Michigan State Basketball, Tom Izzo Seriously Overrated Now

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You can retire the phrase “January, February, Izzo, April” now. With the Michigan State basketball program failing to survive even the first weekend of the past three NCAA Tournaments, you can retire that saying; at least for now. (Never mind that Michigan State basketball, under Izzo has a 3-6 record in April- that’s some first world problems right now)

It’s not hyperbole to say that yesterday’s UGLY march madness elimination loss to Syracuse in the round of 32 was the worst of Izzo’s career. It wasn’t just the fact that the contest was a brutally unentertaining rock fight, which the powers that be purposely extended as much as possible for television revenue purposes. Thus it further prolonged the Michigan State basketball fan’s horrendous torture that was watching the second half of this contest.

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Even if MSU had pulled off the exhibit A in “survive and advance” yesterday, it wouldn’t have truly felt like a glorious victory. An alarming amount of State’s points yesterday came via lucky (read: ugly looking three-balls), and this game plan should have never been perimeter oriented on offense to begin with. Big man Jaren Jackson, as strong a NBA talent as we’ve seen in East Lansing in two decades, was on the bench in crunch time.

Izzo should have been running his offense through him. Instead he choose to die on the hill of Ben Carter.

Izzo’s game plan and substitutions made this perhaps the worst single game that he’s coached in his career. He left Nick Ward on the bench for much of the second half, and instead opted for Xavier Tillman. Izzo didn’t pound the ball inside against a Syracuse team that had their bigs in foul trouble.

MSU was playing in Detroit, with a team that features two future lottery picks, four future NBA Draft picks, against a team that didn’t really deserve to even make the tournament, and was also disadvantaged by having to win a play-in game just to even get to the motor city.

Now Izzo is 3-23 all time against the ACC big three of Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim.

In fairness, he does own Virginia and Tony Bennett for what it’s worth. Yesterday’s crash out was way worse than the Middle Tennessee State upset in 2016. At least that bizarre #15 seed over #2 seed upset could be somewhat explained by the fact that the Blue Raiders couldn’t miss and the zaniness of March’s single elimination.

Sunday was all about having Mr. 2-3 Zone coach circles around Izzo in game that the Spartans should have never allowed to even get competitive. Making an early exit, at the hands of double digit seeds, twice in three years is not a good look.

Except for two instances, North Carolina in the PK80 and Purdue, this Michigan State basketball team never looked special this season.

Overall, they barely looked better than last year’s decent, but not great team. Miles Bridges came back another year for this?

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This season was the window for the national title, and now that window is closed for awhile. It looks like the #TheClass is going to end their college careers without even a single Final Four. Let this be the lesson for you- never give a recruiting class a nickname (Just ask Indiana about #TheMovement).

Overall, Tom Izzo and the Michigan State basketball program just haven’t been providing the substance and getting the results to match their media hype.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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