These two storied programs have appeared in 44 Sweet 16s and 23 Final Fours, along with sharing six NCAA championships. Matchups such as Derrick Nix versus Mason Plumlee or Gary Harris versus Seth Curry will be critical to the outcome of the game.
The sideline showdown between the two head coaches, Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski, could be the most intriguing battle of the night. Their strategies and decisions have secured nearly 1,400 combined wins over 56 seasons. These two legendary hoops leaders stand at the summit of the sport’s coaching world.
Before the ball goes up Friday night at 9:45 ET, the question needs to be asked, “Who would you rather have right now: Tom Izzo or Coach K?”
While you can’t go wrong with either one of them, which of these heavy hitters holds a definitive edge over the other?
Overall Winning Percentage
Because Coach K has been at it for 34 seasons and Tom Izzo has been the Spartans head coach for 18 years, comparing simple win totals is inequitable. What we can put side by side is their overall winning percentages.
Coach K’s teams (at both Army and Duke) have won 76.4 percent of their games, while Izzo’s Spartans have a .713 winning percentage. Not a huge overall difference, but Krzyzewski’s record becomes even more impressive when you consider the span of years in which he has sustained his success.
Sweet 16 Success
Even though Coach K has been to the Sweet 16 almost twice as many times (21) as Tom Izzo (11), it's actually Izzo that has the better record of the two.
Michigan State has gone 7-4 on Izzo's watch. Surprisingly, Duke is only 12-9 in the K era in regional semifinals games.
The most telling stat in deciding who you'd rather have right now between Izzo and K could be head-to-head results.
Up until now, Michigan State and Duke have played eight games while these two coaching legends have prowled the sidelines. And the overall record isn't even close.
The Blue Devils have beaten the Spartans in seven of those eight games.
Some coaches just seem to have the number of certain teams—and certain coaches.
You can't go wrong with either Mike Krzyzewski or Tom Izzo.
Even though Athlonsports.com named Izzo as the No. 1 college basketball coach and Coach K was No. 2, give me the West Point grad who has won four NCAA championships
I’ll take Krzyzewski.