Entering Sunday afternoon in the nation’s capital, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo wasn’t just looking to get the Spartans into the Final Four for the 8th time in his career. He was looking to get a certain monkey off his back.
His record against Duke was 1-11, all coming against legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K has seen many milestones against Izzo. He broke the NCAA Division I all-time wins record against Izzo in 2011. He reached his last national championship game in 2015 with a 20-point victory over the Spartans.
He just seized win No. 2. The Spartans battled tooth and nail for a 68-67 triumph over the Blue Devils to win the East Regional title. They will face off with No. 3 seed Texas Tech next Saturday in the national semifinals to be broadcast on CBS.
Junior guard Cassius Winston led the way with 20 points and 10 assists, but it was a Kenny Goins triple in the final minute that put Michigan State up for good. Duke freshman R.J. Barrett missed a free throw that could’ve sent the game to overtime in the final 5 seconds.
This was the history between Izzo and Coach K before tonight.
Izzo vs. Coach K History
Krzyzewski won the first meeting, 73-67, in Dec. 1998. The next meeting came the following year, in the Final Four. The Blue Devils snatched a 68-62 victory in that one. Here are the following nine:
December 3, 2003: Duke 72, Michigan State 50
November 30, 2004: Duke 81, Michigan State 74
March 25, 2005: Michigan State 78, Duke 68
December 1, 2010: Duke 84, Michigan State 79
November 15, 2011: Duke 74, Michigan State 69
March 29, 2013: Duke 71, Michigan State 61
November 18, 2014: Duke 81, Michigan State 71
April 4, 2015: Duke 81, Michigan State 61
November 29, 2016: Duke 78, Michigan State 69
With his second win in the series, he now has a golden opportunity to win his 2nd NCAA championship. Last year, he had NBA lottery picks in Jaren Jackson and Miles Bridges, but bowed out in the second round to Syracuse.
With nary a pro prospect in sight, the 2018-19 swept its in-state rivals in Michigan, won both the Big Ten Tournament and regular-season titles and just vanquished another nemesis.