Tom Izzo has led the Michigan State Spartans to tremendous heights in the world of college basketball over the past 19 years: a national championship, six Final Four appearances and 17 consecutive NCAA tournament berths. After competing against him in my time as an assistant at Ohio State, I can tell you his success and accomplishment is a direct result of not only wanting to be great but his willingness to put in the work, sacrifice and having a burning desire to accomplish more. Izzo always has the big picture in mind. His vision goes beyond just one season.
There has been a standard set under Izzo's tenure as head coach; The Spartans don't rebuild, they build from within. Last season they reached the Elite Eight after winning the Big Ten tournament title and going 29-9. It was a special time for Izzo, as he guided that squad through multiple injuries to starters and was forced to use more than 11 different players in his starting lineups.
For most, it can destroy growth, continuity and confidence. For Izzo, it was another way to show why he's a future Basketball Hall of Famer.
A similar job will need to happen this season, as Michigan State will be without former starting point guard Keith Appling and first-round draft picks Gary Harris and Adreian Payne. Let's take a look at why this program will, despite the losses, be in the discussion for another Big Ten championship.