Michigan State Basketball tries to duplicate 2000 NCAA Tournament run

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For Michigan State basketball the NCAA Tournament journey begins in the friendly confines of the Detroit suburbs. The Michigan State drew Auburn Hills, Michigan for their regional, home of the Detroit Pistons. Obviously this is fantastic for Sparty. All the Michigan State basketball fans will already be right there. MSU has the most recent national title of any Big Ten team. And their bracket draw this year has some similarities with that magical 2000 run. This year, as well as that title year of 2000: Michigan St. played Valparaiso in their first tournament game. The road to the title included 2/3 same locations: Detroit and Indianapolis, both drivable locations for their rabid, often-intoxicated Michigan State fan base.

Tom Izzo certainly is “Mr. March” as Michigan State is 71-29 in March since 1998-99. Given the strength of the Big Ten this year, these Spartans will be more battle tested than usual. For officially the fourth time in Big Ten history, and third in the last five seasons, the Big Ten will send seven programs to the NCAA Tournament. It marks the sixth time in the last eight years that the Big Ten has had six or more teams in the bracket. Michigan State basketball always schedules extremely tough in the non-conference, making them ready for what really counts in March. They take their lumps in November and learn from them so that they can survive and advance into April

 

I love hearing the Michigan State fight song in March. It’s so fitting and exciting. It completes the season; like hearing the Michigan fight song in autumn. Call the Michigan State basketball anthem a March Madness version of a Christmas Carol. And the #1 seed in the Michigan State Spartans Regional? Louisville, the team that bounced them from the tourney last year. Tom Izzo usually does well in revenge rematches.

Tom Izzo knows how to win in the big dance, he has 6 Final Fours in 13 years- that’s the most in the country.

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Thursday, March 21
#3 MICHIGAN STATE vs. #14 Valparaiso 26-7 (58 RPI, 8 tourney appearances, 2-7 record in tournament)
12:15 p.m., CBS

Michigan State basketball is making their 27th NCAA appearance overall and 16th consecutive. Michigan State has a 54-25 mark in the NCAA Tournament and eight Final Four appearances, including the 1979 and 2000 national championships. Michigan State basketball finished up the year 9 in both polls, same ranking in RPI, 25-8, 13-5 in conference.

Izzo talked about battling in the Big Ten two times a week, and then over a weekend in the Big Ten Tournament. How it grinds on you, how you’re ready to play anyone else but a Big Ten team as you head for the NCAA Tourney. How the Big Ten journey prepares you for the NCAA Tournament.

I am really looking forward to playing somebody else, and I think all the Big Ten teams are, and deservedly so.  We’ve beaten the hell out of each other, and we really, really, really have, and I think it’s going to help all of us in the end, as you asked.  I really believe the toughest team is the one that’s been through the most, the one that can sit there at a pregame or at a halftime and say we’ve done this, we’ve been there, we’ve played these guys.  It’s going to benefit.
Yeah, I’m looking forward to playing anybody.  I’d play the Lakers tomorrow instead of some of the teams I’ve played recently.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of visitors. He’s an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker

Banks has appeared on Comcast SportsNet and the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks)

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