Division I (NCAA)
Green and White
Big Ten Conference
Michigan State University
Breslin Student Events Center
East Lansing, Michigan, United States
The Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team represents Michigan State University (MSU) and competes in the Big Ten Conference of NCAA Division I College basketball. Their home games are played at the Breslin Student Events Center. Tom Izzo has been the head coach since 1995. The Spartans have won two NCAA championships and 13 Big Ten Conference Championships. Their two National Championships came in the 1979 NCAA Tournament and the 2000 NCAA Tournament. The 1979 National Championship Game was the most watched college basketball game in history, with 35.11 million television viewers. The 1979 National Championship team was coached by Jud Heathcote and included tournament MVP Magic Johnson, Greg Kelser and Jay Vincent. The Spartans defeated the previously unbeaten Indiana State Sycamores, led by future Hall of Famer Larry Bird. The 2000 National Championship team defeated the Florida Gators in the final. The team was coached by Tom Izzo and led by players Morris Peterson, Charlie Bell, Jason Richardson and tournament MVP Mateen Cleaves.
- Jud Heathcote era 19761995
- Results under Heathcote
- Year by year
- Results under Izzo
- NBA Players
- NCAA Tournament
- NCAA Tournament history seeds
- NIT results
- Home court
The Spartans have participated in 31 NCAA tournaments and in 20 consecutive NCAA tournaments (1998–2017), the fourth-longest streak ever and third-longest active streak in college basketball, behind Kansas (28) and Duke (22). Michigan State has the eighth most all-time Final Four appearances with nine (1957, 1979, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2015). The program is also ninth all-time in NCAA tournament winning percentage (.685, through 2016).
Three Michigan State coaches have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. They are Pete Newell (National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, Class of 2006), Jud Heathcote (National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, Class of 2009), and Tom Izzo (Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Class of 2016). Since 1976, the Spartans have had only two head basketball coaches, Heathcote and Izzo. Heathcote (1976–1995) coached the Spartans for 19 seasons before retiring following the 1994–95 season. His hand-picked successor, Izzo, an assistant with MSU since 1983, is now in his 22nd year as head coach of the Spartans.
On November 28, 2009, Izzo passed Heathcote's mark of 340 career wins by beating UMass 106–68. Izzo now leads all MSU basketball coaches in wins with 524 through the 2015–16 season.
Of all MSU coaches who have headed the Spartans basketball squad in at least a dozen games, Izzo is second in winning percentage and no MSU coach tops him since 1910. Former coach George E. Denman won all 11 games he coached between 1901–03 and Chester L. Brewer won 70 of 95 games from 1903 to 1910.
Jud Heathcote era (1976–1995)
Jud Heathcote was hired to take over from Gus Ganakas, who is currently an MSU basketball radio announcer, as coach in 1976 from Montana, after coaching the Grizzlies for five years. Heathcote had led the Grizzlies to two Big Sky championships and the 1975 NCAA Tournament, the Grizzlies first ever trip to the Tournament. He finished his tenure at Montana with an 80–53 record.
As a virtual unknown, Heathcote came to East Lansing looking to return MSU to greatness. In his second year, he landed one of the game's all-time greats, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, as a recruit. The 1977–78 Spartans won the Big Ten title, their first since 1967, and advanced to the Elite Eight. They were led by Johnson and Greg Kelser. In 1979, the duo led the Spartans to a second consecutive Big Ten title and the NCAA National Championship. The NCAA championship marked the school's first in basketball.
Following the championship, Johnson left school to join the NBA and Kelser graduated. The result was a ninth place finish in the Big Ten the next year and struggles thereafter. MSU returned to postseason play in 1983, finishing with a 17–13 record and receiving an invitation to the National Invitation Tournament.
Following the expansion of the NCAA Tournament to 64 teams in 1985, Heathcote returned the Spartans, led by the future MSU all-time scoring leader, Scott Skiles, to the Tournament with a fifth place finish in the Big Ten. MSU again reached the NCAA Tournament the following year after finishing third in the Big Ten with a 23–8 record. Led by Skiles and Darryl Johnson, they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen before losing.
Heathcote returned MSU to postseason play in 1989, led by Steve Smith, losing the third place game of the NIT. Smith returned the Spartans to the NCAA Tournament in 1990 as a No. 1 seed. The Spartans narrowly avoided losing to No. 16-seeded Murray State, needing overtime to advance to the Second Round. They again narrowly advanced to the Sweet Sixteen before losing to Georgia Tech in overtime.
The Spartans again made an appearance in the 1991 NCAA Tournament. The Spartans finished in third place in Big Ten play and received an at-large bid as a No. 5 seed to the Tournament where they beat Green Bay on a buzzer beater by Steve Smith. In the Second Round, they lost to No. 10 Utah in double overtime.
The Spartans returned to the NCAA Tournament in 1992, marking three straight years in the NCAA Tournament, an MSU record at that time. Another third place finish in Big Ten play resulted in an at-large bid as a No. 5 seed to the NCAA Tournament. There they beat Missouri State before losing to Cincinnati in the Second Round in a rematch of an earlier Spartan win.
A trip to the NIT in 1993 broke the streak, but Heathcote again led MSU to the NCAA Tournament in 1994. A fourth place finish the Big Ten led to an at-large bid to the Tournament as a No. 7 seed. Led by Shawn Respert, they beat Seton Hall in the First Round before losing to second-seeded Duke in the Second Round.
In his final year at MSU in 1995, Heathcote returned the Spartans to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in six years. A second place finish in Big Ten play resulted in an at-large bid to the Tournament as a No. 3 seed where they were surprised by No. 14th-seeded Weber State in the First Round. The game marked the final game of All-American Shawn Respert's career at MSU.
Heathcote stepped down in 1995 after 19 seasons at Michigan State. He finished with nine NCAA appearances, three Big Ten championships and three NIT appearances. He hand-picked his successor, Tom Izzo.
In 2001, the National Association of Basketball Coaches awarded him with the Golden Anniversary Award for 50 years of service to college basketball. Also, in 2001, he was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame.
In 2009, Heathcote was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
Results under Heathcote
Record by season under Heathcote (total includes Heathcote's Montana record):
Since 1995, the team has been coached by Tom Izzo, who has an overall record of 524–205 as the head coach at Michigan State. Izzo coached the Spartans to their second national championship in 2000 with an 89–76 victory over Florida.
Izzo is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Izzo has guided the Spartans to seven NCAA Final Fours since 1999, an accomplishment unmatched by any other college basketball program during that span. Izzo has never had a losing season at MSU and has also appeared in a postseason tournament every year he has headed the MSU basketball program: two years in the NIT and 20 straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament. His teams have won seven Big Ten Regular Season Championships and four Big Ten Tournament Championships and have reached the Sweet Sixteen 13 times, the Elite Eight nine times, the Final Four seven times, and played in two NCAA Championship games.
Izzo has received numerous awards including the 1998 Associated Press National Coach of the Year, the 1998 Basketball News National Coach of the Year, the 1998 United States Basketball Writers Association Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award (1998), three-time Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year (1998, 2009, 2012), the 1998 Basketball Times Mideast Coach of the Year, the 1999 Basketball News Coach of the Year Award, two-time National Association of Basketball Coaches Coach of the Year Award (2001, 2012) and the 2005 Clair Bee Award.
Izzo also helped his assistants secure head coaching jobs across the basketball world. Two current Division I head coaches served as assistants under Izzo: Tom Crean at Indiana, and Mark Montgomery at Northern Illinois. Current Izzo assistant coach Mike Garland spent three seasons as head coach at Cleveland State following an initial seven-year stint at MSU. Former assistant Stan Heath was head coach at Kent State, Arkansas, and South Florida. Doug Wojcik was the head coach at Tulsa and College of Charleston. Former assistant Brian Gregory coached for Dayton and Georgia Tech.
In his first year as head coach, after 11 years as an assistant coach, MSU struggled after losing All-American Shawn Respert. The Spartans finished the season at .500 (16–16, 9–9) and in a tie for seventh place in the Big Ten. MSU received an invitation to the NIT where they defeated Washington before losing to Fresno State in the second round. The season marked the last time MSU would not finish with a winning record.
In 1997, the Spartans welcomed new recruits Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson to East Lansing. Along with sophomore Antonio Smith, the three made up three-fourths of Izzo's "Flintstones" who would win the National Championship in 2000 (without Smith). In what would be a rarity for MSU in Izzo's tenure, the Spartans played no ranked teams in the non-conference season. The Spartans finished in a tie for sixth place in the conference with a record of 16–11 overall and 9–9 in conference. They received an invitation to the NIT for the second consecutive year. MSU beat George Washington in the first round and lost in the second round to Florida State. As of 2016, this is the last year MSU failed to make the NCAA Tournament.
In 1998, MSU welcomed freshman recruit Charlie Bell, the fourth of Izzo's "Flintstones" and started slow. They lost to No. 7 Temple, and suffered surprising losses to UIC and Detroit in non-conference. MSU would win nine of their first 10 conference games before losing to eventual conference 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. Izzo's team 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.
As the 1998–99 season began, Izzo began his willingness to play anyone anywhere mantra as the Spartans played three top seven teams in their first seven games. However, MSU lost all three. MSU would recover and, after losing their first Big Ten game to No. 24 Wisconsin, the Spartans won the remaining 15 games in conference and won the Big Ten conference regular season by six games with a record of 15–1, their first Big Ten title since 1990. The Spartans won the Big Ten Tournament and earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. As the No. 1 seed in the Midwest region and ranked No. 2 in the country, MSU defeated Mount St. Mary's, and Mississippi to advance to their second straight Sweet Sixteen. A win over Oklahoma and Kentucky led MSU to the Final Four for the first time since 1978. However, MSU fell short in their bid for an NCAA championship, losing to Duke in the Final Four.
Izzo looked to improve on his Final Four appearance in 1999–2000. Seniors Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson led the way for the Spartans as they began the season ranked No. 3 in the country. However, Cleaves sustained a stress fracture in his right foot prior to the season which forced him to miss the non-conference schedule and MSU fell to 9–4 and ranked No. 11 in the country. After Cleaves' return, MSU finished the regular season 13–3 conference record and 23–7 overall while being ranked No. 2 in the country and earned a share of the Big Ten title, their third consecutive Big Ten championship. The Spartans went on to win the third annual Big Ten Tournament as the No. 2 seed, defeating No. 25 Illinois for the championship for the second consecutive year. The Spartans were awarded the No. 1 seed, their second consecutive No. 1 seed, in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament. From there, the Spartans cruised to their third consecutive Sweet Sixteen with wins over Valparaiso, and Utah. MSU continued their National Championship push by reaching their second consecutive Final Four with wins over Syracuse and Iowa State. MSU won every game by double digits despite playing the best possible seed in each round. In their Final Four matchup, Michigan State faced off against fellow Big Ten foe, Wisconsin, beating them in a hard fought game, 53–41. In the National Championship game, the Spartans triumphed over the Florida 89–76, despite losing Cleaves to an ankle injury 3:42 into the second half. The win marked MSU's second National Championship in basketball and Izzo's first and only to date.
Losing both Cleaves and Peterson to graduation following the season, MSU still began the 2000–01 season ranked No. 3 in the country. Led be sophomore Jason Richardson and freshmen Zach Randolph and seniors Charlie Bell and Andre Hutson, the Spartans finished the non-conference schedule undefeated and ranked No.1 in the country. MSU again share the Big Ten title, the fourth consecutive, with a 13–3 conference record. They suffered a surprise defeat by Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament in their attempt to win the tournament for the third consecutive year. They received their third consecutive No. 1 seed, in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament. Seeking a repeat National Championship, MSU easily dispatched Alabama State and Fresno State to reach the Sweet Sixteen for the fourth consecutive year. A win over Gonzaga and Temple led to the school's third straight trip to the Final Four. However, they were unable to repeat as National Champions, losing to Arizona in the National Semifinal. Following the season, Randolph and Richardson declared for the NBA Draft.
As a result of Randolph and Richardson's early departure, MSU struggled with Izzo's tough non-conference schedule. The Spartans lost four games, all to teams ranked in the top 25 and started the Big ten season with three straight losses. The loss to Wisconsin snapped MSU's 53-game home winning streak. Michigan State finished the conference schedule at 10–6 and in fourth place with an overall record of 19–10. MSU lost in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament to No. 23 Indiana marking the first time since 1997 that Michigan State did not win either the Big Ten regular season or tournament title. The Spartans received an at-large bid as a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament and were eliminated in the First Round by NC State.
Following the disappointment of an early NCAA Tournament exit, the first time Izzo's squads had not won at least one game in the NCAA Tournament, the 2002–03 team played another tough non-conference schedule. This time the Spartans faced three ranked teams, only losing one. However, they suffered four losses and finished the non-conference schedule at 8–4 and ranked No. 25 in the country. MSU began the Big Ten regular season losing four of their first six games and fell out of the rankings. The Spartans finished in a tie for third place in the Big Ten at 10–6 in conference and 18–11 overall. Michigan State beat Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, but fell to Ohio State in the semifinals. The Spartans received a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive year. MSU received a No. 7 seed in the South Region. A win over Colorado in the First Round was followed by a rout of No. 10 Florida to reach the Sweet Sixteen for the fifth time in six years. The Spartans defeated No. 17 Maryland to advance to the Elite Eight for the fourth time in five years. However, MSU fell to No. 5 Texas in the Regional Final.
In 2004, Izzo looked to continue his dominant NCAA run. However, Izzo's penchant for touch scheduling hurt his team as they faced a murderer's row of a schedule which included three straight losses to No. 6 Duke, in overtime, to No. 14 Oklahoma at the Palace of Auburn Hills, and to No. 8 Kentucky at Ford Field in the Basketbowl. The Spartans followed this losing streak by losing two of their final four non-conference games including at No. 17 Syracuse and dropped out of the rankings. They finished the non-conference slate at 5–6. After a loss to open Big Ten play to No. 21 Wisconsin, the Spartans recovered to win seven of their next eight and six of their last seven Big Ten games. They finished in a tie for second place in the Big Ten at 12–4 and 17–10 overall. A win over Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals was followed by a third loss of the season to No. 17 Wisconsin. The Spartans received a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament, reaching the tournament for the seventh consecutive year. But, for the second time in three years, the Spartans were knocked out in the First Round, this time by Nevada.
In 2005, the Spartans again looked to rebound from a disappointing early NCAA Tournament exit. They started the season 3–2, but cruised through the Big Ten, only losing three games, including a loss to No. 1 Illinois and finished second in conference to Illinois. MSU finished the regular season with a 13–3 conference record and 22–5 overall while being ranked No. 13 in the country. The Spartans lost in the quarterfinals in the Big Ten Tournament to Iowa. Michigan State received an at-large bid as a No. 5 seed in the Austin Regional of the NCAA Tournament, their eighth straight appearance in the Tournament under Tom Izzo. Wins over Old Dominion and Vermont, led the Spartans to the Sweet Sixteen for the sixth time in eight years. In the Sweet Sixteen, the Spartans beat No. 3-ranked and No. 1-seeded Duke, which MSU had not defeated since 1958. The win marked Izzo's first and only win over Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (as of 2017). A double overtime victory over Kentucky sent the Spartans to their fourth Final Four in seven seasons. MSU would again fall in the Final Four, this time to No. 2-ranked and No. 1-seeded North Carolina.
The 2005–06 Spartans opened the season with a loss to Hawaii before losing to No. 8 Gonzaga led by Adam Morrison in triple overtime in the Maui Classic. Despite this MSU ended the non-conference schedule at 12–2 and ranked No. 7 in the country. Early Big Ten losses followed by late season losses in conference left the Spartans 8–8 in the Big Ten. n the Big Ten Tournament, MSU defeated Purdue and No. 9 Illinois before being defeated by No. 20 Iowa in the semifinals. The Spartans received an at-large bid as a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, their ninth consecutive trip to the Tournament. In the Tournament, they lost to eventual Final Four Cinderella, George Mason, in the First Round. Following the season, Shannon Brown declared for the NBA Draft, leaving the Spartans one year prior to graduation, just the fourth player under Izzo to declare early.
The 2006–07 Spartans began the season 13–2, but were not ranked in the polls. A roller coaster Big Ten season resulted in MSU finishing 8–8 with a win against No. 1 Wisconsin which likely assured the Spartans a trip to the NCAA Tournament. MSU lost to Wisconsin after beating Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament. The Spartans received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th consecutive year and beat Marquette, coached by former Izzo assistant Tom Crean, in the First Round of the Tournament. A loss to No. 3 North Carolina in the Second Round ended the season.
In 2008, MSU finished the non-conference schedule 12–1 and ranked No. 6 in the country with wins over No. 24 NC State, No. 20 BYU, and No. 4 Texas. A hot start to the Big Ten schedule, winning six of seven, was followed by four lossed in their next seven which left them in fourth place in the Big Ten with a record of 12–6. As the No. 4 seed tn the Big Ten Tournament, they beat Ohio State before losing to No. 8 Wisconsin. The Spartans received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament to mark their 11th consecutive trip to the Tournament under Tom Izzo. As a No. 5 seed, the Spartans beat Temple, and Pittsburgh to move on to the Sweet Sixteen for the seventh time in 11 years. A route a Derrick Rose-led Memphis ended the season.
By the beginning of the 2008–09 season, Izzo's teams, though having great success in the NCAA Tournament, had not won the Big Ten regular season title since 2001. A solid non-conference start left them at 9–2 and were ranked No. 10 in the country. MSU routed the Big Ten, winning their first five conference games, their best start in conference since 1978. MSU finished the conference season well, winning the Big Ten championship by four games with a 15–3 record, 25–5 overall, and ranked No. 7 in the country. Following the conclusion of the regular season, Kalin Lucas was named Big Ten Player of the Year and Tom Izzo was voted Big Ten Coach of the Year. As the No. 1 see in the Big Ten Tournament, the Spartans defeated Minnesota before being upset by Ohio State in the semifinals. Michigan State received an at-large bid as the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament, their 12th straight appearance in the Tournament. Wins over Robert Morris and USC, the Spartans were able to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, the school's eighth trip to the Sweet Sixteen in the previous 12 years. MSU advanced to the Elite Eight with a win over No. 14-ranked and No. 3-seeded Kansas. In the Elite Eight, the Spartans defeated Louisville to advance to Final Four in nearby Detroit, only 90 miles from MSU's campus. The Spartans defeated UConn in the national semifinals to earn their third ever trip to the National Championship game. With Izzo 1–0 in championship games and the Spartans 2–0 all-time, North Carolina scored more points than any team had ever scored in the first half of an NCAA championship game, scoring 55 and blowing out the Spartans 89–72, marking the Spartans first ever loss in the National Championship game.
In 2010, the Spartans finished the non-conference schedule at 10–3. The Spartans began the Big Ten season on fire, winning their first nine games and went on to earn a share of the Big Ten championship with a 14–4 and ranked 11th in the country. As the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, they were defeated in overtime by No. 6 seed Minnesota in the quarterfinals. The Spartans received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, their 13th straight appearance, earning a No. 5 seed in the Midwest Region. A win over New Mexico State and Maryland led MSU to the Sweet Sixteen for the ninth time in 13 years. However, Kalin Lucas suffered a serious knee injury and for the remainder of the Tournament. MSU would go on to beat Northern Iowa and Tennessee to advance to their second consecutive Final Four and sixth in the prior 12 years. In the National Semifinal, they were defeated by Butler.
The 2010–11 Spartans finished the non-conference portion of their season 8–4 and ranked No. 20 in the country. However, the Spartans were inconsistent in conference play, suffering nine losses and finishing 9–9 in conference and in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament. After beating Iowa and blowing out No. 9 Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament, the Spartans fell to Penn State in the semifinals. The blowout win over Purdue likely ensured the Spartans inclusion in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan State received a No. 10 seed in the Southeast Region of the NCAA Tournament, their 14th straight appearance, but the lowest seeding the Spartans had received in the NCAA Tournament since 2002. MSU fell behind early to UCLA in the Second Round (formerly known as the First Round) and made a furious rally, but fell short, losing by two points. The loss marked only the fourth time MSU failed to win a game in their 14 trips to the NCAA Tournament.
The 2011–12 Spartans, led by senior Draymond Green, started the season 0–2. However, MSU won the next 15 games in a row to jump into the top ten in the polls. A loss in the regular season finale at home to No. 10 Ohio State meant the Spartans would share the Big Ten regular season championship with Ohio State and Michigan, all of which finished the Big Ten season with a 13–5 conference record. In that loss to Ohio State, key freshman reserve, Branden Dawson, tore his ACL, ending his season. As the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, The Spartans beat Iowa, No. 14 Wisconsin, and No. 7 Ohio State to win the Tournament championship, their first Tournament championship since 2000. Draymond Green earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors, the fifth time a player had done so under Tom Izzo. Izzo was also named Big Ten Coach of the Year. MSU received a No. 1 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament, where they beat LIU–Brooklyn in the First Round behind Green's triple-double. The Spartans overcame Saint Louis in the Second Round to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. This marked the 10th time in 15 seasons that the Spartans advanced to at least the Sweet Sixteen. The Spartans, missing Dawson and struggling offensively, became the first No. 1 seed to lose in the Tournament, falling to No. 17 and fourth-seeded Louisville.
MSU began the 2012–13 season 11–2 and ranked No. 18 in the country. The Spartans remained ranked the entire year while finishing tied for second in the Big Ten with Ohio State, with a 13–5 conference record and ranked No. 10 in the country. As the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, they beat Iowa in the quarterfinals, but fell to eventual tournament champion, Ohio State, in the semifinals. The Spartans received a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, their 16th straight appearance in the tournament. MSU defeated Valparaiso and Memphis to advance to their fifth Sweet Sixteen in six years. The Spartans were defeated by Duke, who was led by Seth Curry, in the Sweet Sixteen.
Michigan State began the 2013–14 season looking to continue Tom Izzo's Final Four streak: every player who had played four years for Izzo had made at least one Final Four. After beating No. 1 Kentucky in the Champions Classic, the Spartans moved to the No. 1 spot. The Spartans held the No. 1 spot for three weeks before losing to North Carolina in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The Spartans cruised through the remaining non-conference schedule, finishing 11–1, to begin the Big Ten season ranked No. 5 in the country. The Spartans won their first seven conference games, but due to injuries to Keith Appling, Adriean Payne, and Brendan Dawson, MSU lost five of their last eight conference games to finish in a second-place tie with Wisconsin at 12–6. The Spartans, finally healthy and at full strength, beat Northwestern, No. 12 Wisconsin, and No. 8 Michigan to capture the Big Ten Tournament Championship. This marked Michigan State's fourth tournament championship. Michigan State earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament's East Region. With wins against Delaware and Harvard, they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the third straight year and the 12th time in 17 years. They defeated No. 1-seeded Virginia in the Sweet Sixteen to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2010. There they fell to No. 7 seed and eventual National Champion, Connecticut. With the loss, the Tom Izzo's Final Four streak ended. Shortly after the season, Gary Harris declared for the NBA Draft.
MSU started the season well, but with a shocking loss to Texas Southern at home in overtime, they finished the the non-conference season at 9–4 MSU rallied late in the Big Ten season, winning six of their last eight conference games. MSU finished the season in a tie for third place in conference and got hot in the Big Ten Tournament beating Ohio State and No. 8 Maryland, before losing to No. 6 Wisconsin for the tournament title. The Spartans received an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 7 seed in the East Region. The bid was MSU's 18th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. MSU beat Georgia in the Second Round and surprised No. 2-seeded and No. 6-ranked Virginia in the Third Round. With the win, the Spartans advanced to their fourth straight Sweet Sixteen and seventh Sweet Sixteen in eight years. Wins over Oklahoma and Louisville in overtime gave MSU a trip to their seventh Final Four under Tom Izzo. In the Final Four, the Spartans fell to the eventual National Champions for the second straight season, losing a rematch of their Champions Classic game to Duke in the National Semifinal.
With senior Denzel Valentine leading the 2015–16 Spartans, MSU went undefeated in the non-conference with the school's best start in history moving to No. 1 in the polls. However, Valeninte suffered a knee injury in late December and would miss four games as MSU lost its first game of the season in Big Ten play and fell from the top spot in the polls. Upon Valentine's return, MSU continued to struggle, losing four of their first seven games and marking their worst conference start since 2003. The Spartans recovered well, losing only one more conference game and finished 13–5 in conference, good enough for second place in the Big Ten. MSU's 26 regular season wins tied the most for a Michigan State team in the regular season. Following the regular season, USA Today named Valentine National Player of the Year. The Big Ten also announced that Valentine was the Big Ten's Player of the Year. As the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, MSU defeated Ohio State for a third time on the season before dispatching Maryland and Purdue to win the Tournament championship. With the win, MSU set the record for most Big Ten Tournament Championships with five (Ohio State has also won five, but one has been vacated due to NCAA violations). MSU, ranked No. 2 in the country, learned that it would not receive a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, instead receiving a No. 2 seed in the Midwest bracket. This marked the 19th consecutive year the Spartans made the NCAA Tournament. Despite receiving the No. 2 seed, MSU was considered by many the favorite to with the NCAA Championship. However, MSU was shocked by No. 15-seeded Middle Tennessee in the First Round in what some argue was the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history.
The 2016–17 Spartans were decimated by departures from the prior year as seniors Denzel Valentine, Bryn Forbes, and Matt Costello all graduated and moved to the NBA. Freshman Deyonta Davis also declared his eligibility for the NBA after the year and sophomores Javon Bess and Marvin Clark transferred out of the program. In all, five of the Spartans top six scorers from 2015–16 did not return. In response, MSU welcomed their most-heralded recruiting class ever as four top-50 ranked players entered the program: Miles Bridges, Joshua Langford, Cassius Winston, and Nick Ward. A young team would look to graduate transfer Ben Carter and seniors Gavin Schilling and Eron Harris to fill the holes left by departing players. However, Carter and Schilling suffered season-ending knee injuries before the season began and Harris would suffer one late in the season. As a result, MSU struggled up front as Ward at 6'8" was the tallest on the team. Former walk-on Kenny Goins became the backup big man at 6'6". Following losses in their first two games to top 10 teams, MSU suffered two other losses to top 20 teams. Bridges would miss seven games with a knee injury near the end of the non-conference slate and the Spartans, who started the season ranked as high as 10 in some polls, would enter Big Ten play with an 8–5 record. Izzo would lament his early season schedule which involved trips to Hawaii, New York, and the Bahamas early in the season when his young team wouldn't needed important practice time. Wins to start conference play over Minnesota (twice) and Northwestern, which would prove to be two of their better wins on the season, and Bridges return had MSU at 4–1 in conference play. However, inconsistency haunted the Spartans as their failure to win road games left the Spartans at 8–5 in conference play with a visit to conference leaders, Purdue. MSU was handled easily by the Boilermakers and Harris suffered his knee injury which appeared to spell the end of MSU's 19-year NCAA Tournament streak. However, as Bridges, who averaged over 16 points and eight rebounds on the season, and Ward who averaged over 13 points and six rebounds, led the Spartans, they were able to knock off ranked Wisconsin to seal a trip to the NCAA Tournament. A 10–8 conference record left the Spartans in a tie for fifth place. A win over Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament preceded a loss to Minnesota, but was enough for the Spartans to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the 20th consecutive year. A win over Miami in the First Round led to a loss to Kansas and end to the season. Bridges finished the season with perhaps the second-best freshmen season in MSU history (behind Magic Johnson), 16.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game.
Results under Izzo
Record by year under Izzo:
Spartans formerly or currently in the NBA include Maurice Ager, Alan Anderson, Keith Appling, Charlie Bell, Shannon Brown, Mateen Cleaves, Deyonta Davis, Paul Davis, Branden Dawson, Bryn Forbes, Terry Furlow, Jamie Feick, Draymond Green, Johnny Green, Gary Harris, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Greg Kelser, Kalin Lucas, Adreian Payne, Mike Peplowski, Morris Peterson, Zach Randolph, Shawn Respert, Jason Richardson, Scott Skiles, Steve Smith, Eric Snow, Denzel Valentine, Sam Vincent, Jay Vincent, and Kevin Willis.
The Spartans have appeared in 31 NCAA basketball tournaments, with a current streak of 20 straight years, with two NCAA basketball national championships. They also count nine Final Fours and sport a 63–29 all-time NCAA tournament record.
NCAA Tournament history & seeds
The NCAA began seeding the tournament with the 1979 edition.
Prior to seeding MSU appeared in the 1957, 1959, and 1978 NCAA Tournaments.
The Spartans have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) five times. Their combined record is 6–6.
Tom Izzo's teams have worn many different styles of uniforms during his 21 years at Michigan State. Nike, Inc. started making jerseys for the team at the start of the 2000-01 season.
The current home jersey, introduced as part of a rebranding effort by the athletic department in April 2010, is white with green uniform numbers and a green custom font "SPARTANS" across the chest. The road jersey is green with white uniform numbers and a white custom font "SPARTANS" across the chest. The Spartans do not currently wear an official alternate uniform but the team has worn a silver alternate, a 1979 throwback, and a MAC (Michigan Agricultural College) uniform in the past. The team also wore specially-made camouflage jerseys for the 2011 Carrier Classic, played on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier against North Carolina. Beginning in the 2014–15 season, the Spartans frequently wore their 1979 throwback jerseys as their home uniform. On January 23, 2016, MSU wore specially designed "Mean Green" uniforms.
The Spartans play home games at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center on campus in East Lansing, Michigan. The arena is commonly referred to as "Breslin" and "the Bres", and was opened in 1989. It is named for Jacweir "Jack" Breslin, an MSU alumnus, former athlete and administrator, who first began pushing for the arena in 1969. Its capacity is 14,797 seats, and the stadium superseded Jenison Fieldhouse. The arena is currently undergoing a $50 million renovation to improve the visitor experience and to create a Michigan State University Basketball Hall of History.
The arena's current basketball court is the same floor where the Spartans won the 2000 NCAA Tournament, which was at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. The school purchased the floor from the NCAA and Final Four floor installer Horner Flooring after the title game. A plaque was installed on the baseline near the Michigan State tunnel to commemorate the floor's role in the school's history.
The Breslin Center is home to the Izzone, a large student section named after Coach Izzo, the basketball team's head coach since 1995. The student section had been named Spartan Spirits and Jud's Jungle prior to Izzo's prominence at the school. The Izzone routinely gets mentioned in discussions of the nation's top student fan sections, and in 2006 was ranked as the 4th best in the country. The section helped cheer the Spartans to a 53-game home win streak between 1998 and 2002 and also a 28-game winning streak from 2007 and 2009.