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Home / Sports / March Madness in March 2019: Tom Izzo from Michigan does not follow the script by beating Duke to return to the Final Four

March Madness in March 2019: Tom Izzo from Michigan does not follow the script by beating Duke to return to the Final Four



WASHINGTON – At the end of one of the best eight-eight-rounds in the history of the NCAA tournament, two Hall of Fame coaches and championship programs have fought a heavy battle worthy of the hype associated with each Duke is Michigan State Showdown. The only difference this time was the result, since the familiar tale that Tom Izzo was unsuccessful against the Blue Devils was not repeated for the 12th time on this stage.

This time, Izzo was the winner against Mike Krzyzewski with a Final Four bid on the line between ACC winners and Big Ten, as the Spartans shocked this year's March Madness with an exciting 68-67 victory over the Blue Devils ,

"We just doubled our win over Duke, we're 2-1

1." Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo

"Let's make it clear as long as we start putting on something from the same planet," Izzo said as he talked to coach K about his rivalry. 11. We've just doubled our win over Duke, we're 2-11. "

It's been 14 years since Izzo's only win against coach K and Duke before Sunday night. The final win also came at the NCAA tournament when Michigan State No. 5 seed defeated the best Blue Devils before beating Kentucky and reaching the Final Four. This Final Four appearance took place during the track, which was probably the most successful of Izzo's tenure as a coach. She led the Spartans 2000 to a national championship and six Final Fours between 1999 and 2010.

No one would ever argue that the state of Michigan would be in any kind of drought, but if you use this consequence the success of the NCAA tournament It will be frustrating if the next eight seasons in 2015 include only a final four appearance and the final four trip ends with a loss to Duke. This had already been established as a huge and apparent thorn in the side of Izzo and Michigan State at this time.

After three consecutive seasons not only under the Final Four, but failing the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, this Michigan-based team put all this frustration into the final minutes of its Sunday night with Duke. This extra effort was necessary to play the lockdown defense, to deny Zion Williamson the ball and reach the goal. The resilience and mental tenacity that was set in a season in which the Spartans had to overcome difficulties over and over again.

"I can not tell you how nice it is because I know what those guys went through," said Izzo. "Many people think they know what they went through, but there was something in those reviews, and I think the biggest meeting I had in ten years was when Nick [Ward] went down and I called everyone next morning at 7:30 am I just said, "We have to meet and go through the situation and we will not change our goals."

"I can not tell you how nice it is because I know what those guys went through. " Michigan coach Tom Izzo

" They really agree. I told our own media that it is so I did not know if I was trying to pump it up, or myself because I was not there. But it was one to hold on to. And they wanted to be trained. They wanted to be pushed.

The injuries and setbacks should have made Michigan State a non-Final Four contender, and there were times this season when Izzo did not expect it to end in deep entry. March: But the leadership of Cassius Winston, Matt McQuaid, and the rest of the Michigan state veterans kept Sparty upright, and when Selection Sunday rolled around the regular season's Big Ten, co-champions and conference tournament winners had formed on the other side Just like a Final Four contender, with one exception: the fact that he landed in the East region with the overall name Duke No. 1.

Here at CBS Sports, the numbers showed overwhelming support for Duke as the most popular national player With 43 percent of the club's players, they voted the Blue Devils to win the national title, and even more astounding 74 percent chose Duke for at least that To reach Final Four.

Maybe At full strength, Joshua Michigan gets more public support with Joshua Langford. But given the overwhelming talent advantage, most considered the East Regional as Duke, and if the Spartans made the Elite Eight, why should not this matchup break the same way they did in the last 14 seasons?

But if everything seems to have settled for Duke, then we should have seen how Izzo had to break the path. As his outburst of Aaron Henry became a national topic of conversation between coaches in the first round, Henry continued his best game of the season in the Sweet 16 against the LSU and the entire team rallied behind their coach and supported his more demanding Style.

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Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo meet after the Victory Spratan's Sunday
Getty Images

"Sometimes they just see the screaming, they see the screaming," said Winston, the region's easternmost regional player. "You do not see how much he cares about us, how much he's here for us, how much he pulls for us and rooted in. To give that emotion when it's time to win games is all about emotions and out of love and all out of concern, and that's all, that's our relationship, if you care so much about someone and mess them up, of course, you'll get mad at them and yell at them, but we'll do a good job of answering "

The best proof of Izzo's coaching style is the family he founded, a group of former Spartans who strive to inspire future classes to achieve greatness while wearing green and white. Magic Johnson spoke to the team before playing Duke, but his message sounded just like the constant presence of Izzo's former players. If Winston talks about not only following in the footsteps of the 1979 NCAA tournament but also of players involved in this state-of-the-art Michigan State program, you'll find that Izzo has a "brotherhood" as well Trainer K at Duke.

"It's not just magic," Winston said. "There are a lot of people who have come back, Mateen [Cleaves] was here, Charlie Bell was here, as I said, this Spartan heir and his family go back years, years and years and they are still pushing for us, still support us and we hope to do the same.

"We hope to leave our mark. And one day we'll come back and tell the young people, that's what we need to get to that point now that we're there. But we can come back and give these guys advice and give them all sorts of things. It's a big deal just to see these guys and see what the program means to them, come back and maybe do the same. "


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