Michigan State solidified its spot in yet another Sweet 16 Saturday afternoon. The Spartans surged past Memphis, 70-48, comfortably dispatching the Tigers in Auburn Hills in round of 32 action.
The thrill of a Sweet 16 berth never gets old, but it's almost become commonplace in East Lansing, where head coach Tom Izzo has reigned since 1995. Michigan State, rarely a mighty regular-season squad, has become a fixture in the final rounds of the NCAA tournament during the past decade-and-a-half.
The Spartans have advanced this far 11 times under Izzo's watch and own a 7-3 record in the round. Regardless of where Michigan State is seeded, it seems this squad finds a way to make do and push on through postseason rigors.
Izzo, who has reached six Final Fours and claimed the 2000 national championship, isn't in the basketball Hall of Fame, but his eventual induction has become a formality at this point.
The 58-year-old Michigan native undoubtedly ranks among the nation's elite coaching minds, and most importantly, he provokes tremendous effort from his team on a perennial basis.
As Izzo prepares Michigan State for the final stretch toward a national title, it's an appropriate time to examine the factors that have made his tenure so consistently successful.