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CharlestonDave
03-25-2014, 10:25 PM
A friend of mine who is neither a Michigan State fan or a Duke hater claims that Tom Izzo is a better tournament coach than Coach K. He is actually a Williams grad so he has no bias whatsoever.

He understands that Coach K has won more championships and probably has more Final 4 appearances but his argument is that Izzo's teams do not get knocked out in the first and second rounds the way Duke has in recent times and cited losses to VCU, Lehigh and Mercer as evidence.

He says that when Michigan State makes the tournament they are better prepared than Duke is especially in recent years.

I defer to those more knowledgable than me to answer this discussion as I do not have the facts to refute or agree with him. .

Duvall
03-25-2014, 10:27 PM
Michigan State teams rarely get to play low seeds in the tournament, because they blow too many games during the regular season.

downeastdad
03-25-2014, 10:44 PM
This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, not necessarily about the coaching but the recruiting philosophy. My daughter is a Duke grad, and is dating a MSU grad. BTW, I'm a Lehigh grad and a Duke fan, but my loyalties were with the Engineers in 2012.
I am increasingly concerned about Duke's recruiting of one-and-doners, and that, although their play is pretty spectacular, they seem to contribute little to the success of the program overall. Michael (daughter's boyfriend) claims that Izzo will not sign anyone who will not commit to four years at MSU. As a casual observer, it seems that Izzo is able to build seriously better teams, with seriously less talent, than K is able to do.
Flame me. Comments?

CDu
03-25-2014, 10:45 PM
A friend of mine who is neither a Michigan State fan or a Duke hater claims that Tom Izzo is a better tournament coach than Coach K. He is actually a Williams grad so he has no bias whatsoever.

He understands that Coach K has won more championships and probably has more Final 4 appearances but his argument is that Izzo's teams do not get knocked out in the first and second rounds the way Duke has in recent times and cited losses to VCU, Lehigh and Mercer as evidence.

He says that when Michigan State makes the tournament they are better prepared than Duke is especially in recent years.

I defer to those more knowledgable than me to answer this discussion as I do not have the facts to refute or agree with him. .

Depends. If you look at tourney performance relative to seed since 1999, then your friend probably has a case. If you look at their entire careers, it probably swings back in Duke's favor. Our tourney success from 1986-2004 is pretty much off the charts (10 final fours, 3 titles). But over the last 10-15 years it might lean in Izzo's favor.

tommy
03-25-2014, 10:45 PM
A friend of mine who is neither a Michigan State fan or a Duke hater claims that Tom Izzo is a better tournament coach than Coach K. He is actually a Williams grad so he has no bias whatsoever.

He understands that Coach K has won more championships and probably has more Final 4 appearances but his argument is that Izzo's teams do not get knocked out in the first and second rounds the way Duke has in recent times and cited losses to VCU, Lehigh and Mercer as evidence.

He says that when Michigan State makes the tournament they are better prepared than Duke is especially in recent years.

I defer to those more knowledgable than me to answer this discussion as I do not have the facts to refute or agree with him. .

In the last 13 years, Izzo's Spartans have been knocked out of the tournament in the first round three times, and in the second round two more times. They've reached the Sweet 16 three more times, so that makes 8 times in the last 13 years they've gone no further than the Sweet 16. Of those three Sweet 16 losses, in one of them they were a #1 seed, and in another (last year) they were a #3 seed, and lost to . . . Duke.

In the same span, Duke has also lost its first tournament game three times, and lost its second game once.

I'd like to see this guy's fact-based case as to why he thinks Izzo's record in the tournament is superior to Krzyzewski's.

CDu
03-25-2014, 10:49 PM
This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, not necessarily about the coaching but the recruiting philosophy. My daughter is a Duke grad, and is dating a MSU grad. BTW, I'm a Lehigh grad and a Duke fan, but my loyalties were with the Engineers in 2012.
I am increasingly concerned about Duke's recruiting of one-and-doners, and that, although their play is pretty spectacular, they seem to contribute little to the success of the program overall. Michael (daughter's boyfriend) claims that Izzo will not sign anyone who will not commit to four years at MSU. As a casual observer, it seems that Izzo is able to build seriously better teams, with seriously less talent, than K is able to do.
Flame me. Comments?

Izzo has had early entry guys before (Zach Randolph anyone?). And he was VERY heavily recruiting likely one-and-done candidate Jabari Parker (most experts had him deciding between Duke and MSU). So I don't think that recruiting philosophy is a sound argument in this case.

nmduke2001
03-25-2014, 10:53 PM
Since Izzo's championship, coach K, Jim Calhoun, billy Donavan and Roy Williams all have two. If anything, I think Izzo is overrated and riding the wave of the single championship.

CDu
03-25-2014, 10:58 PM
In the last 13 years, Izzo's Spartans have been knocked out of the tournament in the first round three times, and in the second round two more times. They've reached the Sweet 16 three more times, so that makes 8 times in the last 13 years they've gone no further than the Sweet 16. Of those three Sweet 16 losses, in one of them they were a #1 seed, and in another (last year) they were a #3 seed, and lost to . . . Duke.

In the same span, Duke has also lost its first tournament game three times, and lost its second game once.

I'd like to see this guy's fact-based case as to why he thinks Izzo's record in the tournament is superior to Krzyzewski's.

I will make their case. Since 1999, MSU has made more Elite-8s (7 to 5) and more Final Fours (6 to 4) than Duke. And they have done so despite having a lower average seed than Duke over that span. I think it is quite easy to make the case that Izzo's teams from 1999 to 2014 have outperformed Coach K's teams in the tourney over that span (especially when seed is taken into account).

nmduke2001
03-25-2014, 11:08 PM
I will make their case. Since 1999, MSU has made more Elite-8s (7 to 5) and more Final Fours (6 to 4) than Duke. And they have done so despite having a lower average seed than Duke over that span. I think it is quite easy to make the case that Izzo's teams from 1999 to 2014 have outperformed Coach K's teams in the tourney over that span (especially when seed is taken into account).

Couldn't you also make the case that MSU underperforms during the regular season and that's why they receive lower seeds?

ice-9
03-25-2014, 11:12 PM
I will make their case. Since 1999, MSU has made more Elite-8s (7 to 5) and more Final Fours (6 to 4) than Duke. And they have done so despite having a lower average seed than Duke over that span. I think it is quite easy to make the case that Izzo's teams from 1999 to 2014 have outperformed Coach K's teams in the tourney over that span (especially when seed is taken into account).

Another cut of the same time period (inclusive of 1999) is that michigan state won 37 tournament games while duke won 39. This year the Spartans will tie or pass that record.

Pretty close call.

CDu
03-25-2014, 11:12 PM
Couldn't you also make the case that MSU underperforms during the regular season and that's why they receive lower seeds?

Sure. But good luck proving it. That is part of the gray area of the discussion.

tommy
03-25-2014, 11:13 PM
I will make their case. Since 1999, MSU has made more Elite-8s (7 to 5) and more Final Fours (6 to 4) than Duke. And they have done so despite having a lower average seed than Duke over that span. I think it is quite easy to make the case that Izzo's teams from 1999 to 2014 have outperformed Coach K's teams in the tourney over that span (especially when seed is taken into account).

The OP's friend's argument was that MSU doesn't get knocked out in the first and second rounds as often as Duke has in recent years (not sure how "recent" is to be defined), and he is incorrect as to that assertion, per the numbers.

Also, the argument you are making, which is a different one in any event, touches on the issue of seeding. Part of the reason that Michigan State has often performed well relative to its seeding is that they have underperformed massively in the regular season relative to their preseason ratings and expectations, and gotten lower seedings as a result. In the last 13 years, Izzo has lost double digit games six times (always at least 12 losses, with a high of 15). And in three other seasons they've lost nine. So the not uncommon practice is to have high preseason expectations based on their talent, experience, etc., underperform during the regular season and lose a bunch of games they probably shouldn't, get a lower seed, then turn it on come tournament time, making Izzo look like some kind of a miracle worker instead of a guy who couldn't get his team to maximize its potential for much of the year. He's a very good coach, don't get me wrong, but given the record I just cited, plus the fact that he's only won one championship, and it was 14 years ago, he can't carry Coach K's clipboard.

CDu
03-25-2014, 11:17 PM
The OP's friend's argument was that MSU doesn't get knocked out in the first and second rounds as often as Duke has in recent years (not sure how "recent" is to be defined), and he is incorrect as to that assertion, per the numbers.

Also, the argument you are making, which is a different one in any event, touches on the issue of seeding. Part of the reason that Michigan State has often performed well relative to its seeding is that they have underperformed massively in the regular season relative to their preseason ratings and expectations, and gotten lower seedings as a result. In the last 13 years, Izzo has lost double digit games six times (always at least 12 losses, with a high of 15). And in three other seasons they've lost nine. So the not uncommon practice is to have high preseason expectations based on their talent, experience, etc., underperform during the regular season and lose a bunch of games they probably shouldn't, get a lower seed, then turn it on come tournament time, making Izzo look like some kind of a miracle worker instead of a guy who couldn't get his team to maximize its potential for much of the year. He's a very good coach, don't get me wrong, but given the record I just cited, plus the fact that he's only won one championship, and it was 14 years ago, he can't carry Coach K's clipboard.

As I said above, good luck proving that they underachieved during the regular season. And even if you did prove that, MSU still has better overall tournament results. All the underachieving would do is make their tourney path harder.

Class of '94
03-25-2014, 11:23 PM
I will make their case. Since 1999, MSU has made more Elite-8s (7 to 5) and more Final Fours (6 to 4) than Duke. And they have done so despite having a lower average seed than Duke over that span. I think it is quite easy to make the case that Izzo's teams from 1999 to 2014 have outperformed Coach K's teams in the tourney over that span (especially when seed is taken into account).

Excellent points....Living in the metro Detroit area, I hear that argument about Izzo being a better coach than K alot. However, it's interesting to me that a majority of the arguments are based on March NCAAT results and rarely mentions that regular season. When you add the regular seasons and conference tournament results, I think the pendulum swings back to K. Also, it's harder for me to buy the Izzo better than K (and does a better job of prepping his teams for March than K) argument when you consider Izzo only has 1 championship, and that was over 10 years ago, compared to K having 2 since Izzo's first and only championship. I think you have to factor in the number of championships won in that same timeframe as well; and I think it brings the argument at least to a wash between K and Izzo for NCAAT success imo. Lastly, K and Roy own Izzo imo in terms of head to head match-ups both in the regular season and NCAAT. I could be wrong but I believe since 1999, K has only lost to Izzo once. And I remember reading a statement in the local paper here that Izzo was tired of losing to Duke. To me that speaks volumes about K vs Izzo imo (even if you restrict it to NCAAT success).

SoCalDukeFan
03-25-2014, 11:27 PM
Couldn't you also make the case that MSU underperforms during the regular season and that's why they receive lower seeds?

but maybe Izzo is working on improving and preparing for the end of the season rather than winning early season games. Developing depth for example or experimenting with different combinations or just trying to figure out his team. It won't bother me if Duke lost half of their games in November and December if they win them all in March and April.

I also think the Committee needs to go a better job of accounting for late season form. MSU won the Big 10 tournament. Why are they seeded behind Wisconsin and Michigan.

SoCal

CDu
03-25-2014, 11:30 PM
Excellent points....Living in the metro Detroit area, I hear that argument about Izzo being a better coach than K alot. However, it's interesting to me that a majority of the arguments are based on March NCAAT results and rarely mentions that regular season. When you add the regular seasons and conference tournament results, I think the pendulum swings back to K. Also, it's harder for me to buy the Izzo better than K (and does a better job of prepping his teams for March than K) argument when you consider Izzo only has 1 championship, and that was over 10 years ago, compared to K having 2 since Izzo's first and only championship. I think you have to factor in the number of championships won in that same timeframe as well; and I think it brings the argument at least to a wash between K and Izzo for NCAAT success imo. Lastly, K and Roy own Izzo imo in terms of head to head match-ups both in the regular season and NCAAT. I could be wrong but I believe since 2009, K has only lost to Izzo once. And I remember reading a statement in the local paper here that Izzo was tired of losing to Duke. To me that speaks volumes about K vs Izzo imo (even if you restrict it to NCAAT success).

Oh I agree. I am not sure that anyone has had more overall success than Duke over the past 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years. But in the prism of NCAA success (and specifically since 1999), Izzo has a pretty good case.

FerryFor50
03-26-2014, 12:10 AM
I will make their case. Since 1999, MSU has made more Elite-8s (7 to 5) and more Final Fours (6 to 4) than Duke. And they have done so despite having a lower average seed than Duke over that span. I think it is quite easy to make the case that Izzo's teams from 1999 to 2014 have outperformed Coach K's teams in the tourney over that span (especially when seed is taken into account).

Here is MSU's NCAA tournament record since the 1998-1999 season:

1998-1999 - #1 seed; Final Four
1999-2000 - #1 seed; NC
2000-2001 - #1 seed; Final Four
2001-2002 - #10 seed; lost to 7 seed NC State in first round
2002-2003 - #7 seed; Elite 8
2003-2004 - #7 seed; lost to 10 seed Nevada in the first round
2004-2005 - #5 seed; NC title game runner up
2005-2006 - #6 seed; lost to 11 seed George Mason in the first round
2006-2007 - #9 seed; beat Marquette; lost to 1 seed UNC in the second round
2007-2008 - #5 seed; Sweet 16
2008-2009 - #2 seed; NC title game runner up
2009-2010 - #5 seed; Final Four
2010-2011 - #10 seed; lost to 7 seed UCLA in first round
2011-2012 - #1 seed; Sweet 16
2012-2013 - #3 seed; Sweet 16
2013-2014 - #4 seed; Sweet 16

Average seed: 4.8
First weekend exits (first/second round losses): 4
Sweet 16: 11
Elite 8: 7
Final Four: 6
Runner up: 2
National Champs: 1

Here is Duke's NCAA tournament record since the 1998-1999 season:

1998-1999 - #1 seed; NC title game runner up
1999-2000 - #1 seed; Sweet 16
2000-2001 - #1 seed; NC
2001-2002 - #1 seed; Sweet 16 (on a terrible missed foul call on Boozer and some Jay Williams missed FTs)
2002-2003 - #3 seed; Sweet 16
2003-2004 - #1 seed; Final Four
2004-2005 - #1 seed; Sweet 16 (lost to Mich St and PAUL FREAKIN DAVIS)
2005-2006 - #1 seed; Sweet 16
2006-2007 - #6 seed; lost in first round to #11 seed VCU
2007-2008 - #2 seed; lost in second round to WVU
2008-2009 - #2 seed; Sweet 16
2009-2010 - #1 seed, NC
2010-2011 - #1 seed; Sweet 16
2011-2012 - #2 seed; lost in first round to 15 seed Lehigh
2012-2013 - #2 seed; Elite 8
2013-2014 - #3 seed; lost in first round to Mercer

Average seed: 1.8
First weekend exits (first/second round losses): 4
Sweet 16: 12
Elite 8: 5
Final Four: 4
Runner up: 1
National Champs: 2

So since 1998-1999, Duke and MSU have the same number of first weekend exits. Duke has more Sweet 16 appearances, but fewer Elite 8 and Final Fours. Yet Duke has made the most of their fewer opportunities and won 1 more national championship over that time than Mich St.

Duke has had the higher seed by far, which means they had the better regular season record.

I think to say Izzo is definitively the better tournament coach depends on your criteria:

- Is it getting a better seed?
- Is it outperforming your seeding? (regardless of how the other dominoes fall)
- Is it getting farther in the tournament more often?
- Is it winning national championships?

To me, the goal of the NCAA tournament is winning championships. Final Fours are nice, as are the other cleverly named rounds that add more value to them then they actually deserve, but if your criteria is "gets farther in the tournament" then, yes, Izzo is winning that battle over the last 16 seasons. But only barely.

I don't think it always comes down to coaching; a lot of it is luck (what top seeds lost early?) and a lot of it is getting hot at the right time. I'd say Izzo's teams tend to play so-so during the season and then they heat up at the right time. The fact that he's done it so regularly means he's doing something right. But there is definitely value in what Duke and Coach K has done.

Duvall
03-26-2014, 12:17 AM
It wouldn't make much of a difference, but why start in 1999 instead of 1998?

Kedsy
03-26-2014, 12:23 AM
I will make their case. Since 1999, MSU has made more Elite-8s (7 to 5) and more Final Fours (6 to 4) than Duke. And they have done so despite having a lower average seed than Duke over that span. I think it is quite easy to make the case that Izzo's teams from 1999 to 2014 have outperformed Coach K's teams in the tourney over that span (especially when seed is taken into account).

Here's the thing about Michigan State's Final Four paths -- they've gotten pretty lucky with who they played. Here are the paths to Izzo's six Final Fours:

1999 (1-seed): 16-9-13-3
2000 (1-seed): 16-8-4-2
2001 (1-seed): 16-9-12-11
2005 (5-seed): 12-13-1-2
2009 (2-seed): 15-10-3-1
2010 (5-seed): 12-4-9-6

The only year they didn't play at least one major upset winner was in 2000, the year they were good enough to win the national championship. The good news for Izzo is when he does play a major upset winner he has made the Final Four five out of six tries (and the other time made an Elite Eight). Including 2000, since 1999 Michigan State has played a "chalk" path 9 times, and made the Final Four just the one time. This season, Michigan State will either fail to make it through a chalk path (if they lose to UVa), or will play a non-chalk path (if they beat UVa and then play either a 3-seed or a 7-seed).

In the same timeframe, Duke has played a major upset winner 5 times*, and made the Final Four in 4 of those 5. [* - this includes playing a 3 instead of a 2 in 2010 -- historically, 1-seeds that played 3-seeds made the Final Four 60% of the time, while 1-seeds that played 2-seeds only made it 48.7%. So I counted it as a "major upset"]

Historically, 1-seeds that play 5-seeds make the Final Four about the same as 1-seeds that play 4-seeds (43% to 40%), and in the '99 to present timeframe Duke has played and failed to make the Final Four on four of those paths, while Michigan State has never played such a path. For this purpose, 8-seeds and 9-seeds are even closer to equivalent, and counting them as such, Duke has played seven chalk paths since 1999 (11 if you count the 16-8-5/16-9-5 paths) and not made the Final Four in any of them (while Michigan State did get through such a path once out of 9).

I'm counting first round losses as "chalk," but if you don't want to do that, take away Duke's 3 first round losses and Michigan State's 4 first round losses (I think tommy missed one, by my count Michigan State lost in the first round in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2011).

So, basically, cherry-picking the timeframe that starts the year Izzo made his first Final Four, the differences are that his 2000 national champions made it through a chalk path (while K hasn't done that since 1992) and that Izzo played one more non-chalk path than Coach K did in the period, giving him one more "easy" opportunity (Izzo is 5 for 6 and K is 4 for 5 on such opportunities).

They're both pretty good. In my opinion, it's hard to make the argument that one has performed significantly better than the other over the last 16 years.

Kedsy
03-26-2014, 12:26 AM
Here is MSU's NCAA tournament record since the 1998-1999 season:

2001-2002 - #10 seed; lost to 7 seed NC State in first round
2003-2004 - #7 seed; lost to 10 seed Nevada in the first round
2005-2006 - #6 seed; lost to 11 seed George Mason in the first round
2006-2007 - #9 seed; beat Marquette; lost to 1 seed UNC in the second round
2010-2011 - #10 seed; lost to 7 seed UCLA in first round

First weekend exits (first/second round losses): 4 <--- Nope, 5

* * *

So since 1998-1999, Duke and MSU have the same number of first weekend exits.

Actually, Michigan State has one more "early exit" than Duke, based on your own data, above.

FerryFor50
03-26-2014, 12:30 AM
Here's the thing about Michigan State's Final Four paths -- they've gotten pretty lucky with who they played. Here are the paths to Izzo's six Final Fours:

1999 (1-seed): 16-9-13-3
2000 (1-seed): 16-8-4-2
2001 (1-seed): 16-9-12-11
2005 (5-seed): 12-13-1-2
2009 (2-seed): 15-10-3-1
2010 (5-seed): 12-4-9-6

The only year they didn't play at least one major upset winner was in 2000, the year they were good enough to win the national championship. The good news for Izzo is when he does play a major upset winner he has made the Final Four five out of six tries (and the other time made an Elite Eight). Including 2000, since 1999 Michigan State has played a "chalk" path 9 times, and made the Final Four just the one time. This season, Michigan State will either fail to make it through a chalk path (if they lose to UVa), or will play a non-chalk path (if they beat UVa and then play either a 3-seed or a 7-seed).

In the same timeframe, Duke has played a major upset winner 5 times*, and made the Final Four in 4 of those 5. [* - this includes playing a 3 instead of a 2 in 2010 -- historically, 1-seeds that played 3-seeds made the Final Four 60% of the time, while 1-seeds that played 2-seeds only made it 48.7%. So I counted it as a "major upset"]

Historically, 1-seeds that play 5-seeds make the Final Four about the same as 1-seeds that play 4-seeds (43% to 40%), and in the '99 to present timeframe Duke has played and failed to make the Final Four on four of those paths, while Michigan State has never played such a path. For this purpose, 8-seeds and 9-seeds are even closer to equivalent, and counting them as such, Duke has played seven chalk paths since 1999 (11 if you count the 16-8-5/16-9-5 paths) and not made the Final Four in any of them (while Michigan State did get through such a path once out of 9).

I'm counting first round losses as "chalk," but if you don't want to do that, take away Duke's 3 first round losses and Michigan State's 4 first round losses (I think tommy missed one, by my count Michigan State lost in the first round in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2011).

So, basically, cherry-picking the timeframe that starts the year Izzo made his first Final Four, the differences are that his 2000 national champions made it through a chalk path (while K hasn't done that since 1992) and that Izzo played one more non-chalk path than Coach K did in the period, giving him one more "easy" opportunity (Izzo is 5 for 6 and K is 4 for 5 on such opportunities).

They're both pretty good. In my opinion, it's hard to make the argument that one has performed significantly better than the other over the last 16 years.

I noticed the same pattern of MSU's luck factor in the tourny, but since Duke kind of got lucky in some of their runs (1999 - 9, 13, 6, 1; 2001 - 16, 9, 4, 6, 3, 2; 2004 - 16, 8, 5, 7, 2) and MSU usually was starting from a lower seed, I didn't really go into too much more detail. You could make a solid argument that Duke has been more unlucky in the tournament, whether it's chalk or simply matchups against underseeded teams or teams that Duke just didn't matchup with all that great with in general.

FerryFor50
03-26-2014, 12:32 AM
Actually, Michigan State has one more "early exit" than Duke, based on your own data, above.

Counting is hard when your eyes are crossing. :cool:

eddiehaskell
03-26-2014, 12:41 AM
Since '99, K has 4 final fours and 2 national championships. In the same period, Izzo has 6 final fours and 1 national championship.

Advantage K...7 days a week and twice on Sunday. Heck, if K only had 1 NC during this period, UNC would have 5 vs our 3. :eek::eek:

Something tells me that Izzo would trade '99-now tourney resumes with K if he could have an extra national championship. Think about it...all that success and Izzo has won the big one only ONCE in 19 seasons. That tells you how hard it is to win national championships. If Izzo doesn't win it all this year, it's back to rebuilding (Appling, Harris and Payne gone). He may be 62+ yrs old before he even gets a chance to win number 2. It looks like MSU's best recruit for next year is ranked #73 by ESPN.

Edouble
03-26-2014, 12:47 AM
Here is MSU's NCAA tournament record since the 1998-1999 season:

1998-1999 - #1 seed; Final Four
1999-2000 - #1 seed; NC
2000-2001 - #1 seed; Final Four
2001-2002 - #10 seed; lost to 7 seed NC State in first round
2002-2003 - #7 seed; Elite 8
2003-2004 - #7 seed; lost to 10 seed Nevada in the first round
2004-2005 - #5 seed; NC title game runner up <----------------------------------------Final Four
2005-2006 - #6 seed; lost to 11 seed George Mason in the first round
2006-2007 - #9 seed; beat Marquette; lost to 1 seed UNC in the second round
2007-2008 - #5 seed; Sweet 16
2008-2009 - #2 seed; NC title game runner up
2009-2010 - #5 seed; Final Four
2010-2011 - #10 seed; lost to 7 seed UCLA in first round
2011-2012 - #1 seed; Sweet 16
2012-2013 - #3 seed; Sweet 16
2013-2014 - #4 seed; Sweet 16

Average seed: 4.8
First weekend exits (first/second round losses): 4
Sweet 16: 11
Elite 8: 7
Final Four: 6
Runner up: 2 <-------------------1
National Champs: 1



Illinois lost to UNC for the 2005 National Championship.

Double DD
03-26-2014, 07:45 AM
Here's the thing about Michigan State's Final Four paths -- they've gotten pretty lucky with who they played. Here are the paths to Izzo's six Final Fours:

1999 (1-seed): 16-9-13-3
2000 (1-seed): 16-8-4-2
2001 (1-seed): 16-9-12-11
2005 (5-seed): 12-13-1-2
2009 (2-seed): 15-10-3-1
2010 (5-seed): 12-4-9-6

The only year they didn't play at least one major upset winner was in 2000, the year they were good enough to win the national championship. The good news for Izzo is when he does play a major upset winner he has made the Final Four five out of six tries (and the other time made an Elite Eight). Including 2000, since 1999 Michigan State has played a "chalk" path 9 times, and made the Final Four just the one time. This season, Michigan State will either fail to make it through a chalk path (if they lose to UVa), or will play a non-chalk path (if they beat UVa and then play either a 3-seed or a 7-seed).

In the same timeframe, Duke has played a major upset winner 5 times*, and made the Final Four in 4 of those 5. [* - this includes playing a 3 instead of a 2 in 2010 -- historically, 1-seeds that played 3-seeds made the Final Four 60% of the time, while 1-seeds that played 2-seeds only made it 48.7%. So I counted it as a "major upset"]

Historically, 1-seeds that play 5-seeds make the Final Four about the same as 1-seeds that play 4-seeds (43% to 40%), and in the '99 to present timeframe Duke has played and failed to make the Final Four on four of those paths, while Michigan State has never played such a path. For this purpose, 8-seeds and 9-seeds are even closer to equivalent, and counting them as such, Duke has played seven chalk paths since 1999 (11 if you count the 16-8-5/16-9-5 paths) and not made the Final Four in any of them (while Michigan State did get through such a path once out of 9).

I'm counting first round losses as "chalk," but if you don't want to do that, take away Duke's 3 first round losses and Michigan State's 4 first round losses (I think tommy missed one, by my count Michigan State lost in the first round in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2011).

So, basically, cherry-picking the timeframe that starts the year Izzo made his first Final Four, the differences are that his 2000 national champions made it through a chalk path (while K hasn't done that since 1992) and that Izzo played one more non-chalk path than Coach K did in the period, giving him one more "easy" opportunity (Izzo is 5 for 6 and K is 4 for 5 on such opportunities).

They're both pretty good. In my opinion, it's hard to make the argument that one has performed significantly better than the other over the last 16 years.

Your post got me thinking and I figured one of the lucky breaks you can get in a Final Four run is to avoid playing an elite team. And the ratings systems could probably inform me better than the seeds. So I used the KenPom ratings from 2003 onwards and the SRS ratings for before then to see if Michigan State was getting lucky in their matchups during their runs. And I think you could make the argument that they have.

Of the 60 Final Four Squads since '99, 15 have managed to avoid facing a top 10 ranked team in their Final Four runs. I've listed them below with their seed and rankings of their opponents.

2010 - #5 Michigan State (13, 19, 26, 102)
2008 - #1 UCLA (18, 21, 37, 298)
2007 - #1 Florida (13, 19, 31, 249)
2005 - #1 Illinois (11, 32, 50, 194)
2005 - #4 Louisville (16, 24, 29, 64)
2004 - #1 Duke (13, 15, 27, 271)
2004 - #2 Connecticut (24, 34, 53, 170)
2003 - #1 Texas (11, 18, 27, 276)
2002 - #2 Oklahoma (14, 30, 32, 127)
2001 - #1 Duke (15, 17, 56, 186)
2001 - #1 Michigan State (18, 22, 40, 234)
2000 - #1 Michigan State (13, 20, 42, 173)
2000 - #8 Wisconsin (14, 16, 24, 57)
1999 - #1 Duke (14, 27, 48, 277)
1999 - #1 Connecticut (20, 24, 72, 205)

As you can see, MSU pops up 3 times on the list, so they have had managed to avoid a truly difficult matchup in 3 of their 5 Final Four runs. Of course, Duke also appears 3 times on the list so they've had things go their way for 3 of those 4 Final Four runs. (One also can't help consider that Jim Calhoun is the other coach with multiple apperances and has the 2 easiest runs on the list)

The other obvious thing to note is that the list primarily consists of #1 and #2 seeds. This makes sense, since they would usually only need 1 upset on the opposite side of the bracket to occur to end up with an easy road. One could perhaps argue that these teams earned the right to benefit from being a high seed. And that the three lower seeds with easy runs were the truly lucky teams and that Izzo's 2010 team is one of those lucky lower seeds.

I'll also note that the 2000 championship MSU squad did eventually face a top 10 squad in the final that year in Florida. But that was the only top 10 team they faced. Every other champion since 1999 has faced at least 2.

Mike Corey
03-26-2014, 08:04 AM
Michael (daughter's boyfriend) claims that Izzo will not sign anyone who will not commit to four years at MSU.

Never trust people named Michael. Including me. ;)

This Michael seems to have overlooked that Jabari Parker was down to Duke and Michigan State, with whom Parker was just as likely to be a one-and-doner.*

Furthermore, the following Spartans left school early since 2001:

Zach Randolph
Jason Richardson
Marcus Taylor
Shannon Brown

~

Duke's obviously recruited more one-and-dones successfully than Izzo, and has recruited more NBA-level talent than Izzo. So more have gone pro, and gone pro early.

Early entrants since 01:

Jay Williams
Mike Dunleavy
Carlos Boozer
Luol Deng (this one still stings)
Josh McRoberts
Gerald Henderson
Kyrie Irving
Austin Rivers

Of the one-and-dones that K has recruited--Maggette, Deng, Irving, Rivers, Parker*--each fit into the system well but Rivers, IMO. But for a toe, our conversation here is very different.

~

* Parker may yet stick around, unlikely though that may be.

Wander
03-26-2014, 08:14 AM
The stuff about "getting lucky" in the seed path is super lame. How do you guys feel when you hear UNC fans complain about Duke's supposedly easy title opponent in 2010? (Also, looking at the data presented here, it doesn't look like MSU's seed paths have been particularly lucky anyway)

Relative to seeding, Izzo's done better lately - but I don't know why you'd choose to take a "relative to seeding" approach. Technically speaking, relative to seeding, Coastal Carolina has done better than most 1 seeds. It's a silly metric. One can pick a time frame such that Izzo looks about the same as K or a little better, but I think the massive difference in regular season success is enough of a "tiebreaker" to put K over Izzo in even those time frames.

CDu
03-26-2014, 08:21 AM
They're both pretty good. In my opinion, it's hard to make the argument that one has performed significantly better than the other over the last 16 years.

I would definitely agree that any difference between the two is not significant. And that both coaches are really good. And of course, Coach K still has the run from 1986 to 2004 in which he made 10 Final Fours, 6 championship games, and won 3 titles. Nobody is touching that stretch of excellence any time soon.

So the argument really just boils down to the time frame you use for reference (using the last 15 seasons including this year will slightly favor MSU; using the entirety of both coaches' careers would favor Coach K) and your measurement criteria. Both Duke and MSU fans can make reasonable cases in support of their guy.

FerryFor50
03-26-2014, 08:38 AM
The stuff about "getting lucky" in the seed path is super lame. How do you guys feel when you hear UNC fans complain about Duke's supposedly easy title opponent in 2010? (Also, looking at the data presented here, it doesn't look like MSU's seed paths have been particularly lucky anyway)

Relative to seeding, Izzo's done better lately - but I don't know why you'd choose to take a "relative to seeding" approach. Technically speaking, relative to seeding, Coastal Carolina has done better than most 1 seeds. It's a silly metric. One can pick a time frame such that Izzo looks about the same as K or a little better, but I think the massive difference in regular season success is enough of a "tiebreaker" to put K over Izzo in even those time frames.

I simply reply with how lucky their title run in 2004 was:

They played a 16 seed, the 9 seed, a 5 seed, a 6 seed, another 5 seed and finally faced a 1 seed against Illinois. Average seed faced: 7

Duke's title run in 2010 was much more chalk, outside of not having to face Kentucky and getting Butler in the title game (16, 8, 4, 3, 2, 5). Average seed faced: 6.3

I also remind them that UNC's last title came in 2005 and they've been to the NIT a couple times since then. And that Duke has the more recent title. And it doesn't matter HOW a team won a championship - it's still a championship.

But to ignore the idea of luck in the NCAAs is silly. It's absolutely a factor. The best teams don't always advance or win. Good teams have off nights at the wrong time. Mediocre teams have good nights at the right time.

CDu
03-26-2014, 08:46 AM
I simply reply with how lucky their title run in 2004 was:

They played a 16 seed, the 9 seed, a 5 seed, a 6 seed, another 5 seed and finally faced a 1 seed against Illinois. Average seed faced: 7

Duke's title run in 2010 was much more chalk, outside of not having to face Kentucky and getting Butler in the title game (16, 8, 4, 3, 2, 5). Average seed faced: 6.3

I also remind them that UNC's last title came in 2005 and they've been to the NIT a couple times since then. And that Duke has the more recent title. And it doesn't matter HOW a team won a championship - it's still a championship.

But to ignore the idea of luck in the NCAAs is silly. It's absolutely a factor. The best teams don't always advance or win. Good teams have off nights at the wrong time. Mediocre teams have good nights at the right time.

And they would remind you that the bolded part is incorrect: UNC last won it in 2009 and they've been to the NIT just once since then (actually just once since 2004). ;)

Otherwise, I agree with most of what you said. I'd suggest that an average seed of 6.3 isn't significantly different than an average seed of 7. But I'd argue that nearly every championship team has been the beneficiary of some degree of luck, and to ignore that would be, as you said, silly.

FerryFor50
03-26-2014, 09:08 AM
And they would remind you that the bolded part is incorrect: UNC last won it in 2009 and they've been to the NIT just once since then (actually just once since 2004). ;)

Otherwise, I agree with most of what you said. I'd suggest that an average seed of 6.3 isn't significantly different than an average seed of 7. But I'd argue that nearly every championship team has been the beneficiary of some degree of luck, and to ignore that would be, as you said, silly.

You and your facts. ;)

Yes 2009. Forgot about that run.

The 2009 run was pretty legit in terms of "chalk" (16, 8, 4, 2, 3, 2). Average seed faced: 5.8

The only thing bringing the averages down is the 16 seed. If you drop that number as the "outlier" (and because, to be honest, no 1 seed has ever lost to a 16 seed), the average seeds for all UNC and Duke titles in the modern era:

1981-1982 UNC: 4.6
1990-1991 Duke (was actually a 2 seed that year): 5.2
1991-1992 Duke: 3.8
1992-1993 UNC: 3.2
2000-2001 Duke: 4.8
2004-2005 UNC: 5.2
2008-2009 UNC: 3.8
2009-2010 Duke: 4.4

So the two "luckiest" tournament runs have been UNC's 2005 title and Duke's 1991 title.

As for overall average seeds, UNC had an average seed faced of 4.2 in all title runs. Duke had an average seed faced of 4.55. All in all, both teams can say they've had some luck over the years in the tournament. :)

Wander
03-26-2014, 09:19 AM
But to ignore the idea of luck in the NCAAs is silly. It's absolutely a factor. The best teams don't always advance or win. Good teams have off nights at the wrong time. Mediocre teams have good nights at the right time.

I would not call it luck. Part of the reward for having a great regular season is that you get to be placed farther away from other really good teams, increasing the chance that you might not play those teams at all. It's earned and part of the system.

FerryFor50
03-26-2014, 09:27 AM
I would not call it luck. Part of the reward for having a great regular season is that you get to be placed farther away from other really good teams, increasing the chance that you might not play those teams at all. It's earned and part of the system.

It's counter-intuitive to the idea of settling the argument for "best team"... Play well and hope the other teams lose before you have to play them?

It's also the very definition of luck - good things happening to you with no real contribution of your own.

Yes, winning in the regular season earns you a top seed, but you still have to win six games. And if those games are easier because one of the top teams had an off night or faced a bad matchup, then it's luck.

Plus, what about the other top seeds that "earned" their place when they have to face tougher roads? What if one #1 seed gets to play all lower seeds and the other #1 seed has to face all top seeds? Is that luck?

I kind of like the new playoff system in college football; top 4 teams play in a tournament. That way, each game is guaranteed to be against a team that earned it.

flyingdutchdevil
03-26-2014, 09:33 AM
It's counter-intuitive to the idea of settling the argument for "best team"... Play well and hope the other teams lose before you have to play them?

It's also the very definition of luck - good things happening to you with no real contribution of your own.

Yes, winning in the regular season earns you a top seed, but you still have to win six games. And if those games are easier because one of the top teams had an off night or faced a bad matchup, then it's luck.

Plus, what about the other top seeds that "earned" their place when they have to face tougher roads? What if one #1 seed gets to play all lower seeds and the other #1 seed has to face all top seeds? Is that luck?

I kind of like the new playoff system in college football; top 4 teams play in a tournament. That way, each game is guaranteed to be against a team that earned it.

Luck or no luck, the seeding should not diminish the amazing run that a team went through to become the National Champion. I don't think that saying "team X won with an easier path" diminishes anything. UNC won in 2005 and 2009. They won 6 games, everyone lost.

Teams like FL in 2006 and UConn in 2011 (non-favorites) deserve as much credit as Kansas in 2008 or UNC in 2009 (favorites).

I'm not sure why luck is being discussed here. The beauty of the tourney is that it's one-and-done, so there is a chance that top seeds can play high seeds deep into the tournament. I don't think that should take anything away from the top seed.

FerryFor50
03-26-2014, 10:02 AM
Luck or no luck, the seeding should not diminish the amazing run that a team went through to become the National Champion. I don't think that saying "team X won with an easier path" diminishes anything. UNC won in 2005 and 2009. They won 6 games, everyone lost.

Teams like FL in 2006 and UConn in 2011 (non-favorites) deserve as much credit as Kansas in 2008 or UNC in 2009 (favorites).

I'm not sure why luck is being discussed here. The beauty of the tourney is that it's one-and-done, so there is a chance that top seeds can play high seeds deep into the tournament. I don't think that should take anything away from the top seed.

Luck is being discussed because it exists. No one is saying it takes away from anyone who won 6 games, but think about it... how many teams in the country win 6 games in a row at a given part of the season? Winning 6 in a row isn't all that impressive. What's more impressive is who you have to beat to get there, IMO.

flyingdutchdevil
03-26-2014, 10:09 AM
Luck is being discussed because it exists. No one is saying it takes away from anyone who won 6 games, but think about it... how many teams in the country win 6 games in a row at a given part of the season? Winning 6 in a row isn't all that impressive. What's more impressive is who you have to beat to get there, IMO.

This is exactly the argument that UNC fans and Duke haters make about our 2010 run. We faced a mid-major, a 5-seed, in the final game. And it was a super close game. And they say that because of it, our title isn't as worthy as most other titles.

I call that BS. Our title is the exact same as everyone else's title. We won 6 games in a row amongst a group of teams that either won their conference or were good enough to be selected by the committee. We were the last team standing. Yes, I agree that there is luck. But I disagree that it means anything relevant.

FerryFor50
03-26-2014, 10:24 AM
This is exactly the argument that UNC fans and Duke haters make about our 2010 run. We faced a mid-major, a 5-seed, in the final game. And it was a super close game. And they say that because of it, our title isn't as worthy as most other titles.

I call that BS. Our title is the exact same as everyone else's title. We won 6 games in a row amongst a group of teams that either won their conference or were good enough to be selected by the committee. We were the last team standing. Yes, I agree that there is luck. But I disagree that it means anything relevant.

I pointed out in a post earlier that I'd combat the 2010 "haters" with the 2004-2005 UNC title. UNC got "luckier" in 2005 than Duke did in 2010.

But you're right - all that matters is who wins. My overall point is that the NCAA tourny doesn't really always tell us who the best teams are. Just what teams got hot at the right time. That's the luck element and it's very real.

But relevance? Not so much. All people look at is who won the title.

flyingdutchdevil
03-26-2014, 10:29 AM
I pointed out in a post earlier that I'd combat the 2010 "haters" with the 2004-2005 UNC title. UNC got "luckier" in 2005 than Duke did in 2010.

But you're right - all that matters is who wins. My overall point is that the NCAA tourny doesn't really always tell us who the best teams are. Just what teams got hot at the right time. That's the luck element and it's very real.

But relevance? Not so much. All people look at is who won the title.

I agree with this. Duke was arguably the best team in 2006 but we ran into the worst match-up. Similar story with 2011.

With one-and-done tournaments, it's often like that. I mean, Holland was clearly the best team in the 2010 World Cup. Spain just got lucky ;)

FerryFor50
03-26-2014, 10:32 AM
I agree with this. Duke was arguably the best team in 2006 but we ran into the worst match-up. Similar story with 2011.

With one-and-done tournaments, it's often like that. I mean, Holland was clearly the best team in the 2010 World Cup. Spain just got lucky ;)

It's true - unfortunate bounces, bad calls, halfcourt shots, etc... these are things that have decided games and are out of the control of even the best players and teams. When Carlos Boozer got fouled with no call vs Indiana, that was the difference between a Sweet 16 and Elite 8 appearance.

This is why the NBA, MLB and NHL have the right idea with 5 and 7 game series. That reduces the chances of a lesser team winning it all because good teams have more of an opportunity to overcome luck. That will never happen in college bball or football, so it is what it is.

Now, you could argue that Jay Williams should have hit his FTs, we make our own luck, etc. And you'd be right... but sometimes, you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail.

Chicago 1995
03-26-2014, 10:33 AM
but maybe Izzo is working on improving and preparing for the end of the season rather than winning early season games. Developing depth for example or experimenting with different combinations or just trying to figure out his team. It won't bother me if Duke lost half of their games in November and December if they win them all in March and April.

I also think the Committee needs to go a better job of accounting for late season form. MSU won the Big 10 tournament. Why are they seeded behind Wisconsin and Michigan.

SoCal

Because in the week before the B1G tourney, they lost to Ohio State and to Illinois (in a home game where they didn't even score 50 points). That's indicative of late season form too.

CDu
03-26-2014, 10:37 AM
I agree with this. Duke was arguably the best team in 2006 but we ran into the worst match-up. Similar story with 2011.

With one-and-done tournaments, it's often like that. I mean, Holland was clearly the best team in the 2010 World Cup. Spain just got lucky ;)

I mean, all anyone has to do to prove that the tournament doesn't determine who was the best team is to present the examples of NC State (#6 seed) in 1983 and Villanova (#8 seed) in 1985, or Kansas (#6 seed) in 1988. Those were all good teams for sure. But they weren't the best teams in the country that year.

You have to be good to win the tournament. You have to be lucky to win the tournament. You do not have to be the best team in the country to win the tournament.

flyingdutchdevil
03-26-2014, 10:40 AM
I mean, all anyone has to do to prove that the tournament doesn't determine who was the best team is to present the examples of NC State (#6 seed) in 1983 and Villanova (#8 seed) in 1985, or Kansas (#6 seed) in 1988. Those were all good teams for sure. But they weren't the best teams in the country that year.

You have to be good to win the tournament. You have to be lucky to win the tournament. You do not have to be the best team in the country to win the tournament.

Yeah, no disagreement here. I agree that talent and luck are integral part of the games, but I believe that comparing luck across teams isn't a valuable exercise.

FerryFor50
03-26-2014, 10:43 AM
Yeah, no disagreement here. I agree that talent and luck are integral part of the games, but I believe that comparing luck across teams isn't a valuable exercise.

Well, the purpose of this thread was to answer if Tom Izzo is a better in-tournament coach.

There are a variety of factors and facts that can be considered here, one of which is luck. The point was made at how much luckier MSU was in their tournaments than Duke was. It's no fault of Duke or MSU; it's just another variable and should be considered when weighing tournament success. It's just a matter of how granular you want to get in weighing how good a coach has been in the NCAAs and if anything short of a title really matters. Who cares if the previous rounds have cool nicknames?

Ultimately, results are what matter, and we've also shown that Izzo's results are not *that* much better than K's in recent history. In fact, if titles are your main argument, then K has been better.

Lar77
03-26-2014, 10:45 AM
I kind of like the new playoff system in college football; top 4 teams play in a tournament. That way, each game is guaranteed to be against a team that earned it.

Tell that to the fans of the team that is #5. I'm envisioning expansion to 8 at some point (and maybe get rid of the 1-aa game that every major team plays). After that, the postseason gets a little long.

The whole argument for expanding the Basketball tourney has been the exclusion of very good teams - like Maryland in the 1970s. Personally, I would give certain conference champions a first round bye and make the play-in games among the minor conference champions, but that's a whole different storyline.

Several coaches (I think K among them) have said that luck plays a big factor in winning the NCAA championship. So be it. The best team may not win, but unless you are satisfied with polls selecting a champion from teams playing an unbalanced schedule, or have a 4 of 7 format, this is what you get. Beat the team in front of you.

FerryFor50
03-26-2014, 10:48 AM
Tell that to the fans of the team that is #5. I'm envisioning expansion to 8 at some point (and maybe get rid of the 1-aa game that every major team plays). After that, the postseason gets a little long.

The whole argument for expanding the Basketball tourney has been the exclusion of very good teams - like Maryland in the 1970s. Personally, I would give certain conference champions a first round bye and make the play-in games among the minor conference champions, but that's a whole different storyline.

Several coaches (I think K among them) have said that luck plays a big factor in winning the NCAA championship. So be it. The best team may not win, but unless you are satisfied with polls selecting a champion from teams playing an unbalanced schedule, or have a 4 of 7 format, this is what you get. Beat the team in front of you.

I could live with that, as well.

When you add so many teams, you start to dilute the field a bit and luck becomes more of a factor. It's a sliding scale. But yes, definitely beat the team in front of you. :)

Lar77
03-26-2014, 10:48 AM
And to the thread topic at hand. I have a good friend who is an MSU grad and major fan. He has said often that Izzo is a great coach, but he is not where K is. I agree. Different coaching styles and personalities. If I wanted to build a team/program, I'd take K. If I had one game to win, I'd take K.

flyingdutchdevil
03-26-2014, 10:49 AM
Well, the purpose of this thread was to answer if Tom Izzo is a better in-tournament coach.

There are a variety of factors and facts that can be considered here, one of which is luck. The point was made at how much luckier MSU was in their tournaments than Duke was. It's no fault of Duke or MSU; it's just another variable and should be considered when weighing tournament success. It's just a matter of how granular you want to get in weighing how good a coach has been in the NCAAs and if anything short of a title really matters. Who cares if the previous rounds have cool nicknames?

Ultimately, results are what matter, and we've also shown that Izzo's results are not *that* much better than K's in recent history. In fact, if titles are your main argument, then K has been better.

Yup. To me, titles are the most important element. Unfortunately, this is also why I think Calhoun is one of the best modern-day coaches. His x's and o'x are, IMO, top in the game. Better than Pitino, Self, or K. Fortunately, Calhoun is only a decent recruiter and bad human being. So he's rarely put in the same breath as Coach K. Also, hopefully, Calhoun remains retired.

Kedsy
03-26-2014, 10:57 AM
Your post got me thinking and I figured one of the lucky breaks you can get in a Final Four run is to avoid playing an elite team. And the ratings systems could probably inform me better than the seeds. So I used the KenPom ratings from 2003 onwards and the SRS ratings for before then to see if Michigan State was getting lucky in their matchups during their runs. And I think you could make the argument that they have.

Of the 60 Final Four Squads since '99, 15 have managed to avoid facing a top 10 ranked team in their Final Four runs. I've listed them below with their seed and rankings of their opponents.

2010 - #5 Michigan State (13, 19, 26, 102)
2008 - #1 UCLA (18, 21, 37, 298)
2007 - #1 Florida (13, 19, 31, 249)
2005 - #1 Illinois (11, 32, 50, 194)
2005 - #4 Louisville (16, 24, 29, 64)
2004 - #1 Duke (13, 15, 27, 271)
2004 - #2 Connecticut (24, 34, 53, 170)
2003 - #1 Texas (11, 18, 27, 276)
2002 - #2 Oklahoma (14, 30, 32, 127)
2001 - #1 Duke (15, 17, 56, 186)
2001 - #1 Michigan State (18, 22, 40, 234)
2000 - #1 Michigan State (13, 20, 42, 173)
2000 - #8 Wisconsin (14, 16, 24, 57)
1999 - #1 Duke (14, 27, 48, 277)
1999 - #1 Connecticut (20, 24, 72, 205)

As you can see, MSU pops up 3 times on the list, so they have had managed to avoid a truly difficult matchup in 3 of their 5 Final Four runs. Of course, Duke also appears 3 times on the list so they've had things go their way for 3 of those 4 Final Four runs. (One also can't help consider that Jim Calhoun is the other coach with multiple apperances and has the 2 easiest runs on the list)

The other obvious thing to note is that the list primarily consists of #1 and #2 seeds. This makes sense, since they would usually only need 1 upset on the opposite side of the bracket to occur to end up with an easy road. One could perhaps argue that these teams earned the right to benefit from being a high seed. And that the three lower seeds with easy runs were the truly lucky teams and that Izzo's 2010 team is one of those lucky lower seeds.

I'll also note that the 2000 championship MSU squad did eventually face a top 10 squad in the final that year in Florida. But that was the only top 10 team they faced. Every other champion since 1999 has faced at least 2.

Cool stuff, thanks. My guess is "who you play" is going to be a big factor no matter what measure you use to figure out strength of schedule.


I noticed the same pattern of MSU's luck factor in the tourny, but since Duke kind of got lucky in some of their runs (1999 - 9, 13, 6, 1; 2001 - 16, 9, 4, 6, 3, 2; 2004 - 16, 8, 5, 7, 2) and MSU usually was starting from a lower seed, I didn't really go into too much more detail. You could make a solid argument that Duke has been more unlucky in the tournament, whether it's chalk or simply matchups against underseeded teams or teams that Duke just didn't matchup with all that great with in general.

I agree Duke's Final Four paths have a similar quality to Michigan State's. The fact is the vast majority of Final Four paths involve playing upset winners along the way. And the vast majority of teams who play no upset winners don't make it to the Final Four.

My original point in bringing it up was to show Izzo and K had similar lack of Final Fours through "chalk" paths (although Izzo had one success in 2000 and K hasn't had one since 1992) and also similar records through "non-chalk" paths, it's just that Izzo played one more non-chalk path since 1999.


The stuff about "getting lucky" in the seed path is super lame. How do you guys feel when you hear UNC fans complain about Duke's supposedly easy title opponent in 2010? (Also, looking at the data presented here, it doesn't look like MSU's seed paths have been particularly lucky anyway)

Don't call it luck if that bothers you. But looking at the historical data (assuming 8s and 9s are equivalent but all other lower seeds winning are upsets), and not counting the first round (since all teams play "chalk" in the first round), 1-seeds are twice as likely to make the Final Four if they play an upset-winner along the way -- 12 out of 48 (25%) have made the Final Four playing through "chalk" while 35 out of 68 (51.5%) have made the Final Four after playing at least one upset winner. And seeds 2, 3, 4, and 5 are almost six times more likely to make the Final Four if they play an upset winner along the way (collectively 49 out of 183, 26.8%) than they are if they play their expected path (9 out of 191, 4.7%). That's not lame, it's a real difference.

This shouldn't take away anything from the teams that win, but it certainly should give some perspective. When we say, "so-and-so made x Final Fours and the other so-and-so only made y," those comparisons don't mean nearly as much unless you compare paths as well.

Wander
03-26-2014, 11:07 AM
I pointed out in a post earlier that I'd combat the 2010 "haters" with the 2004-2005 UNC title. UNC got "luckier" in 2005 than Duke did in 2010.

But you're right - all that matters is who wins. My overall point is that the NCAA tourny doesn't really always tell us who the best teams are. Just what teams got hot at the right time. That's the luck element and it's very real.

But relevance? Not so much. All people look at is who won the title.

First of all, 2005 was a year when the two teams that everyone thought were the two best teams during the regular season made it to the title game, so it seems pretty odd to cite that tournament as lucky or flukey or whatever. I don't agree that your average seed metric is a good one to determine that. A better example of luck is Stanford or UNC this year, who got to play opponents missing one of their best players.

I'd just like to point out that I didn't claim luck didn't exist at all - just that it was lame to use it in an argument like this. And the reason is: while you may get lucky or unlucky in a given tournament, it's VERY unlikely that one team is significantly luckier than another team over a 15 year span. (And I don't think we need to invoke it anyway to show K is a better coach than Izzo).

bbosbbos
03-26-2014, 11:17 AM
It is very funny that some people compared best days' Izzo to down days' K. Or better you pick the year that Izzo won NC while K was crying, which may suggest Izzo is the king and K is nobody. I strongly suggest you to do that if you really want to prove Izzo is better than K. One year record would do the best job to support your opinion.

Most people do not know history and have no knowledge in statistics either.

Biased people are always biased.

I never care about what they said.

Double DD
03-26-2014, 02:22 PM
First of all, 2005 was a year when the two teams that everyone thought were the two best teams during the regular season made it to the title game, so it seems pretty odd to cite that tournament as lucky or flukey or whatever. I don't agree that your average seed metric is a good one to determine that. A better example of luck is Stanford or UNC this year, who got to play opponents missing one of their best players.

I'd just like to point out that I didn't claim luck didn't exist at all - just that it was lame to use it in an argument like this. And the reason is: while you may get lucky or unlucky in a given tournament, it's VERY unlikely that one team is significantly luckier than another team over a 15 year span. (And I don't think we need to invoke it anyway to show K is a better coach than Izzo).

15 tournaments really isn't that big a sample. One team can definitely get luckier in matchups than another team over it.

tendev
03-26-2014, 02:41 PM
How does that happen? Does Izzo somehow up his coaching game after he has been sandbagging throughout the regular season?

tommy
03-26-2014, 04:50 PM
The OP's friend's argument was that MSU doesn't get knocked out in the first and second rounds as often as Duke has in recent years (not sure how "recent" is to be defined), and he is incorrect as to that assertion, per the numbers.

Also, the argument you are making, which is a different one in any event, touches on the issue of seeding. Part of the reason that Michigan State has often performed well relative to its seeding is that they have underperformed massively in the regular season relative to their preseason ratings and expectations, and gotten lower seedings as a result. In the last 13 years, Izzo has lost double digit games six times (always at least 12 losses, with a high of 15). And in three other seasons they've lost nine. So the not uncommon practice is to have high preseason expectations based on their talent, experience, etc., underperform during the regular season and lose a bunch of games they probably shouldn't, get a lower seed, then turn it on come tournament time, making Izzo look like some kind of a miracle worker instead of a guy who couldn't get his team to maximize its potential for much of the year. He's a very good coach, don't get me wrong, but given the record I just cited, plus the fact that he's only won one championship, and it was 14 years ago, he can't carry Coach K's clipboard.


Couldn't you also make the case that MSU underperforms during the regular season and that's why they receive lower seeds?



Sure. But good luck proving it. That is part of the gray area of the discussion.

OK here we go:

Michigan State since 2001-02:

2001-02: Preseason (AP) ranked #15. Final record was 19-12, got a #10 seed, and lost iin the first round to #7 NC State. Hard to argue that is not a disappointing regular season (and season as a whole) for the pre-season #15 team.

2002-03: Preseason ranked #9. 22-13 season included a home loss to #162 Toledo. Got a #7 seed and had a very good run, losing in the Elite Eight to #1 seed Texas. Underachieving regular season, low seed, followed by a strong tournament run, ending up about where they were predicted to end up, per the preseason polls.

2003-04: Ranked #3 in the preseason. Ended up 18-12 on the year and gettting a #7 seed, losing in the first round to #10 Nevada. Clearly underperformed vis-a-vis preseason expectations.

2004-05: Ranked #13 in the preseason, had a good year, going 26-7, got a #5 seed and made a run to the Final Four, undoubtedly aided, however, by #4 Syracuse being upset so MSU got to play Vermont in the second round instead, but still, not their "fault." But the #5 seed could be viewed as a slight underperformance to the #13 pre-season ranking, and then they made the good run.

2005-06: Pre-season ranked #4 in the nation. Went 22-12, with one of the 12 losses being a 20 point drubbing by Hawaii. Got a #6 seed, and lost in the first round to #11 George Mason. Major underperformance by this team, regular season and tournament.

2006-07: Preseason they were unranked. Went 23-12, got a #9 seed, and lost in the second round to #1 UNC. I guess with a #9 seed they were not thought of as one of the top 32 teams in the nation per the committee, so hard to say if they exceeded or fell short of expectations. Probably neither.

2007-08: Preseason ranked #8. Went 27-9, including some pretty bad losses to Iowa and Penn State, got a #5 seed, and was blown out in the Sweet 16 by Memphis. Underperformance in the regular season relative to preseason expectations, again.

2008-09: Ranked #6 in the preseason, suffered a 35 point blowout by UNC early, as well as losses to Northwestern and Penn State, but recovered to get a #2 seed (record was 31-7, and made it to the NCAA Finals before losing again to UNC. Solid run, and this season their regular season performance (and their seed) matched preseason expectations.

2009-10: Preseason ranked #2 in the country. Went 28-9 and got a #5 seed. In the tournament they benefitted greatly from two big upsets - Northern Iowa taking out #1 Kansas and Tennessee beating #2 Ohio State, so their path to the Final Four went 12-4-9-6. Lost to Butler in the Final Four. Again, their regular season performance fell short of expectations, and then (with the benefit of the upsets) made a strong run in the tournament. Oh, that master motivator Tom Izzo!

2010-11: Again ranked #2 in the nation preseason. Ended up going 19-15 (!) and only getting a #10 seed, and losing in the first round to #7 UCLA. Massive underachievement.

2011-12: This team clearly exceeded expectations. They were unranked to start the season, but had an excellent year, going 29-8 and earning a #1 seed, before they lost in the Sweet 16 to Louisville. Sort of the opposite of what they usually do. They exceeded preseason expectations, earned a high seed, and then were upset in the tournament.

2012-13: Preseason ranked #14 in the country, went 27-9, earned a #3 seed, and lost in the Sweet 16 to #2 Duke. Met expectations.


So, has Michigan State ALWAYS underperformed in the regular season relative to preseason expectations? No. But they sure have done so a lot, much more often than they have exceeded those expectations. Undoubtedly, their regular season underperformance has led to lower seeds than they were expected to get before the season started (extrapolating from the polls) so when they have made runs in those years, it has fed into the "Izzo is a tournament magician" narrative, that I think is bogus. I'm sure you'll find something lacking in my look at this history, or find some way to twist what I'm saying, but I'm not saying that Izzo isn't a very good coach, or that he hasn't had significant tournament success. Obviously, he has. When viewed in context, though, and when viewed in light of the early round exits and the underseeding of his teams -- which is their fault, due to poor regular season play - I am far less enamored of the "Izzo is a historicallly great tournament coach, especially when starting with a low seed" narrative than are many others, including much of the media.

CDu
03-26-2014, 05:23 PM
So, has Michigan State ALWAYS underperformed in the regular season relative to preseason expectations? No. But they sure have done so a lot, much more often than they have exceeded those expectations. Undoubtedly, their regular season underperformance has led to lower seeds than they were expected to get before the season started (extrapolating from the polls) so when they have made runs in those years, it has fed into the "Izzo is a tournament magician" narrative, that I think is bogus. I'm sure you'll find something lacking in my look at this history, or find some way to twist what I'm saying, but I'm not saying that Izzo isn't a very good coach, or that he hasn't had significant tournament success. Obviously, he has. When viewed in context, though, and when viewed in light of the early round exits and the underseeding of his teams -- which is their fault, due to poor regular season play - I am far less enamored of the "Izzo is a historicallly great tournament coach, especially when starting with a low seed" narrative than are many others, including much of the media.

Preseason ranking, while occasionally accurate, are far from an objective measure of a team's quality), then you can say his teams underachieve in the regular season. But if you believe that, then all that underachieving did was make Izzo's tourney path harder than it should have been. And in spite of that, he has basically mirrored Duke's success: same number of (or more) wins; more elite-8s and Final Fours; one fewer championship.

So while you can certainly use those preseason rankings as an argument that he underachieved, it is hardly solid proof. It's all in the narrative you choose to believe, because there is no solid objective measure of a team's "true" quality with which to assess whether a team has achieved or not.

MaxAMillion
03-26-2014, 05:35 PM
I prefer national titles. I will gladly take more early exits if you also get more titles. I would also like to think that Izzo would do better against Coack K head to head if he is a better coach...of course Izzo losing to K straight up (like in last year's tournament) probably doesn't fit into the pro Izzo argument.

tommy
03-26-2014, 05:35 PM
Preseason ranking, while occasionally accurate, are far from an objective measure of a team's quality), then you can say his teams underachieve in the regular season. But if you believe that, then all that underachieving did was make Izzo's tourney path harder than it should have been. And in spite of that, he has basically mirrored Duke's success: same number of (or more) wins; more elite-8s and Final Fours; one fewer championship.

So while you can certainly use those preseason rankings as an argument that he underachieved, it is hardly solid proof. It's all in the narrative you choose to believe, because there is no solid objective measure of a team's "true" quality with which to assess whether a team has achieved or not.

So what I think I understand you to be saying is that when you asked for "proof" that Michigan State has underachieved in the regular season in this year or that year or any number of years, it was not an authentic request, because it was a request that was impossible to satisfy, in that nothing presented in response could ever qualify as "proof" in your mind. Do I have that right?

Lauderdevil
03-26-2014, 05:54 PM
Here is MSU's NCAA tournament record since the 1998-1999 season:

1998-1999 - #1 seed; Final Four
1999-2000 - #1 seed; NC
2000-2001 - #1 seed; Final Four
2001-2002 - #10 seed; lost to 7 seed NC State in first round
2002-2003 - #7 seed; Elite 8
2003-2004 - #7 seed; lost to 10 seed Nevada in the first round
2004-2005 - #5 seed; NC title game runner up
2005-2006 - #6 seed; lost to 11 seed George Mason in the first round
2006-2007 - #9 seed; beat Marquette; lost to 1 seed UNC in the second round
2007-2008 - #5 seed; Sweet 16
2008-2009 - #2 seed; NC title game runner up
2009-2010 - #5 seed; Final Four
2010-2011 - #10 seed; lost to 7 seed UCLA in first round
2011-2012 - #1 seed; Sweet 16
2012-2013 - #3 seed; Sweet 16
2013-2014 - #4 seed; Sweet 16

Average seed: 4.8
First weekend exits (first/second round losses): 4
Sweet 16: 11
Elite 8: 7
Final Four: 6
Runner up: 2
National Champs: 1

Here is Duke's NCAA tournament record since the 1998-1999 season:

1998-1999 - #1 seed; NC title game runner up
1999-2000 - #1 seed; Sweet 16
2000-2001 - #1 seed; NC
2001-2002 - #1 seed; Sweet 16 (on a terrible missed foul call on Boozer and some Jay Williams missed FTs)
2002-2003 - #3 seed; Sweet 16
2003-2004 - #1 seed; Final Four
2004-2005 - #1 seed; Sweet 16 (lost to Mich St and PAUL FREAKIN DAVIS)
2005-2006 - #1 seed; Sweet 16
2006-2007 - #6 seed; lost in first round to #11 seed VCU
2007-2008 - #2 seed; lost in second round to WVU
2008-2009 - #2 seed; Sweet 16
2009-2010 - #1 seed, NC
2010-2011 - #1 seed; Sweet 16
2011-2012 - #2 seed; lost in first round to 15 seed Lehigh
2012-2013 - #2 seed; Elite 8
2013-2014 - #3 seed; lost in first round to Mercer

Average seed: 1.8
First weekend exits (first/second round losses): 4
Sweet 16: 12
Elite 8: 5
Final Four: 4
Runner up: 1
National Champs: 2




OK, so based on this evidence you would conclude that during this period:
> K outperforms Izzo in the regular season (based on seedings)
> K slightly outperforms Izzo in the first weekend of the Tournament
> Izzo outperforms K in the second weekend
> K outperforms Izzo in the Final Four

weezie
03-26-2014, 06:19 PM
I gotta put up with this baloney on a yearly basis since my brother is a sparty grad. Himself sends me articles all the time bleating about Izzo's great sense of humor, his superior coaching, his snappy wardrobe, his sense of style his ability to cook pasta fagiole and on and on and on.

Yeah swell! It's great to have a 30 year old looking Adrian Payne taking up most of the lane, no worries!

But still, those gags against the holes left a bruise, didn't they? Hmmm?

CDu
03-26-2014, 07:12 PM
So what I think I understand you to be saying is that when you asked for "proof" that Michigan State has underachieved in the regular season in this year or that year or any number of years, it was not an authentic request, because it was a request that was impossible to satisfy, in that nothing presented in response could ever qualify as "proof" in your mind. Do I have that right?

Ease up there. I said "good luck proving it" because I think that it is not provable (either way). That's not because I don't want it to be proved. And it's not because I'm on one side and don't want to be proven wrong. I'm just playing devil's advocate in this scenario: presenting the argument from the other side. The reason that I said good luck proving it is because this is a completely subjective discussion that one simply can't prove.

Your "proof" is a reference to a bunch of people's subjective opinion about a team prior to seeing that team play a single game. And you are presenting it as an objective proof of another entirely qualitative argument (over/underachieving). You're trying to prove something that is objectively unprovable.

And as I said, you can make a solid subjective argument in support of Coach K. And an MSU fan can make a solid subjective argument against that argument. And nobody is going to be able to prove the other side wrong, because there is just so much subjectivity in the topic.

eddiehaskell
03-26-2014, 08:24 PM
All of this "average seed" talk seems pointless. The only way to know what it means is to have Duke play everyone MSU played and vice versa. Who knows what the result would be.

tommy
03-26-2014, 10:42 PM
Ease up there. I said "good luck proving it" because I think that it is not provable (either way). That's not because I don't want it to be proved. And it's not because I'm on one side and don't want to be proven wrong. I'm just playing devil's advocate in this scenario: presenting the argument from the other side. The reason that I said good luck proving it is because this is a completely subjective discussion that one simply can't prove.

Your "proof" is a reference to a bunch of people's subjective opinion about a team prior to seeing that team play a single game. And you are presenting it as an objective proof of another entirely qualitative argument (over/underachieving). You're trying to prove something that is objectively unprovable.

And as I said, you can make a solid subjective argument in support of Coach K. And an MSU fan can make a solid subjective argument against that argument. And nobody is going to be able to prove the other side wrong, because there is just so much subjectivity in the topic.

I agree with your last sentence, as the validity of either side's argument can be altered by changing the criteria for judging, but as to your second paragraph: really? Yes, it's just a "bunch of people's subjective opinion," but the AP poll, while far from perfect, is usually acknowledged to be a fairly reasonable aggregation of the opinions of national college basketball writers. I think that poll's preseason rankings in most years will come reasonably close to tracking the expectations of fans, media, and coaches nationwide. Not exactly, of course, but I doubt they're often way off -- as to expectations for the coming year, as that's all a preseason poll can reasonably reflect.

So when a team is ranked #2 in the country in the preseason AP poll, and goes on to lose 15 games and get a #10 seed in the tournament (meaning that the committee in all likelihood viewed them as no better than #37 in the country come tournament time) and then they lose in the first round of the tournament, unless there were massive injuries or other external problems that couldn't be anticipated, t don't know how anyone can say that team didn't underachieve, or at least that it failed to meet expectations.

So when you say that a team over- or underachieving is objectively unprovable, that is true as to any particular observer. There's no way to know whether the team underachieved in the view of Tom Izzo, or the Michigan State AD, or a guy in the Delta House keg room in East Lansing, or Earl from Ypsilanti on talk radio. But the aggregated views of coaches and basketball media coming into the season are knowable, and I don't think it's unfair or unreasonable to look at how a team performs relative to those aggregated expectations.

CDu
03-27-2014, 06:12 AM
I agree with your last sentence, as the validity of either side's argument can be altered by changing the criteria for judging, but as to your second paragraph: really? Yes, it's just a "bunch of people's subjective opinion," but the AP poll, while far from perfect, is usually acknowledged to be a fairly reasonable aggregation of the opinions of national college basketball writers. I think that poll's preseason rankings in most years will come reasonably close to tracking the expectations of fans, media, and coaches nationwide. Not exactly, of course, but I doubt they're often way off -- as to expectations for the coming year, as that's all a preseason poll can reasonably reflect.

So when a team is ranked #2 in the country in the preseason AP poll, and goes on to lose 15 games and get a #10 seed in the tournament (meaning that the committee in all likelihood viewed them as no better than #37 in the country come tournament time) and then they lose in the first round of the tournament, unless there were massive injuries or other external problems that couldn't be anticipated, t don't know how anyone can say that team didn't underachieve, or at least that it failed to meet expectations.

So when you say that a team over- or underachieving is objectively unprovable, that is true as to any particular observer. There's no way to know whether the team underachieved in the view of Tom Izzo, or the Michigan State AD, or a guy in the Delta House keg room in East Lansing, or Earl from Ypsilanti on talk radio. But the aggregated views of coaches and basketball media coming into the season are knowable, and I don't think it's unfair or unreasonable to look at how a team performs relative to those aggregated expectations.

I completely agree that the polls come reasonably close to nationwide expectations. But expectations are inherently subjective and there is no reason to assume they are an accurate reflection of what a team should do. There are lots of reasons that a team might fall short of expecations and many of them are not evidence of underachieving. Injuries (objective in some ways but subjective in their effect on the team) and basic misevaluation (the team simply being not as good as everyone thought they were) are the two obvious examples.

I think two classic examples of misevaluation are when the voters overvalue last year's tourney performance in their assessment. This happens quite often. And, more recently, when voters fall prey to freshman hype (this one is primarily reserved for UK, who should not have been preseason #1 either of the last two years).

Many times, expectations are reasonable approximations of a team's true quality. Many times they are not. So comparing results to expectations just isn't going to definitively answer the over/underachievement question. You would then have to wwwshow that those preseason expectations were an accurate reflection of the team's true quality throughout the season.

P.S. Can you tell I hate preseason polls? :)

brevity
03-27-2014, 04:28 PM
I completely agree that the polls come reasonably close to nationwide expectations. But expectations are inherently subjective and there is no reason to assume they are an accurate reflection of what a team should do.

When it comes to Michigan State, I would classify preseason rankings as not only subjective, but mostly useless, or at least hopelessly misleading.

The awesome breakdown of past Spartan seasons above -- in which the team's eventual performance varied wildly with its expectations -- is conclusive evidence of something I've long suspected: Michigan State is a particularly difficult team to evaluate at the beginning of a season. Poll voters almost have to rely on name recognition because little else seems to matter. It's as if poll voters look at the roster, shrug their shoulders, and either mumble clichéd statements like "Izzo always has a tough team" or notice a returning player and say "That guy's still there?"

A wholly unscientific analysis would suggest that Michigan State averages 3.56 "That guy's still there?" comments per voter per season. Duke rests at 0.79, and even that's skewed because people get their Plumlees confused.

Cameron
03-30-2014, 04:23 PM
Fake Coach K comes up short again. Hopefully Izzo Mania quiets down for a while, at least until next year.

The argument is often made that Izzo overachieves with the talent he has, and therefore deserves the praise he gets as the BGDCIA (Best Got Damn Coach in America). Of course, the flip side to that argument is that Izzo's teams frequently underachieve during the regular-season and therefore are given lower tournament seeds as a result of losing more games than expected. Then when he takes that low seed that everybody considered a favorite at the beginning of the year to the Final Four, Izzo is praised for overachieving. (To be fair, this season Michigan State faced an unusual amount of injuries, but most teams -- us, for example -- have dealt with the injury bug at one point or another.)

I am not saying all of his teams are legit championship contenders -- I am sure there are years in which Izzo really did overachieve with the talent he had -- but we should keep things in perspective. Michigan State gets a lot of 4 and 5 seeds because, historically under Izzo, the program has gotten off to unusually slow starts relative to quality of talent and level of expectations.

Izzo is not a young, up-and-comer with a long career ahead of him. He turns 60 this year and has one national title (which came 15 years ago) in six trips to the Final Four. It's time to prove that he really does belong in that discussion of coaching legends that he often finds himself in. To do that, he needs another title. This isn't a slight on Izzo but on the hype that elevates him to some sort of coaching God status. It's just bizarre.

dukelifer
03-30-2014, 05:34 PM
Fake Coach K comes up short again. Hopefully Izzo Mania quiets down for a while, at least until next year.

The argument is often made that Izzo overachieves with the talent he has, and therefore deserves the praise he gets as the BGDCIA (Best Got Damn Coach in America). Of course, the flip side to that argument is that Izzo's teams frequently underachieve during the regular-season and therefore are given lower tournament seeds as a result of losing more games than expected. Then when he takes that low seed that everybody considered a favorite at the beginning of the year to the Final Four, Izzo is praised for overachieving. (To be fair, this season Michigan State faced an unusual amount of injuries, but most teams -- us, for example -- have dealt with the injury bug at one point or another.)

I am not saying all of his teams are legit championship contenders -- I am sure there are years in which Izzo really did overachieve with the talent he had -- but we should keep things in perspective. Michigan State gets a lot of 4 and 5 seeds because, historically under Izzo, the program has gotten off to unusually slow starts relative to quality of talent and level of expectations.

Izzo is not a young, up-and-comer with a long career ahead of him. He turns 60 this year and has one national title (which came 15 years ago) in six trips to the Final Four. It's time to prove that he really does belong in that discussion of coaching legends that he often finds himself in. To do that, he needs another title. This isn't a slight on Izzo but on the hype that elevates him to some sort of coaching God status. It's just bizarre.
He is likable and self effacing. That gives him a lot of goodwill with the media. He is a good coach but without another championship he cannot be elevated into the BDCiA discussion.

badgerbd
03-30-2014, 08:30 PM
I get to hear what a great tournament coach Izzo is frequently here in MI.
A couple thoughts:

Final fours are overrated. Winning four games against what is often a fairly random draw is a weak way to judge a season. MSU in particular seems to have had a couple underwhelming FF runs. IIRC, in 2010, they beat forgotten 12 seed, 4 seed Maryland, 9 seed Northern Iowa, and 6/7 seed Tennessee by a combined 12 points.

That said there are some things about Izzo that lead to better tournament performances.
One in particular:
He prepares for opponents less than most other coaches. MSU rarely tries to force their style of play on other teams. They'll run if their opponents want to run (one of the reason Roy owns Izzo, this was particularly obnoxious in the 2009 championship) and grind it out if their opponents want to grind it out. This would suggest Izzo coached teams would be better when the teams are unfamiliar with each other - like in the tournament, and when there is less time to prepare - like the second games of the weekend. His tournament success is largely a story of elite eight success.

Class of '94
03-31-2014, 07:08 AM
Fake Coach K comes up short again. Hopefully Izzo Mania quiets down for a while, at least until next year.

I'm sorry to harp on this but this has become annoying to me. Can anyone explain to me why Michigan State and its fanbase appears to be obsessed with being Duke or "like" Duke? I've noticed that they've been doing this for a few years, but I am tired of seeing Mich St slap the floor a la Duke. I'm not saying Duke was the first to do it; but clearly "slapping the floor" is associated with Duke and has been a trademark of past Duke teams; and from time to time I've heard announcers make comments about Mich St slapping the floor by referring to them as emulating a Duke move. Secondly, the MSU students in the Izzone copy "classic" Duke chants like the "See ya" one for fouled out players when they walk to the bench and sit down. I know copying can be seen as flattering; but why worry so much about copying Duke? Clearly, the MSU program and students have their own creative traditions that have nothing to do with Duke. Why not focus on that as opposed to being Duke wannabees?

cruxer
03-31-2014, 07:56 AM
As Duke fans, I think we should wear other teams' comparing their programs to Duke as a badge of pride. Under Coach K, Duke has become the pre-eminent program in the country. That's why everyone compares themselves to Duke. It's also why in those unfortunate times that we bow out early in the tourney, we have to hear about it for a while. Take heart though, other programs want that kind of a problem.

-c