He has made 16-straight NCAA Tournaments, and has six Final Four appearances, three Big Ten Tournament Championships and one National Championship under his belt. What makes this year any different from all the others? Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has never coached a player that has not made at least one Final Four appearance in their four seasons at Michigan State. This season, that reputation is at risk.
The Spartans have not reached a Final Four since 2010, meaning this season’s seniors – Adreian Payne, Keith Appling, and Dan Chapman–have yet to see a Final Four. If the Spartans fail to reach the Final Four this season, Payne, Appling and Chapman will be the first three players to not experience a Final Four under Izzo.
This adds more pressure to the coach with already many high expectations and the faith the students have in him.
“There’s not another coach, or team, in college basketball more capable of making a Final Four than Coach Izzo and the Spartans,” said Jason Smith, a senior at MSU. “Draymond Green even said he would kill to play for a team as strong as this year’s team. That’s saying something.”
Claire Wroblewski, another senior at MSU, agrees with Smith.
“Izzo has an incredible ability to motivate and transform his players into refined and skilled players,” said Wroblewski. “He gets the maximum out of each player and that’s why the Spartans have a good chance of making the Final Four. They play with each other, for each other. They don’t play selfish basketball.”
After talking with members of the infamous IZZONE, it is quite apparent they have 100 percent faith that Izzo will get his team to the Final Four. and many already have it on their schedules for the Spring.
Hayleigh Geurink is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: David Defever