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

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Mar 27, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Michigan State Spartans former player Mateen Cleaves talks with Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo during practice for the east regional of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

7. 1999 Michigan State Spartans (33-5)

Just a young coach at 44 years old, Izzo made his first ever Final Four as a head coach in 1999 with the help of Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson. Having gone an impressive 29-4 in the regular season with a Big Ten regular season and tournament title under their belts, the Spartans entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 team in the nation and the No. 1 seed in the Mideast Region.

Defeating 16-seed Mount Saint Mary’s easily in round one was nice as the Spartans avoided becoming the first-ever one-seed to fall to No. 16. The road was just beginning.

All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year Mateen Cleaves led the Spartans to a close, but smooth, win over the ninth-seeded Ole Miss Rebels, 74-66, earning their second consecutive Sweet 16 berth.

On to the Sweet 16 the Spartans went with a relatively new coach at the helm, but a very talented team on the court. I mean, with two First-Team All-Big Ten players, anything less than a Sweet 16 would be somewhat of a disappointment.

The Spartans beat a Cinderella 13-seed Oklahoma team to advance to their first Elite Eight under Izzo and the idea of a national title didn’t seem to crazy anymore. Michigan State had to get past a well-coached No. 3 seed Kentucky team to reach their first Final Four in some time and they did just that.

Michigan State ended up losing to Duke in the Final Four, however, as Coach K’s team proved to be too much for Izzo.

No one was really surprised at this MSU made this run because the Spartans were a favorite to win it all. That’s why this is only No. 7 on the list of most impressive.

Next: 2001 MSU Spartans