Is There Izzo Magic In The Michigan Made March Madness Floors?
As some of us found out late last week, the courts that are used in select arenas around the country during the NCAA Men's and Women's basketball tournaments are made right here in Michigan. Thanks to Connor Sports, a small production mill in the state's upper peninsula.
Connor Sports is in Iron County, Michigan, which happens to have an unexpected connection to one of the best college basketball coaches to ever exist, Tom Izzo. Izzo, who's from Iron Mountain, Michigan, has been the coach for the Michigan State Spartans since 1995 and has one of the most impressive March Madness resumes in history.
Tom spent the early part of his life growing up in Michigan's U.P. falling in love with basketball in Iron Mountain, which sits just about 20 minutes from the current location of the Connor Sports mill. To this day, Izzo still has a residence in Iron Mountain and many of his family members still live there, prompting him to visit often.
Looking at Izzo's historic resume when it comes to postseason play at the NCAA Division 1 level, March Madness brings out the real Tom Izzo. He's 55-23 in 25 appearances, only missing the tournament his first two seasons and the shortened Covid-19 season. He has 8 Final Four appearances and the lone championship win in 2000.
Specifically this year, his Spartans are a 7-seed and after upsetting the highly-touted Marquette Golden Eagles who were a 2-seed this year, he now sits at the top of the list as the coach with the most wins in March Madness as a lower seed against higher seeds, with 16 total wins.
Now, moving forward, if Michigan State is able to get over the uphill battle that is Kansas State, that would not only give him another lower-seed victory but also possibly pave the way to a championship. The only other team that could be a tough challenge to MSU before the final would likely be 1-seeded Alabama in the Final Four.
The question is, are there Izzo family members working at the mill? Is Izzo himself sprinkling special dust on the court during the offseason? Is there some kind of special ties between Iron Mountain, the march madness courts, and Tom Izzo? We may never know if there's extra luck on the floor for the Spartans or if Izzo is just a coaching genius.