Suvarna Garge (Editor)

1997–98 Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team

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Conference  Big Ten Conference
AP  No. 16
Head coach  Tom Izzo (3rd year)
Coaches  No. 10
1997–98 record  22–8 (13–3 Big Ten)
Assistant coach  Tom Crean (3rd year)

The 1997–98 Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team represented Michigan State University in the 1997–98 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The team played their home games at Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan as members of the Big Ten Conference. They were coached by third-year head coach, Tom Izzo. The Spartans finished the season 22–8, 13–3 in Big Ten play to win a share the regular season Big Ten championship. MSU received a bid to the NCAA Tournament where they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen before losing to North Carolina.


Previous season

The Spartans finished the 1996–97 season 17–12, 9–9 in Big Ten play to finish in a three-way tie for sixth place. Michigan State received an invitation to the NIT and beat George Washington in the first round. In the second round, they lost to Florida State.

The Spartans lost Jon Garavaglia (10.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.1 APG) and Ray Weathers (13.6, 2.4 RPG, 1.6 APG) to graduation following the season.

Season summary

The Spartans began the season looking for their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1995. They were led by sophomore Mateen Cleaves (16.1rebound and 7.2 assists per game) and junior Jason Klein (11.2 points per game). This season marked the first year for all four of MSU's "Flintstones", Cleaves (sophomore), Charlie Bell (freshman), Antonio Smith (junior), and Morris Peterson (sophomore), who would end their careers with a National Championship in 2000. The Spartans played one ranked team in the non-conference season, No. 7 Temple, and lost 54–56. MSU also suffered surprising losses to UIC and Detroit in non-conference. MSU finished the non-conference season at 7–3.

The Spartans opened the Big Ten season with win versus No. 4 Purdue. Following a loss at No. 17 Michigan, the Spartans won their next eight conference games before losing at eventual Big Ten co-champion, Illinois. In January, MSU entered the AP and Coaches rankings for the first time since the end of the 1994–95 season. The Spartans finished in a tie for the conference championship, their first since 1990, with a record of 13–3 in conference play. The Spartans earned the No. 1 seed in the inaugural Big Ten Tournament, but lost their first game in the quarterfinals to Minnesota.

The Spartans received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed in the East Region, their first trip to the Tournament since 1995. MSU advanced to their first Sweet Sixteen since 1990 by beating Eastern Michigan and No. 8 Princeton. The Spartans were eliminated from the tournament by No. 1 North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen.

As of 2016, no MSU team has failed to make the NCAA tournament, a streak which began with the 1997–98 team.

Roster and statistics




Awards and honors

  • Mateen Cleaves – Big Ten Player of the Year
  • Mateen Cleaves – All American Second Team
  • Mateen Cleaves – Big Ten First Team
  • Tom Izzo – AP Basketball Coach of the Year
  • Tom Izzo – Henry Iba National Coach of the Year
  • Tom Izzo – Basketball News' National Coach of the Year
  • Tom Izzo – Big Ten Coach of the Year (Media and Coaches)
  • Antonio Smith – Big Ten Third Team
  • Jason Klein – Big Ten Honorable Mention
  • References

    1997–98 Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team Wikipedia

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