Michigan basketball will meet the Nittany Lions on Tuesday, which could be a historic night for Tom Iza.
On Tuesday, Tom Itzo can expect a historic night against Penn. With a victory in Michigan basketball, he would be on par with the great coach of all time Bob Knight on the most victories of the coach of the Big Ten.
Iza took over as head coach at East Lansing back in the 1995-96 season. On January 4, 1996, he coached his first game in the Big Ten when he met the legendary Knight. In the first conference game of his coaching career, Itzo defeated the Knights Indiana Huziers 65-60.
It was the first of Izzo’s many victories in years, but a run-up to Tuesday night’s game against Penn State and he could come out of Happy Valley with a number of victories as head coach in the history of the conference.
Bob Knight coached the Indiana Husseins for 29 seasons and won 662. This is the 27th season for Izzo with the Spartans and he is playing to set that record. For five seasons when he faced Knight in conference games, Itzo held the lead. He was 5-3 against Knight.
During his career, Itzo has 10 titles in the regular season, while Knight had 11. The Big Ten tournament was started in the 1997-98 season, so Knight had only three chances to win the title there, and not. Izo, on the other hand, had a number of chances to win the Big Ten tournament than he took full advantage of with six championships.
Izo coached the seven winners of the Big Ten Players of the Year along with many others who participated in the review. Knight had only three players selected in the Big Ten Player of the Year, but the award did not begin until half of his career in Indiana.
Knight led Indiana to five finals four, winning the whole affair three times. Itzo won in all only once, but coached his teams in eight matches in the final four. Izo is also ranked second in most consecutive NCAA tournaments, currently with 23.
Iso had a pretty impressive career and it would have been a great day for him if he could have trained his team to win and surpass that record by becoming the most winning Big Ten coach of all time.