Izzo’s Approach to Scheduling Makes MSU the Team Others Fear in the Big Dance

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Coach Izzo is renowned around the nation as a coach who will play anyone, anytime, and anywhere. The fact that he took on a very talented Gonzaga early in the season is proof enough, but to take on Florida last week with their press, and UNC tonight, people need to take notice.


Take notice of what you ask? Izzo has said many times that he is more worried about banners that hang in Breslin than wins and losses. If you looked at the career wins and losses of he and Roy Williams, you can see all you need.


Roy Williams has coached 22 years. Seven more than Izzo. He also has 600 wins while Izzo has 341. The amazing fact is that Williams (in seven more seasons) only has one more career loss (139) compared to Izzo. So what does that say other than I am probably an impossible stat nerd?


Izzo shattered Jud’s career win record (he did so with his latest win against UMASS) and had he chose to schedule like Boeheim at Syracuse or Coach K at Duke it would have happened years ago. He doesn’t work that way. Cupcakes aren’t for a man that thinks March 24/7/365. He hasn’t followed their way that will see them hundreds of wins ahead of Izzo when all of them are retired. He doesn’t care one bit about his personal stats. 


Izzo’s commitment to being tough and not afraid to play anyone goes back to his UP roots. He has a chip on his shoulder. He recently, with complete candor and honesty, told the MSU press, “I fear for losing my job every day. Look at Bowden and Paterno and don’t tell me I have nothing to fear.” Izzo understands that the more good teams his Spartans play early and the more systems they compete against, that his guys are better for it come March.


Last season the MSU fan base, in part, went into meltdown over early losses. Izzo showed in March with a run to Detroit and the national championship game that you judge him in March. The Spartans will fight and claw tonight in Chapel Hill. Win or lose, the Spartans season is not going to change one bit.


When asked this week about his team’s drop in the polls from number two to number nine he frankly said, “I don’t care one bit.”


Spartan basketball, on the coattails of a genius coach, will be judged in March. Win by 20 or lose by 20 what matters is March. The eyes of the nation will be on this game. Just like the eyes of the nation will be on this team in March.


It is how Izzo does it. He is the best for a reason. He can take this game good or bad and parlay it into one more teaching point and hurdle to mold his team into a March Madness monster.


I will enjoy tonight’s game, but as the Spartan Nation has learned, it’s all about March baby.