Ranking Michigan State’s Most Impressive Final Fours Under Tom Izzo

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Mar 29, 2015; Syracuse, NY, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo cuts down the nets after the game against the Louisville Cardinals in the finals of the east regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Carrier Dome. The Michigan State Spartans won 76-70. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State has been known as one of the best college basketball teams in the nation since Tom Izzo took over Jud Heathcote’s throne in 1995. Well, it wasn’t until 1999 that the Spartans became known for hoops, nationally, making their first Final Four under the young head coach.

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Not many people realized just how elite this program would become under Izzo as he led them to a national title the next season and a third straight Final Four appearance in 2001. To be quite frank, Izzo has inserted himself in the conversation as one of the best coaches to ever grace the sidelines of a college basketball court — he has already overtaken Heathcote as the best coach in MSU history.

It hasn’t always been an easy road for the Spartans and Izzo. The 20th-year head coach has had some teams just scrape by to get into the NCAA Tournament only to be knocked out early. However, some of those teams that have scraped by have also made deeps runs in March — either to the Sweet 16, Elite Eight or even Final Four.

In fact, Izzo is the only coach in college basketball to lead a five-seed, or less, to three Final Fours in his career. Yes, Izzo has accomplished that impressive feat three separate times, including this season with the 27-11 Spartans.

Spartan legend Magic Johnson has called this the most impressive Final Four run in the history of MSU, sparking a debate on the ranking of his seven appearances in the national semifinal.

With that being said, let’s take a look at how I rank Izzo’s most impressive, meaning improbable, Final Four runs from No. 7 to No. 1. Is this year his finest piece of work? Find out.

Next: 1999 MSU Spartans