March Madness: Everything Tom Izzo said after Michigan State was knocked out
Here is everything that Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo said after the team was eliminated by the Kansas State Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament.
The Michigan State Spartans had quite the run in the 2023 men’s NCAA Tournament. They defeated the No. 10 USC Trojans in the opening round, before pulling off a massive upset over the No. 2 Marquette Golden Eagles in the second round to make it to the Sweet 16 at Madison Square Garden. They were looking to make it to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2019.
There was only one problem with that — the Kansas State Wildcats stood in their way.
On Thursday night, Michigan State and Kansas State went to overtime, but it was the Wildcats who were able to walk away with the 98-93 victory. Wildcats senior guard Markquis Nowell had a historic performance, recording an NCAA Tournament game record 19 assists in the win.
Michigan State’s title drought continues for the 23rd consecutive year. Here is everything that longtime head coach Tom Izzo had to say, per FanSided’s Adam Weinrib.
Everything Tom Izzo said after Michigan State’s NCAA Tournament elimination
Izzo started off his press conference giving credit to Kansas State for the victory.
“I give a lot of credit to Kansas State,” said Izzo. “They made some big plays down the stretch. They made some big plays early. Been part of a lot of big wins, and I’ve been part of a lot of tough losses. Never been prouder of a team because we didn’t have our game tonight. We did not play like we were the first half. It was just kind of we were ham-and-egging it and just kind of fighting through it.
“We just kept fighting. Those two shot clock threes they hit, one was a bank in from almost on the ground, and then we missed some free throws, some of our better guys. It just wasn’t — they made some plays, and we did some strange things.”
The Spartans head coach, continued, heaping praise on senior guard Tyson Walker, junior guard A.J. Hoggard, and senior forward Joey Hauser for how they’ve played not just on Thursday night, but also through throughout the tournament.
But these guys battled back. Ty was struggling early. Joey was hot. A.J. was just in the middle of it. A.J. really came along late, then Ty did, then Joey did. I’m proud of them,” said Izzo. “I’m really proud of them. I don’t say that about a lot of teams. But what they’ve done in the last couple weeks, how they’ve grown. I give a lot of credit to Kansas State, but boy, it was their night with some of those shots that went in. That’s it.”
Hoggard led the way for the Spartans, scoring 25 points while shooting 7-for-14 from the field and 10-for-11 from the free throw line. Walker recorded 16 points (6-for-16 from field, 4-for-7 from three-point line), five assists, and three rebounds. Hauser scored 18 points (5-for-11 from field, 4-for-9 from three) and grabbed six rebounds.
Izzo then spoke about the big game from Nowell, and how the back cuts in the game hurt the Spartans.
“We got caught mesmerized on Nowell,” said Izzo. “He’s a special player. We actually did a pretty good job on him. When you look at — he gets that last one or he would have been 6 for 18, has 18 points, but he was 2 for 6 from the three. It was the assists that really killed us and the back cuts. I think we were mesmerized on him. We did not do a very good job of that. That was one of the disappointments.”
The Spartans head coach was asked if he felt like this was a game that Kansas State or one that they lost. Izzo said that even with the performance by the Wildcats, the Spartans did plenty of good things as well to keep them in the game.
“We made some good plays. I guess we couldn’t stop them, and I’m sitting there looking at the stats, and I’m talking about how good they were. They shot 55 percent, but I think they had — including the lay-up at the end, I think they had about six lay-ups off of turnovers. They shot 45 from the three, and we thought they made every shot. We shot 52.
“They shot 68 from the line, we shot 82. We out-rebounded them by seven. We did enough things, too, that we played pretty damned good and should be proud of that. Whenever you lose, you’re never proud of anything, and when you have some mistakes that were kind of effort related, not getting back and things, that’s going to be hard to watch the film.
“But I was just proud of this team. As many teams as I’ve had that have gone far and lost because the way this team, the way they grew the last couple of weeks, it was fun to see happen.”
While Michigan State is heading home, Kansas State will be moving onto the Elite Eight. They will be facing No. 9 Florida Atlantic, who pulled off a 62-55 upset win over No. 4 Tennessee.
Even with the loss, Izzo is proud of how his team performed in what turned out to be their final game of the season.
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