Michigan State was clocked at rival Michigan on Tuesday. It was one of those college basketball games where one team gets up by a whole bunch, then gets up by a whole bunch more than that, then the other team kinda sorta acts like it’s making a run, but it never really happens.
Michigan shot 75 percent in the first half, so you might say Michigan State played poorly. But if you wanted to be more colorful about it, as Michigan State Tom Izzo sometimes does, you could liken the Spartans to children.
This is a line Izzo has gone to at least a couple times in the past.
He said it in 2014.
He said it again in 2015.
And then there was tonight. This is a thing with Izzo, obviously, and yet I was pretty sure I remembered Kansas coach Bill Self saying something like this when his team got beat at Michigan State one year, and sure enough, from 2009:
“I told our guys in the locker room, ‘We got ‘big-boyed’ tonight.’ They beat us by 11 on the boards. We didn’t handle the situation well.”
The same thing happened to then-Princeton coach Bill Carmody way back in 1998.
Carmody was so frustrated by the way his players responded to MSU’s pounding, he could he heard from the bench berating them for playing like “little boys.”
I hope it’s obvious the reason I bring this up is not that I have some kind of problem with it. It’s an amusing figure of speech, and besides, little boys can’t fight through ball screens to save their lives.
One thing is clear, though: When you’re around Tom Izzo, you’d better man up.