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Tom Izzo: “We’re not turning down good players, either.”

Q. Hey, Coach, can you talk a little bit about experience more in terms of players and why you’ve consistently wanted to build four-year players at your university versus like going Coach Cal, Coach K, Roy Williams’ route and getting one-and-dones?

MICHIGAN STATE COACH TOM IZZO: Let’s make sure we understand, we want to get the best players we can get too. Everybody looks at it differently. I think you want to get the best players and make sure they have a good enough time that they want to stay as long as they can. I think there’s a lot of pressure on these guys right now and the way it is that I’ve had a couple of great four-year players that have done very well in the NBA, and I’ve had some two-year, and I’ve got a couple of one-year guys, and they’ll all do well too.

I don’t want to hold them back. I don’t want them staying for no reason. I just want to make sure that, when they go, they’re ready to go and contribute and be a part of things. I think we put a lot of pressure on these guys now. One thing about college, you get to make a few mistakes and still survive. Once you get to the NBA, you’re scrutinized at a different level.

So I have great admiration for what John has done at Kentucky, what Mike has done — and Mike has done it both ways, so has John, actually. We’re not turning down good players either. We’ve got some good players. If the No. 1 player in the country wants to come, we’ll make room for him.

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  1. Tom Izzo has been around a long time, and he has achieved success at the highest level. Every coach does it his own way.

    Over the last 10 years, Izzo has won 270 games and lost 84 (76.3%) and in the Big 10 he has won 128 and lost 54 (70.3%). His teams have competed in 10 NCAA tournaments with seeds ranging from #1 (1 time), #2 (2 times), #3 (2 times), #4 (1 time), #5 (1 time), and #7, #9, and #10 the other 3 years. His teams have reached a final 4 (3 times), and if they win tonight will advance to a championship game for the first time in this decade. The Izzo teams have exited in the first round (2 times), second round (2 times), Sweet 16 (2 times), and Elite 8 (1 time).

    This is a nice record for the last 10 years, and he has done it his way.

    John Calipari has done it his way.

    Over the last 10 years, Calipari has won 305 games and lost 71 (81.1%) and in the SEC he has won 136 and lost 38 (78.2%). His teams have competed in 9 NCAA tournaments with seeds ranging from #1 (3 times), #2 (2 times), #4 (2 times), #5 (1 time), and #8 (1 time). His teams have reached a final 4 (4 times), and the championship game (2 times) winning the championship 1 time in this decade. The Calipari teams have exited in the first round (0 times), second round (1 times), Sweet 16 (1 time), and Elite 8 (3 times).

    This is a nice record for the last 10 years, and he has done it his way.

    I will take Calipari over Izzo any day of the week, and year of the decade.

  2. I think Izzo is a great coach and the perfect fit for MSU.
    Likewise, Calipari is a great coach and the perfect fit for UK.
    Both of them are class acts.

  3. Professor, that is some good work. It would be interesting to see a similar 10 year analysis of Calipari’s record against Mike K. at Duke, and ole Roy Williams of the UNC “Cheatin Tarheels.”

  4. No one has done it better, period!

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