It’s not going to be commented on much, because expectations slid so low this season anyway, but this game was an absolute disaster by Tom Izzo.
UCLA 86, Michigan State 80 (OT)
Once again, for no reason whatsoever, he gave Joey Hauser extended run guarding a white-hot opponent.
Once again, he sat on his timeouts whenever the other team got hot and his own squad stalled.
Once again, he benched objectively better players like Gabe Brown and Marcus Bingham to go with His Guys.
Once again, his point guard play was a disaster, to the point he had to pull Rocket Watts in OVERTIME for an unpolished freshman who at least might not light every possession on fire playing like a knockoff Stephon Marbury.
And then, just when I thought he couldn’t possibly piss me off any more, he reinserted Hauser in the game with a minute and a half left in OT, just in time for him to commit the unforced dagger turnover.
Izzo deserves full credit for this loss, and he kept me up until 1 in the damn morning doing it. This wasn’t a good team, and their absolute limit was probably squeaking past BYU on Saturday anyway. But playing Hauser while Jaime Jaquez was on NBA Jam Fire is coaching malpractice right up there with parking Ben Carter in the Syracuse zone.
Izzo’s recent tournament performance is one Cassius Winston away from being absolutely fireable, and there is no evidence whatsoever that he’s capable of rediscovering his past self at this point in a neighborhood that’s never been this difficult.
But no, I’m sure Emoni Bates will honor that commitment and everything will be awesome again.