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Michigan State's Tom Izzo draws criticism for calling Kansas State 'lucky' in interview after Wildcats win

By Jacob Camenker,

2023-03-24

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Michigan State and Kansas State squared off in what was one of the most exciting games of the NCAA Tournament to date.

Ultimately, the Wildcats pulled out a win in overtime thanks to a heroic effort from Markquis Nowell. The 5-8 guard scored 20 points and posted an NCAA Tournament-record 19 assists in Kansas State's 98-93 victory over the Spartans .

Indeed, the Wildcats were impressive as they advanced to their first Elite Eight since 2018.

However, that didn't stop legendary Michigan State coach Tom Izzo from writing off some of the Wildcats' success in a postgame interview with CBS' Allie LaForce .

“Give [Kansas State] credit. They banked in two shot-clock threes," Izzo said on the broadcast. "They made some big plays, but some of those plays weren’t big plays. They were lucky plays. I didn’t think we played our best. I think some of it was them and some was us."

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Izzo doubled down on those comments as his interview went on, though he did concede that he has been a lucky winner plenty of times before.

"That's a good basketball team, but a couple of those banked-in shots — you look at six points worth of that, that makes a difference in a game like this," Izzo said. "I guess sometimes it's their night, and I've been on that side when it's my night."

Naturally, Izzo's comments drew the ire of many basketball fans who thought that Michigan State's coach of 28 years should have been a bit more gracious in defeat. And his comments were seen as particularly sour when compared to those from the 23-year-old Nowell.

"Let's give credit to Michigan State," Nowell said in a postgame news conference . "They played a tremendous game on the offensive end and defensive end. It was like a Rocky fight tonight. We was going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and some guys made some big-time plays. So, I just wanna give a credit to Tom Izzo and Michigan State."

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Certainly, that's a classy response from Nowell, and perhaps it's one that Izzo will remember as he heads back to the drawing board after another tournament exit.

Either way, Jerome Tang and the Wildcats will be heading to the Elite Eight while Izzo and the Spartans will have to wait until 2024 to try to snap the Big Ten's ongoing NCAA Tournament title drought.

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