East Lansing, MI
Tom Izzo spent nearly 80 minutes with the media today trying to recap the 2015-2016 season. Unfortunately he had a lot to talk about that wasn’t reflective of on the court issues. Since the loss I have been bombarded with emails and comments as far flung as the game has passed Izzo by to the team had the flu, he needs to hire consultants and the team was looking past MTSU. All of those are outlandish and all untrue.
Evidently many of those people have also emailed Izzo. He felt the need to address it today unfortunately. Spartan fans unable to process a 90-81 loss to Middle Tennessee that Izzo called, “The biggest” loss in tournament history, have contacted hm. He felt compelled to address many of the comments he has received.
“I’ve gone through the two or three days of grieving, call it what you want to call it, including ten minutes before I came down here watching the film for the third our fourth time,. Trying to evaluate what we shoulda, coulda done, what went on.”
He then addressed the voluminous comments from fans, “I just want to diffuse a couple of things. As you can imagine the U.P. is excited about this loss because of the amount of paper. The number of emails that I got and my secretary prints them out saves the U.P. with paper because of all the trees they will be cutting. I want to diffuse a couple of things. I don’t think any player looked past the game, I don’t think any coach did. There is a human element when a 15 is playing a two that I don’t think I can check until I can jump into someone’s head. I know the way we practiced, I know the way we prepared and I know the way our seniors where. It doesn’t even come across my mind. I don’t feel any different than I did that night. Did we make some defensive mistakes? Yes we did. Was it a lack of anything? No. I think in the second half in the last 12 minutes, I think there were like eight three point plays made. Either shots they made or three point finishes off of fouls. I think there were three or four of those alone. Just like we said after the game every run we made they answered it and they answered it with a three point play one way or another. That did take some of the wind out of our sails.”
Izzo went on to talk about the game reflectively. “For a team that went through a lot this year would I have called a time out earlier? Would I have changed defenses? I can think of so many things that, it is like an injury. The rich doctors come out and tell us all how to heal them. I can’t go that route. I definitely, I definitely want to make one thing clear. Blame the coach for whatever you want to blame the coach for. You guys (media) have been awesome. Do not blame the players for not being ready to play or something. As good as this team has been. As good as those seniors have been. We won 16 Big Ten games. We won by an average of like 16 or 18 points, some unbelievable number. They were used to not overlooking people. We were blowing some teams out. That had nothing to do with that. Respect had nothing to do with it. Problems in the locker room, my father’s death, I am trying to think of all the things I have read. Not from you guys (media) but, I want to be kind, the people out there. None of them are true.”
Izzo then addressed the loss head on, “We got beat by a team that played better than us that night. I do not want to diminish the accomplishment of what this team set individually, collectively, team and personal. It was an incredible year. Can you believe I am answering questions about ‘did you start out too good? Did you have too good of a start?’ Are people on dial a clue or what? It used to be you can’t win a pre-season tournament. I would not have done anything different. With the slew of injuries we were working on some things at the end that we would have dealt with earlier. That part nobody had any control of. That parts that I did have control of, and there was some, could I have done that or could I have changed that, I wouldn’t have done anything much different than I did. So that is what I should be criticized for.”
But Izzo wasn’t done praising one of his best teams, “Those players have my love, admiration, respect and will never wane one inch. We had some guys that made mistakes, and some guys that made some big plays. Had you told me that we would lose that game I would have said no. If you would have told me that we would shoot 55% and 46% from the three I would have said we’d win easily. That is why it is March Madness, that is why we all pay attention. If you asked me what I would do different next year, I couldn’t give you an answer. I didn’t think there was anything glaring. I think that is what frustrates me so much and I think that is what frustrates people so much. When I had years where Kalin Lucas had a torn Achilles, I don’t want to say this after losing my father, but it’s like somebody dying. If there is a reason you can stomach it. If there isn’t a reason, just walked off a curb. This is a game and I am not going to make it that big of a deal. It was a big game and a big deal with a team that I thought had a chance to make a serious run. As I sit there and watch the other games I do not feel one bit different. That is what I have to live with. That is what I am going to live with. I have had player meetings starting yesterday and my seniors, I have one left today. I want to make sure it is still fresh in everyone’s mind. There isn’t one thing I am saying to you that I am not saying to them.”
Perhaps before hitting send on that email, you trust a man that has led the Spartan Nation to 19 straight NCAA tournaments, seven Final Fours, one national title and in just over a week will most certainly be named to the Hall of Fame.
A difficult loss can be compounded when the people who are supposed to be part of your team pile on. I understand fans are frustrated, but calling out Izzo or suggesting you know how to do his job is disappointing. Sad may be a better way to say it. In my opinion.
Do you think he and the players aren’t frustrated? I was in the locker room, I saw the tears. Sad may be a better way to say it. In my opinion.
MSU didn’t lose because Tom Izzo lost his dad (passed away earlier this year) as some of you emailed him. MSU did not lose because they had the flu, they did not. Not because the team was looking past MTSU. I was there with them and at practice. They lost because on one night MTSU hit every shot. It happens. The fact that this was so stunning tells you how far Izzo has brought Spartan basketball. He doesn’t need to hire a consultant and you don’t need to send plays. It’s called Madness for a reason.
If you feel the need to contact him, how about just saying thank you. He’s earned it.