Tom Izzo loves March and so should you.
Michigan State lost last night’s game 66-62 and with impending jetlag and OMG Kansas, he’s probably going to lose on Tuesday. MSU loses games in November like they win games in March, consistently. While I admit my fan card for basketball is much less decorated than my football fan card, I find myself asking why anyone is surprised? This is what MSU basketball does, it’s not a slam on hoops, it’s just the truth.
KJ raises the obvious counterpoint:
Second, yes, this always happens, and Tom Izzo usually finds a way to get the team in position to succeed by March. This isn't football. There's no sense panicking over a single bad performance.
Still, losing in November is not a prerequisite for winning in March. In fact, establishing a higher baseline level of performance in November might actually lead to more success in March if the team can improve by the same amount from the higher baseline.
It’s hard to say, mostly because it’s been so long since MSU won these kinds of games. Even in the year MSU won the national title they went 2-2 against top 25 Non-Conference teams. It isn’t conjecture or mislabeling, MSU is just not good in November.
Other famous programs are not their coaches (Kentucky, UNC, Kansas) but MSU basketball is Tom Izzo and the two are inseparable. And Tom is a man with his eye on what’s important. Winning the Big Ten is important. Winning non-conference games is not important. Winning in March is important. Winning the Big Ten tournament is usually not important(last year seemed to be an exception).
It’s this ability to identify what’s important that drives our love for the guy. Yesterday, MSU played a game for the Wounded Warriors in Germany, a year ago it was playing a game for the Armed Forces on the carrier. In addition to providing a game for an audience mostly the troops, he gets a chance to teach these players that basketball is just a game and how lucky they are. Sure MSU gets some pub off it, there are other, much less positive, significant and cheap ways to get that pub, I won’t crap on anyone for that.
Tom Izzo knows who he is. We know who he is too and sometimes that’s a tough pill to swallow in November. But if these non-conference losses are the cost of all of those great Big Ten and March Memories, I’m damn glad Tom Izzo takes a month or two to figure out who he is each year.