If Izzo bolts, Michigan St. should pursue Stevens

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Nothing new to report on Day 8 of the Tom Izzo-Cleveland Cavaliers watch.

Michigan State’s coach is “still gathering” info on his decision. Leave one of the nation’s premier programs – that he built – to buck the odds as a college-to-NBA coach, or stay and take a shot at a second national title next season. Maybe we’ll find out Monday. Maybe not.

About the only certainty out there regarding Michigan State is that Tom Crean, a former Izzo assistant, won’t be taking the job if Izzo leaves. Crean ended that speculation with this YouTube video.

The definitive quote:

“”I’m at Indiana. It doesn’t make any difference what job opens in the country,” Crean said. “When you take a job like Indiana, you take it because it’s one of the great jobs in all of college sports. You can take it out of the equation of just being a great college basketball jobs. This is one of those destination places that most people never even dream about getting, and I was one of those people.”

Can’t really argue with that. Adding to that is Crean’s $3 million buyout, which makes other ex-Izzo assistants such as Brian Gregory, Doug Wojik and Jim Boylen more appealing, at least from a cost perspective. (Then again, Bill Self’s in a primo situation at Kansas, but he gave Oklahoma State serious consideration in 2008. Just sayin’.)

So Crean’s out. No biggie. He’s not the ideal coach from the Hoosier State anyway. That’d be Brad Stevens.

One domino theory has Stevens going to Indiana when Crean takes the MSU job. But the Spartans would be smart to make Stevens their No. 1 option. Yes, he just he signed a massive extension at Butler. But he’d be worth it. There’s no better young coach in today’s game.

At 33, he’s 89-15 overall and came within inches of a national title. The Bulldogs’ playing style meshes with what Izzo’s done at MSU, namely tough defense with an emphasis on rebounding.

If Izzo does bolt, I’d love to see what Stevens does with all that talent coming back to East Lansing. A return to the NCAA tournament title game wouldn’t be out of reach.

(H/T: The Dagger)

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter, usually talkin’ hoops.