Friday, January 06, 2006

"Tom Izzo can call Weber his daddy"

I posted this as the last item under Dee, D, Dee, and more D, but it is so good I wanted to make sure I called more attention to it. Let me preface this by again saying that we at Illinitalk have nothing but respect for Tom Izzo and Michigan State. That being said, enjoy the following from our earlier post:

And the winner of today's best column goes to Mike Nadel of The Beacon News and his headline writer. We don't usually highlight Mike or the Beacon in Illinitalk but that may have to change. He presents some amazing facts and statistics as he explains how Bruce Weber owns Tom Izzo and that Illinois has surpassed Michigan State as the premier basketball program in the Big Ten in the column titled "Tom Izzo can call Weber his daddy."

Highlights from the article:

--Weber's Illini are 3-0 against Izzo's Spartans, and that doesn't even begin to illustrate the dominance of Bruce's boys in orange. How about 75-51, the score of Weber's first victory over Izzo back in 2004? How about 81-68, the score of last season's game in East Lansing? And how about 60-50, the score of Thursday night's Dee-lightful victory at the Assembly Hall in the Big Ten opener? For those scoring at home, that's a 15.7-point average margin of victory.

--In his 2½ seasons at Illinois, Weber has won more games than Izzo, both overall and in conference play, has captured both league titles and has guided the Illini deeper into the NCAA tournament each year. Any list of the nation's elite coaches must include Izzo, whose resume includes four Final Fours and an NCAA championship, yet it is Weber who ranks first nationally with 130 victories since the beginning of the 2001-02 season (going back to his Southern Illinois days). That's right: Even Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams are looking up at Bruce.

--Starting Jan. 31, 2004, midway through Weber's first season here, Illinois is 65-4 overall and 53-1 in regular-season games. And that one loss wasn't to the Spartans. From 1998, when Izzo turned Michigan State into the conference's supreme power, through 2003, the year before Weber arrived in Champaign, the Spartans were 8-4 against the Illini of Self and Lon Kruger. It was a mismatch. It was ugly. And it was Exhibit A of why Illinois wasn't included with Michigan State on the short list of the nation's elite basketball schools.

--Then Weber arrived, and only a doofus would still make such a claim. As Pedro Martinez might say: Bruce Weber is Tom Izzo's daddy.

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