours in six years without winning. He must have really sucked. HIs name was coach K

Double LOL to anyone who feels somehow Izzo set UM up with its problems....are you smoking shit out of Tater's bowl? Get a grip.

Izzo is one the top-5 coaches in the game. No questions asked. He can coach my team in Bloomington or Ann Arbor any day he wants.


March 28th, 2010 at 8:34 PM ^

what if Izzo wins another NC this year? Then, by some miracle does he become a better coach, and move ahead of Roy to claim best among active coaches?

Blue boy johnson

March 28th, 2010 at 9:21 PM ^

This thread has degenerated into pure absurdity, which is what makes sports and this thread so awesome. I have probably engaged in stupid arguments like this about 4 billion times in my sports-righteous life.