Tom Izzo has led Michigan State to seven previous Final Fours, with one national championship. Here's what happened in each game.
1999 (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
March 27: No. 1 Duke 68, No. 1 Michigan State 62
A year after winning his first Big Ten championship, Izzo entered his fourth season leading the Spartans with a roster that was good enough to earn a top-five preseason ranking. They lived up to the hype, winning the conference again and reaching the program’s third Final Four and first for Izzo. The Spartans played the Blue Devils close, taking away valuable experience.
April 1: No. 1 Michigan State 53, No. 8 Wisconsin 41
The Spartans repeated as Big Ten champions and rode that wave back to the Final Four, only to find conference foe Wisconsin in the way. MSU beat Wisconsin for the third time that season in a defensive battle as Morris Peterson scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
April 3: No. 1 Michigan State 89, No. 5 Florida 76
In Michigan State’s first return to the national title game since 1979, the Spartans got 21 points from Morris Peterson, 19 from A.J. Granger and 18 from Mateen Cleaves, who rolled his ankle during the game only to limp back to the court and close out the game to hand Izzo his first national title and second in program history.
March 31: No. 2 Arizona 80, No. 1 Michigan State 61
The Spartans won their fourth straight Big Ten title and capped things with a third straight trip to the Final Four. It was a tough game for senior Charlie Bell, who was just 1-for-10 shooting while the Wildcats had all five starters reach double figures.
2005 (St. Louis, Mo.)
April 2: No. 1 North Carolina 87, No. 5 Michigan State 71
This was the tournament remembered as much for the weekend the Spartans had to reach the Final Four as the championship weekend itself. Michigan State beat Duke in the Sweet 16 — at that point the only time Izzo had beaten the Blue Devils — and followed that with a double-overtime win over Kentucky in the regional final. The Spartans were then overwhelmed by a loaded Tar Heels team in the Final Four.
April 4: No. 2 Michigan State 82, No. 1 Connecticut 73
Playing in front of a partisan Spartans crowd at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan State knocked off its second straight No. 1 seed after beating Louisville — the tournament’s top overall seed — in the regional final. A pair of Detroiters led the way as Kalin Lucas scored 21 and Durrell Summers’ dunk punctuated the win.
April 6: No. 1 North Carolina 89, No. 2 Michigan State 72
Michigan State got back to the national championship game for the first time since winning it all in 2000. However, the Tar Heels put four players in double figures, and the Spartans were unable to overcome 21 turnovers in front of the home crowd at Ford Field.
April 3: No. 5 Butler 52, No. 5 Michigan State 50
Returning the bulk of the team that reached the title game a year before, the Spartans got back to the Final Four for a second straight season. But the Spartans struggled offensively as the upstart Bulldogs made enough plays down the stretch to keep Izzo and the Spartans from getting back to the national title game.
April 4: No. 1 Duke 81, No. 7 Michigan State 61
In one of the Spartans’ more improbable runs, Michigan State knocked off No. 2 Virginia in the second round before taking care No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 4 Louisville in the regionals behind the play of senior guard Travis Trice. After a fast start against the Blue Devils, the Spartans ran out of gas as Duke went on to win the national title two days later.