I’ve long been an admirer of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. It was obvious not long after he took over in East Lansing for Jud Heathcote that Izzo was one of the rising stars in college basketball.
Fifteen years and five Final Four appearances later, Izzo is among the top handful coaches in all of America, as well as the most consistently successful Big Ten coach since Bob Knight ruled the roost from the mid-70s through the late 1980s.
Perhaps even more impressive than his wins, his Big Ten titles, or his masterful ability to produce tournament success, however, is Tom Izzo’s ability to be captured candidly on film in hilariously expressive ways.
If you want some actual analysis of Izzo’s career and how it stacks up against his peers, go here. If you want to see the 20 most intense, funny pictures of Tom Izzo on the first 10 pages of a Google Image Search for his name, well here you go.
Note: Click on the thumbnail to enlarge. Then use the arrows to view as slideshow or click the enlarged image to return to page.
Few people expected Izzo and his up and down 09-10 Spartans team to crack the Sweet 16. They did, however, because Earvin Johnson is not the only Spartan who knows how to work NCAA Tournament magic.
Michigan State takes on Northern Iowa in one Midwest regional semifinal game on Friday night. I picked the Northern Iowa to win because the Spartans will be without star point guard Kalin Lucas. I immediately regretted that decision, then regretted it even more when Northern Iowa ended up on the cover of SI this week.
I may very well change my pick before Friday night.
You know the old Jim Croce song that suggets you “don’t mess around with Jim?” Croce uses analogous reasoning like “you don’t tug on Superman’s cape” and “you don’t spit into the wind” in an effort to get his point across that this Jim fellow is pretty hardcore and is not to be messed with. Well, right up there with those obvious don’ts is “don’t pick against Tom Izzo in the NCAA Tournament.”
He may be short, and he may have a perpetually raspy voice, and he may have a funny last name…but he also may be the best basketball coach in America, and no one is better in March.
Best of luck this weekend Spartans. Keep on making Big Ten fans everywhere proud.