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Tom Izzo, Coack K meeting in the Sweet 16? It could happen

Mar 17, 2013, 11:45 PM EST

Tom Izzo

There may not be a coach in the country that consistently has more success in the NCAA tournament than Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo.

It’s been 18 years since Coach K missed the NCAA tournament. Izzo’s been in the tournament every year since he took over the Michigan State program, and the Spartans haven’t missed a dance for 16 years. Coach K has four national title in his career, spread out over three different decades, and been to 11 Final Fours in total. Tom Izzo has made it to six Final Fours and won the 2000 national title.

And wouldn’t you know it, but those two coaches could end up playing in this year’s NCAA tournament.

In the Sweet 16. From the AP:

The coaches have gone head-to-head only twice in the NCAA tournament, splitting those games. Both have work to do before there can be a third – and then there would be the potential regional final matchup against Big East champion Louisville (29-5), the No. 1 overall seed.

“You know it is hard to look ahead to any of that. Coach speaking, never do that. But in human speaking, you do that,” said Izzo, 1-6 in his career against Duke.

These two coaches are part of the reason that the Midwest is being talked about as the toughest region in the tournament. You don’t bet against Izzo in the tournament, unless he happens to be playing the team many thought would be a No. 1 seed — and who was the best team in the country before losing Ryan Kelly to a foot injury — in the Sweet 16.

And then what about the other side of the bracket.

Rick Pitino and Louisville are the No. 1 overall seed. They could end up getting St. Louis in the Sweet 16, the same St. Louis team that won both Atlantic 10 titles and has been a trendy pick to make the Final Four for about a month.

It’s not going to be easy to make to out of Indianapolis.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. philliesblow - Mar 18, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    “Izzo’s been in the tournament every year since he took over the Michigan State program, and the Spartans haven’t missed a dance for 16 years.”

    I know it’s been a busy evening for bloggers, but MSU missed the tournament in Izzo’s first 2 seasons.

  2. majorhavoc83 - Mar 18, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    First, MSU needs to get past Valparaiso. That won’t be so easy given Valparaiso’s offense + the apparent lack of “fire in the belly” in MSU’s last few games; I mean, MSU got lucky to beat Iowa in the Big-10 tourney. Iowa came out like they were shot out of a cannon that game, and MSU looked & played flat! MSU got some timely shooting, and Iowa got nervous and/or cold at the end. In the MSU/OSU game, MSU just got out hustled and out muscled though they kept that game close.

    For the Spartans to get far into this year’s NCAA tournament, they’re going to have to play with a LOT more passion! Oh…and better shooting from guys like Appling wouldn’t hurt either. Talk about some stone cold shooting as of late!

  3. johnelwayishorsefaced - Mar 18, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    I’m a PFT reader who occasionally checks CBT and I have to say that the journalism on this site is shameful. Rob you called Coach Izzo “Tim Izzo” in a recent post. Now this:

    “There may not be a coach in the country that consistently has more success in the NCAA tournament than Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo”

    Since Coack K and Coach “Tim” Izzo are two different people you would probably say that there are not two coaches in the country who have consistently had more success or you would use the word “or” instead of “and” in between their names. Please pull it together.

    • fanofevilempire - Mar 18, 2013 at 7:14 PM

      Tim OR Tom, that guy coaches Michigan State really well.

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