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Tom Izzo “embarrassed” after loss to Northwestern

Tom Izzo didn’t hold back.

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Tom Izzo
© David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Izzo didn’t hold back in his post-game presser when talking about Michigan State’s loss to Northwestern.

“Embarrassed.” That’s what Tom Izzo felt after Michigan State’s 88-74 loss to Northwestern on Sunday night. The game was close all throughout the first half until the Wildcats closed on a 20-5 run to end the half.

Going into this game, we all knew it was likely going to be extremely physical. As is almost every Big Ten game. Michigan State unfortunately did not match Northwestern’s physicality.

Tom Izzo spoke on this in his postgame press conference and said that, “They (Northwestern) kicked our butt in every physical way they could.”

You aren’t going to win many games in the Big Ten if the other team is more physical and last night showed just that. We have the better team, on paper, but the Wildcats worked harder, were more physical and wanted it more. That’s why they won the game so easily.

Tom Izzo challenges his team

This by far was the best part of Izzo’s press conference last night. Izzo every season has a few moments where he challenges his team. Sunday night was the latest example for this team.

As we already discussed, Izzo was not happy with his team’s physicality in this game. It also seemed, at times, that the Spartans didn’t look motivated, like part of them didn’t want to be there. That’s why this quote from Izzo is perfect.

“Sooner or later you look at a guy’s heart. You look into the guy’s eye and then you find out about a guy… Sooner or later, guys gotta just muscle up.”

Some might find this quote a little disrespectful to his players, but I think it’s perfect. He challenges his players without calling anybody out. Izzo wants to know who can respond after a tough game like this and who will fold when the times get tough. Tom knows his players better than anyone else, so I’m sure this was a calculated thing to say to motivate his players instead of him just venting his frustration after a tough loss.

The Spartans will have their chance to respond and show Izzo what they’re made of. Illinois is just as physical of a team as Northwestern, if not more. If they don’t show up again, this game could get ugly. So MSU will have to be just as ready mentally and physically to win on Thursday.

Lead writer for Spartan Shadows since April 2023, writing over 450 articles. Michigan State basketball, football and recruiting expert. Class of 2019 graduate from Michigan State University specializing in Sports Management. Daily MSU runs a popular X page (@daily_msu) covering all things MSU Sports.

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