Chances are Izzo is interested in causing enough nervousness among Michigan State officials that they come up with more money to keep him. According to a USA Today survey, Izzo had the fourth-highest salary among college coaches at $1,735,964 per year. That was before Indiana’s Tom Crean and Kansas’ Bill Self recently passed him. Crean and Izzo share the same agent, Lonnie Cooper.
Izzo’s Michigan State contract also reportedly includes a buyout if he leaves to coach a pro team — $2 million if he leaves before April 30, $1 million if he leaves between next month and April 30, 2010 — but none if he leaves for another college team.
The speculation that Izzo is using the position to leverage more money from MSU (the first article uses the phrase “power play”) is exactly that–speculative–as Joe Rexrode says in his latest post on the topic. As I commented yesterday, I think Izzo’s natural friendliness/openness/competitiveness may tend to lead people into think he’s more interested in pursuing other coach positions than he really is. Hopefully, there won’t be much more to say about this topic . . .
College Basketball Chronotope lists the five major questions facing the Big Ten for next basketball season. Among them are who will be the fifth best team in the conference after the likely top four of Purdue, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Ohio State. I’ve been working on a really, really preliminary look at the outlook for next year’s conference standings, which I will roll out in the next week or so.
One question from the list has been answered, at least partially: Kosta Koufos will be declaring for the NBA draft, but not hiring an agent so that he can still decide to return to school. Buckeye Banter points out that Koufos tended to struggle this season against other top big men. At the moment, he’s projected as a late first round pick. He could also decide to go play for some serious drachma in Greece (he’d actually be paid in Euros, but that doesn’t sound as cool).
Royce White, a 6’7″ junior forward from Minnesota who had drawn interest from Michigan State, has verbally committed to the Gophers. Gopher Nation is pleased Tubby has locked up a top in-state guy, given the number of Minnesota high school players who have left the state in recent years.
Lastly, Big Ten Country puts a nice spin on the combined performance of the MSU football and basketball teams over the last year:
MSU was one of the more successful overall programs in the league when you consider both sports. The football team began a new era under Mark Dantonio and started to shed its reputation as one that fell apart down the stretch. . . .
. . . This [basketball] program is still the best in the conference until further notice and can be expected to be back. And their season was hardly a bad one. But it could have been more then it was.
What are the odds we can turn “one of the more” into “the most” next year?