Team preview: Michigan State
Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
Tom Izzo begins his 10th year guiding the Michigan State program, and his 22nd year in East Lansing after serving as Judd Heathcote's top assistant for 12 seasons. When asked to look back on his tenure as a head coach, Izzo was typically modest, yet any list of his accomplishments would be considered borderline gaudy.
"I really didn't think about it when I got the job," Izzo said. "I just realized these jobs are hard to find. I wanted to build a program, and wanted to do some things with the program. We've been pretty consistent -- we're always knocking on the door for the Big Ten championship, at least for the last seven years. We've been to the NCAA Tournament seven years in a row, we've been to the Elite Eight and Final Four, and all those things mean something to us."
From 1998 to 2001, the Spartans tied for the Big Ten regular-season championship three times and won it outright once. They also went to three straight Final Fours, winning a national title in 2000, and last season's first-round exit was the only time in Izzo's tenure that Michigan State failed to reach the Sweet 16.