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Izzo's done it again -- Spartans advance to the Final Four

Mar 30, 2015

They have been chosen – it’s time for the Final Four.

Izzo is "intense" and "fierce" on the court, but his players love him, and together they've advanced to the Final Four, Bacon said.
Credit FLICKR USER MGOBLOG / FLICKR

Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo has now taken his Spartans to his seventh Final Four since 1999.

Number seven seed Michigan State plays number one seed Duke on Saturday in Indianapolis.

Izzo brought his team into the Final Four by defeating Louisville, “a team they were supposed to lose to, again,” according to Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon. Lousiville is coached by Rick Pitino, who’s previously led his team to a national title win against Michigan.

“So he’s one of the all-time great coaches,” Bacon said. “So is Izzo, and that was a battle of two masterminds down the stretch.”

The win appears a bit more impressive when Izzo’s previous statement is considered: that this current team is not his best. He even said that he would not originally have picked them for the Final Four. And yet, they did it.

Down eight at halftime, the Spartans bounced back.

“He calmed them down,” Bacon said of Izzo, who is experienced with this sort of pressure. “He calmed them down and got them back to x’s and o’s.”

Bacon has concerns about the game against Duke.

“They’re better,” he said. “This is a machine right here. And if you get past them, you’ve got a bigger machine in Kentucky and John Calipari. If that game happens, if you have Izzo versus Calipari, you have in my book about as close to good versus evil as you’re going to get.”

Bacon referred to Calipari’s somewhat “evil” lack of care for his player’s academic success.

“Calipari is not even trying to coach these guys very long,” he said. “They’re one and done, which means they don’t even go to school the second semester of the season. So because you can skip all your classes all semester and you will not be ineligible until about two weeks after the March Madness is finished.”

Izzo’s players, however, have an 83-84% graduation rate, which is higher than the rest of the university.

“Which is a heck of a thing when your players are still going to the NBA and things like this,” Bacon said.

Stay tuned for Saturday’s games on TBS, on cable. Monday night will be back on CBS.

“Find any bar, anywhere,” he said. “Or any friend will have this game. Not hard to find.”