Michigan State basketball


Does Tom Izzo have a problem using timeouts to halt big runs?

Tom Izzo seems to hold on to timeouts during opponent’s runs against Michigan State basketball. Is this a problem?

With 8:09 left to play in the second half of Friday night’s win against Villanova, Michigan State held its largest lead of the game with a score of 61-45. With 5:46 left to play, that lead had been cut in half. At the media timeout, the lead was still eight points for the Spartans, but nearly a minute after that the lead had been cut to four.

During this whole stretch of play, one thing never happened that probably should’ve: a Michigan State timeout. Why would Tom Izzo not call a timeout during to cool off a scorching-hot Villanova team? Why would he not call a timeout to get his guys a rest or to try and make some defensive adjustments? Nothing was working for Michigan State and it continued to get beat over and over again on the defensive end.

As someone who has watched nearly every MSU basketball game for as far back as I can remember, this has always seemed to be an issue. Countless big leads evaporating in a matter of minutes without a timeout to try and stop the run.

This wasn’t the first time this season when I was begging for Tom Izzo to call a timeout to try and halt a run. The same thing happened against Gonzaga.

With 17:04 left to play in the second half, the Spartans held a 12-point lead, but with about 12 minutes left to play the lead had been cut to one and the Spartans hadn’t scored in five minutes. Once again, the constant in this stretch was no timeout by Tom Izzo. Albeit, there was the 16-minute mark TV timeout. But my point still stands: what is keeping Izzo from using his timeouts to make changes?

As a basketball coach myself, my golden rule always seems to be to call a timeout if my team has three empty possessions in a row as well as giving up three scores on the defensive end. This seems sensible to me; get the team organized and draw up a play that will get us a basket.

So what is it, is Izzo trying to teach his team how to deal with adversity themselves? Although this could be the case, I find it unlikely. It is early in the season and I’m sure Izzo has many different tactics to try and teach his players on the court lessons, but this has been an issue I have seen for years. It’s something I truly don’t understand.

I think about it often, why does one of the best college basketball coaches ever seem to not do something that coaches at every level including myself do: call timeouts to stop a comeback.

One thought on “Does Tom Izzo have a problem using timeouts to halt big runs?

  • Anthony Garvert

    This is nothing new for Izzo. He’s been doing this for years, and has gotten burned NUMEROUS times for calling them too late in the run after the damage was done.

    It’s why we can never win comfortably anymore…

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