Izzo texts Van Gundy: Tourney can be maddening

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Tom Izzo walks on the side of the court during MSU's loss to Middle Tennessee.

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is glad he isn’t coaching in college.

After second-seeded Michigan State’s national title hopes were dashed by No. 15 Middle Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, Van Gundy said he received a text from Spartans coach Tom Izzo.

“(Izzo) said, ‘I need to be in the NBA at least for a day so I can play a series and get another chance,’” Van Gundy said after the Pistons’ shoot-around on Monday. “It’s tough in the (NCAA) Tournament. That’s the toughest thing to me in college coaching because it’s one and done and the excitement of it is fabulous for everybody watching, but it’s not a tournament designed to get the best team to win, like an (NBA) playoff series.”

While it was a monumental win for Middle Tennessee, Van Gundy said he tends to empathize with the losing side.

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“When Tom lost to Middle Tennessee, I’m not thinking what a great thrill it is for the guy at Middle Tennessee, Kermit Davis, who’s a great guy. (Texas coach) Shaka Smart loses on that half-court shot and then (Northern Iowa coach) Ben Jacobson last night," he said. "I know what those guys are gonna feel.

"Ben Jacobson is going to go back and second-guess himself and I don’t even know Ben. He’s going to go back and second-guess himself for another two weeks instead of thinking about what a great year they had and a great game they played. It’s just excruciating.”