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

3 of 8

Mar 26, 2015; Syracuse, NY, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo speaks to the media during practice for the semifinals of the midwest regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

6. 2001 Michigan State Spartans (28-5)

Although this team lost a TON of talent from the 2000 national title team, the 2001 version of the Spartans were still loaded with guys who contributed at the collegiate level and eventually, the professional level.

The Spartans tied for the regular season conference title with No. 4 ranked Illinois and were 24-4 heading into March Madness. This was Izzo’s third straight Final Four run and that’s when the nation knew that the Spartans were all business in March — and even into April.

Michigan State headed into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed for the third consecutive campaign and Izzo’s team did not disappoint, going all the way to Minneapolis, Minn., for the Final Four.

The Spartans went through 16-seed Alabama State in round one by a wide margin, earning a date in the round of 32 with Fresno State, a nine-seed. Michigan State grilled the Bulldogs by a solid 16 points and went on to face another double-digit seed, No. 12 Gonzaga, in the Sweet 16.

Not many people gave the Zags a chance to contend with this talented MSU team comprised of two future NBA first-round selections, and that was a smart prediction. The Spartans pounded Gonzaga by 15 points, heading to the Elite Eight and making some serious noise by the margins of victory.

Could the Spartans sneak by yet another Cinderella team, No. 11 Temple, in the Elite Eight to reach the Final Four yet again? The answer was yes and MSU defeated the Owls by a score of 69-62.

It’s too bad that MSU faced a red-hot Arizona team in the national semifinal, losing emphatically, 80-61.

Although the Spartans fell short of the title game for the second time in three years, this team did not disappoint and finished the year about exactly where everyone thought they would at the start of the season, especially after losing two Big Ten first-teamers from the previous year’s national champ team.

Next: 2009 MSU Spartans