March Madness: Tom Izzo in tears after Michigan State advances to Sweet 16
Moments after his Michigan State Spartans beat Marquette to advance to the Sweet 16, Tom Izzo was in tears.
The Michigan State head coach's emotions were evident in his postgame interview with CBS' Jamie Erdahl.
Coach Izzo is moved to tears after @MSU_Basketball secured a spot in the Sweet 16 ❤️#MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/wKY7D0ioca
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 19, 2023
"It's been a long year," Izzo said as he wiped back tears. "Really proud of those guys."
The moment appeared to be cathartic for Izzo after what has been a difficult few weeks for the Michigan State community. On Feb. 13, a shooter opened fire on the Michigan State campus, killing three students and injuring others.
The shooting shut down activity on campus for multiple days, including a Michigan State game against Minnesota that was ultimately canceled. The Feb. 15 night the Spartans were scheduled to play Minnesota, Izzo joined MSU students, leaders and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a candlelight vigil on campus.
Six days later, Michigan State basketball returned to the Breslin Center, where it upset then No. 17 Indiana in front of a stadium full of fans wearing white shirts reading "Spartan Strong."
Moment of silence pregame at Michigan State. #iubb pic.twitter.com/8BwRqJB1Br
— Jeff Rabjohns (@JeffRabjohns) February 22, 2023
Since that win, Michigan State secured an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament with a No. 7 seed. Expectations were moderate for this Spartans team, which finished fourth in the Big Ten during the regular season and lost in its first game of the conference tournament.
Now Michigan State has won two straight in the NCAA tournament with Sunday's win securing the program's 15th Sweet 16 under Izzo. This isn't Izzo's best team in East Lansing. But it's a group that he's clearly built a special bond with. And they beat a Marquette team that was favored to win Sunday.
The emotions of Sunday's victory remained evident in the postgame locker room.
STILL DANCING 🙌🙌🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/eXeizS5BSn
— Michigan State Men's Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) March 19, 2023
Now the Spartans have a few days to enjoy the success of their opening tournament weekend before shifting their focus to No. 3 Kansas State, which awaits them later this week in the Sweet 16 round. Like on Sunday, they won't be expected to win. Will the Spartans defy expectations once again in the tournament's second weekend?