November 13, 2013

DotComp: The New No. 1 Has Plenty to Work on

CHICAGO - Tom Izzo has won a lot of games and cut down all kinds of nets. But November isn't usually his best month. That's why Tuesday night's victory over No. 1 ranked Kentucky marked new territory for the Izzo legend.

However, he has shaped his players so well that they refused to celebrate it.

Izzo has been to six Final Fours, but Tuesday's 78-74 victory over Kentucky marked the first time Izzo had coached in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup.

Unlike almost all of the other 39 times that No. 1 has played No. 2 in college basketball history, this time the entire college hoops nation had a whole off-season to prepare for and anticipate this game. It wasn't quite like Ralph Sampson vs. Pat Ewing back in the 1980s, or Elvin Hayes vs. Lew Alcindor in the '60s. But Kentucky brought with it a level of intrigue and awe.

Kentucky boasted what some are calling the best recruiting class in history, and a roster with seven possible first-round NBA Draft picks. Some said Kentucky was so stacked that it had a chance to be the first college basketball team to go undefeated since Indiana in 1976.

When Michigan State went up 10-0, thanks to a flurry of steals and dunks, the Spartans looked as good as any Izzo team has ever looked, this early in the season.

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