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

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Mar 20, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo during the first half agains the Georgia Bulldogs in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

4. 2005 Michigan State Spartans (26-7)

Ah yes, the first Final Four Michigan State team under Tom Izzo that didn’t end up winning the Big Ten title or earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Although the Spartans had a successful 2005 regular season, they finished 22-6 and in second place in the conference standings.

Both Alan Anderson and Maurice Ager won Big Ten second team honors during the regular season even though this team was stacked with talent. Drew Neitzel and Goran Suton were buried on the bench while Paul Davis, Ager and Shannon Brown – all future first-round NBA picks – led the way. Former Mr. Basketball in the state of Michigan and senior Kelvin Torbert also added some star power to this year’s squad.

The Spartans cruised into the Tournament as a No. 5 seed, one of Izzo’s lowest, setting up a tough 5/12 matchup with Old Dominion in the round of 64. Michigan State won a barn-burner, 89-81, however. Vermont was the next team on the schedule and MSU had no problem with this team, tossing them aside for a double-digit victory and a date with No. 1 seed Duke in the Sweet 16.

Izzo’s teams were known for never backing down against a top opponent and Duke was that team. The Spartans were serious underdogs, but came out on top of the Blue Devils, 78-68, and earned the right to be crowned South Region champs over No. 2 seed Kentucky in the Elite Eight.

Michigan State and Kentucky battled in an instant classic as the Spartans prevailed, 94-88 after going down to the wire.

North Carolina awaited the Spartans in the national semifinal and ended the Spartans season there. This team made an extremely impressive run as a five-seed and became Izzo’s lowest seeded team to make the Final Four, at the time.

Next: 2000 MSU Spartans