Tom Izzo lashes out at ESPN analyst for 'unprofessional' tweets

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At first, Tom Izzo cringed at the “We hate Dakich” chants Michigan State students directed at ESPN analyst Dan Dakich during Tuesday night’s matchup between the Spartans and Ohio State.

Then Izzo learned the impetus for the chants and quickly changed his mind.

Dakich, a former coach at Indiana whose son plays for Michigan, had mouthed off on Twitter earlier this week about Michigan State. In one since-deleted tweet to a critical fan, Dakich wrote, “Nobody whines like Sparty.” In another, Dakich landed a harsher jab when he wrote, “Sparty not only whines but now just dumb!! Couldn’t get into UM??”

“I was kind of getting upset at the chants at Dakich, until I got in the locker room and I asked, ‘What was that all about?’” Izzo told reporters in East Lansing after his team’s 74-66 victory over the Buckeyes. “Somebody read me his tweets.

“If I would’ve known that before the game, I would’ve embarrassed myself almost as much as he embarrassed himself, and I would’ve led the chants. Because calling us whiners and that is kind of unprofessional of classy broadcasters. … But saying our students couldn’t get in there and he’s doing games for Michigan when his son is there? That is ridiculous.

“I’ve got no respect for him for that, and I’m gonna publicly say it. You can tweet it. You can read it. You can do whatever you want with it. But Twitter got him in trouble, and he earned it, and I’m surprised ESPN would let somebody say something like that, that works for ’em.”

Dakich is one of ESPN’s best color analysts because he’s consistently candid and well-informed, but his thin-skinned Twitter persona can often be more difficult to bear. He’ll troll fan bases and trade barbs with critics in a way that few other high-profile analysts do.

While Dakich may have meant his Michigan State tweets to be tongue-in-cheek, he also should have realized some Spartans fans wouldn’t take them that way. They know his son plays for their rival, so they interpret any slight as a symptom of that conflict of interest.

That anger will only be fueled by Izzo’s strong postgame reaction.

Said Izzo, “Danny owes our fans and our students an apology.”

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!