On February 16 after a loss to Purdue, Michigan State sat at 10-9 overall and 4-9 in Big Ten play. The Spartans looked dead, and the program’s two-decade plus NCAA Tournament streak looked over.
However, over the next three weeks, Tom Izzo and his team executed a remarkable turnaround, capped off by this afternoon’s win over No. 2 Michigan. The victory over their arch-rival moved the Spartans to 15-11 overall and 9-11 in the Big Ten and likely wrapped up a tournament bid.
Included in MSU’s 5-2 finish were three wins over top-five teams: Michigan today, Illinois and Ohio State. Like so many Izzo teams before them, this year’s Spartans squad seems to be rounding into form in March.
The reaction to today’s win from around the college basketball world was not surprising. Multiple bracketologists firmly put the Spartans into the NCAA Tournament field, and many other analysts extolled Izzo’s March brilliance.
My VBDI Team of the Night is @MSU_Basketball MICHIGAN STATE as Tom Izzo just KO’ed (recent W’s over Illinois, Ohio St and now Michigan is enough) the Selection Committee as the Spartans will dance for the 23rd consecutive time in @marchmadness
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) March 8, 2021
That’s likely a bid clinching win for Michigan State. They pick up their fifth Q1 win and third high Q1 win (OSU, Ill). Biggest concern is their NET (72), but would think this win bolsters it by double digits.
— Brad Wachtel (@Brad_Wachtel) March 7, 2021
— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) March 7, 2021
Michigan State just punched its ticket with a win over rival Michigan.
Victories over Illinois, Ohio State and now the Wolverines. … With a guy named Izzo at the helm.
The Streak will extend to 23 consecutive NCAA tourney appearances.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 7, 2021
March Izzo 💪🏾 https://t.co/MtsvAJ5RXs
— Mel Tucker (@Coach_mtucker) March 7, 2021
Just when you think Izzo has been vanquished…
— Rush the Court (@rushthecourt) March 7, 2021
March Madness will include the Michigan State Spartans for the 23rd consecutive season. No question about it after their third top 5 win of the season. Tom Izzo in March, man.
— Brandon Champion (@BrandonthaChamp) March 7, 2021
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) March 7, 2021
With this afternoon’s victory behind them, Michigan State will move on to the Big Ten Tournament this week. The Spartans are the No. 9 seed.
They will open up postseason play against the league’s No. 8 seed, either Rutgers or Maryland, on Thursday.