Basketball Wiki
Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State Spartans
School Name: Michigan State University
Location: East Lansing, MI
Arena: Breslin Center
Capacity: 14,759
Conference: Big Ten
Head coach: Tom Izzo

The Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team represents Michigan State University (MSU) and competes in the Big Ten Conference of NCAA Division I. The team currently plays at the Breslin Student Events Center. The men's basketball program is considered one of college basketball's elite, an annual NCAA Tournament contender.[1][2][3]

Michigan State men's basketball team has a long history that is rich in tradition. The team has won two NCAA championships and 12 Big Ten championships in men's basketball. The Spartans won the National Championship in both the 1979 NCAA Tournament and 2000 NCAA Tournament. The 1979 National Championship story line was highly touted as Magic vs. Bird. It was achieved by a team under the coaching of Jud Heathcote that included MVP Magic Johnson, Greg Kelser and Jay Vincent. MSU beat the then undefeated Indiana State Sycamores, led by future NBA hall of famer Larry Bird. The 2000 National Championship was achieved by Morris Peterson, A.J. Granger, Charlie Bell, Jason Richardson and MVP Mateen Cleaves leading the team in a victory over the Florida Gators.

Michigan State basketball has been selected for 25 consecutive NCAA tournament bids (1998–2023) as of the end of the 2023 season, which is the second-longest active streak of NCAA tournament bids, behind Kansas (33). Overall, Michigan State has been to the Final Four a total of 10 times in its history (1957, 1979, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2019), which is tied for sixth all time, and has made 36 NCAA Tournament appearances. Only five schools have more total Final Four appearances.[1] The program is also fourth all time in NCAA tournament winning percentage.

On December 13, 2003, Michigan State and Kentucky played at the most-attended college basketball game in history known as the Basketbowl. They played this game in front of 78,129 people at Ford Field, a football stadium converted to a basketball court for this game in Detroit. Kentucky won this game by a score of 79–74.[2]


2011-2012 Coaches

Tom Izzo - Head Coach

Dwayne Stephens - Assistant Coach

Dane Fife - Assistant Coach

Mike Garland - Assistant Coach

Kevin Pauga - Director of Basketball Operations

Jordan Ott - Video Coordinator

Michigan State coaches have led the Spartans to two NCAA Championships, eight Final Fours, 25 NCAA Tournament appearances, 12 Big Ten Conference Championships and two Big Ten Tournament titles. Michigan State has two coaches that are in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (Pete Newell (class of 2006) and Jud Heathcote (class of 2009)). On November 28, 2009 Tom Izzo passed Jud Heathcote's mark of 340 career wins by beating U Mass 106-68. Tom Izzo now leads all MSU basketball coaches in wins.[3]

Of all MSU coaches who have headed the Spartans basketball squad in at least a dozen games, Izzo is second in winning percentage and no MSU coach tops him since 1910. Former coach George E. Denman won all 11 games he coached between 1901–03 and Chester L. Brewer won 70 of 95 games from 1903 to 1910.[3]

Overall Conference
Name Years Record Pct. Record Pct. Note
None established 1898-99 0-2 .000
Charles O. Bemies 1899–1901 5-2 .714 Michigan State's first men's basketball coach.
George E. Denman 1901-03 11-0 1.000 Michigan State's only undefeated men's basketball coach.
Chester L. Brewer 1903-10 70-25 .737
John F. Macklin 1910-16 48-38 .558
George E. Gauthier 1916-20 47-39 .547
Lyman L. Frimodig 1920-22 24-21 .533
Fred H. Walker 1922-24 20-19 .513
John H. Kobs 1924-26 11-26 .297
Benjamin F. VanAlstyne 1926-49 231-163 .586 Avg. final score increased from 28 to 46 during his tenure[4]
Alton S. Kircher 1949-50 4-18 .182
Peter F. Newell 1950-54 45-42 .517 26-34 .433 Went on to win the 1959 NCAA tournament as head coach at Cal; coached the U.S. to the gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics
Forrest A. Anderson 1954-65 125-124 .502 69-85 .448 Guided Michigan State to its first Final Four and NCAA appearance in 1957; 2 NCAA Appearances; 2 Conference Championships
John E. Benington 1965-69 54-38 .587 32-24 .571 Conference Championship in 1967
Gus G. Ganakas 1969-76 89-84 .514 49-57 .462
Jud Heathcote 1976-95 340-220 .607 181-161 .529 1979 NCAA Champs; 9 NCAA Appearances; 3 Conference Championships
Tom Izzo 1995–Present 369-147 .715 174-76 .696 2000 NCAA Champs; 2009 National Runner up, Final Four appearances in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009, and 2010; 14 straight NCAA Tourney Appearances; 6 Conference Championships; 2 Conference Tournament Championships
Total 1,493-1008 .597 531-437 .549

The source of this information is the 2007-08 Michigan State men's basketball media guide.[3]

Jud Heathcote era (1976–1995)[]

Jud Heathcote led the Spartans to the 1979 national championship and coached one of the game's all-time greats, Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Heathcote succeeded Gus Ganakas, who is currently an MSU basketball radio announcer, as coach in 1976. Heathcote stepped down in 1995 with nine NCAA appearances, three Big Ten championships and three NIT appearances.

Results by season under Heathcote:[3]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Michigan State (Big Ten Conference) (1976–1995)
1976–1977 Michigan St. 12-15 9-9 6th
1977–1978 Michigan St. 25-5 15-3 1st NCAA Elite Eight
1978–1979 Michigan St. 26-6 13-5 1st NCAA Champions
1979–1980 Michigan St. 12-15 6-12 8th
1980–1981 Michigan St. 13-14 7-11 8th
1981–1982 Michigan St. 11-17 6-12 T-7th
1982–1983 Michigan St. 17-13 9-9 T-6th NIT Second Round
1983–1984 Michigan St. 16-12 9-9 5th
1984–1985 Michigan St. 19-10 10-8 T-5th NCAA First Round
1985–1986 Michigan St. 23-8 12-6 3rd NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1986–1987 Michigan St. 11-17 6-12 7th
1987-1988 Michigan St. 10-18 5-13 8th
1988-1989 Michigan St. 18-15 6-12 T-8th NIT Final Four
1989-1990 Michigan St. 28-6 15-3 1st NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1990-1991 Michigan St. 19-11 11-7 T-3rd NCAA Second Round
1991-1992 Michigan St. 22-8 11-7 T-3rd NCAA Second Round
1992-1993 Michigan St. 15-13 7-11 T-8th NIT First Round
1993-1994 Michigan St. 20-12 10-8 T-4th NCAA Second Round
1994-1995 Michigan St. 22-6 14-4 2nd NCAA First Round
Michigan St.: 340-220 (.607) 181-161 (.529)
Total: 340-220 (.607)

      National Champion         Conference Regular Season Champion         Conference Tournament Champion
      Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion       Conference Division Champion

Tom Izzo era (1995–present)[]

Since 1995, the team has been coached by Tom Izzo, who has a overall record of 369–147 as head coach at Michigan State.[5] Izzo coached the Spartans to their second national championship in 2000 with an 89–76 victory over Florida. Izzo has guided the Spartans to six of twelve NCAA Final Fours from 1999 to 2010, an accomplishment unmatched by any other college basketball program during that span. The coach has also appeared in a postseason tournament every year he has headed the MSU basketball program.

Izzo has also received numerous awards including the 1998 Associated Press National Coach of the Year, the 1998 Basketball News National Coach of the Year, the 1998 United States Basketball Writers Association Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award, the 1998 Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year, the 1998 Basketball Times Mideast Coach of the Year, the 1999 Basketball News Coach of the Year Award, the 2001 National Association of Basketball Coaches Coach of the Year Award, the 2005 Clair Bee Award[6] and the 2009 Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year.

Izzo has also helped his assistants secure head coaching jobs across the basketball world. Five current Division I head coaches served as assistants under Izzo, including Brian Gregory at Dayton, Tom Crean at Indiana, Stan Heath at South Florida, Jim Boylen at Utah, and Doug Wojcik at Tulsa. Current assistant coach Mike Garland spent three seasons as head coach at Cleveland State following an initial seven-year stint at MSU. Former MSU assistant Stan Joplin had previously coached at Toledo until he was let go following the 2007–08 season.[7]

Results by season under Izzo:[3]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Michigan State (Big Ten Conference) (1995–Current)
1995–1996 Michigan State 16–16 9–9 7th NIT 2nd Round
1996–1997 Michigan State 17–12 9–9 T–6th NIT 2nd Round
1997–1998 Michigan State 22–8 13–3 T–1st NCAA Sweet 16
1998–1999 Michigan State 33–5 15–1 1st NCAA Final Four
1999–2000 Michigan State 32–7 13–3 T–1st NCAA Champions
2000–2001 Michigan State 28–5 13–3 T–1st NCAA Final Four
2001–2002 Michigan State 19–12 10–6 5th NCAA 1st Round
2002–2003 Michigan State 22–13 10–6 T–3rd NCAA Elite Eight
2003–2004 Michigan State 18–12 12–4 T–2nd NCAA 1st Round
2004–2005 Michigan State 26–7 13–3 2nd NCAA Final Four
2005–2006 Michigan State 22–12 8–8 T–6th NCAA 1st Round
2006–2007 Michigan State 23–12 8–8 T–7th NCAA 2nd Round
2007–2008 Michigan State 27–9 12–6 4th NCAA Sweet 16
2008–2009 Michigan State 31–7 15–3 1st NCAA Runner-Up
2009–2010 Michigan State 28-9 14-4 T-1st NCAA Final Four
2010–2011 Michigan State 19-15 9-9 T-4th NCAA First Round
Michigan State: 372–151 177–80
Total: 372–151

      National Champion         Conference Regular Season Champion         Conference Tournament Champion
      Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion       Conference Division Champion


Retired basketball jerseys
Number Player Years
4 Scott Skiles 1982–1986
12 Mateen Cleaves 1996–2000
21 Steve Smith 1987–1991
24 Johnny Green 1955–1958
24 Shawn Respert 1991–1995
31 Jay Vincent 1978–1981
32 Greg Kelser 1976–1979
33 Earvin "Magic" Johnson 1977–1979
42 Morris Peterson 1995–2000
Coach Jud Heathcote 1976–1995

Spartans formerly or currently in the NBA include Kalin_Lucas, Maurice Ager, Alan Anderson, Charlie Bell, Shannon Brown, Mateen Cleaves, Erazem Lorbek, Paul Davis, Terry Furlow, Jamie Feick, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Greg Kelser, Drew Naymick[8] Morris Peterson, Zach Randolph, Shawn Respert, Jason Richardson, Scott Skiles, Steve Smith, Eric Snow, Sam Vincent, Jay Vincent, Kevin Willis, and Draymond Green . Former Spartan Robin Roberts played Major League Baseball and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Johnny Green, Greg Kelser, Magic Johnson, Jay Vincent, Scott Skiles, Steve Smith, Shawn Respert, Morris Peterson, and Mateen Cleaves are all former student athletes who have had their jersey number retired by Michigan State. The school also has raised a banner to the rafters honoring former coach Jud Heathcote.[9]

2012-2013 Roster[]

No. Name Ht. Wt. Pos. Year Hometown/High School
11 Appling, Keith 6-1 190 G JR Detroit, Mich./Pershing
0 Byrd, Russell 6-7 205 G RS SO Fort Wayne, Ind./Blackhawk Christian
40 Chapman, Dan 6-3 190 G JR Okemos, Mich./Okemos
10 Costello, Matt 6-9 245 F FR Bay City, Mich./Bay City Western
22 Dawson, Branden 6-6 230 G SO Gary, Ind./Lew Wallace
2 Gauna, Alex 6-9 245 F RS SO Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids
14 Harris, Gary 6-4 205 G FR Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern
30 Kaminski, Kenny 6-8 240 F FR Medina, Ohio/Medina
3 Kearney, Brandan 6-5 190 G SO Detroit, Mich./Southeastern
25 Nix, Derrick 6-9 270 C SR Detroit, Mich./Pershing
5 Payne, Adreian 6-10 240 C JR Dayton, Ohio/Jefferson Township
20 Trice, Travis 6-0 170 G SO Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne
45 Valentine, Denzel 6-5 220 G FR Lansing, Mich./Sexton
15 Wetzel, Keenan 6-4 200 G RS SO Monroe, Mich./St. Mary Catholic Central
41 Wollenman, Colby 6-7 225 F SO Big Horn, Wyo./Big Horn

Postseason history[]

The Spartans have appeared in 24 NCAA men's basketball tournaments with 2 NCAA men's basketball national championships. They also count 8 Final Fours and sport a 52-22 all-time NCAA tournament record following their most recent performance the 2010 NCAA tournament. Michigan State has been in the Sweet Sixteen 9 of the last 13 years. Michigan St. has outperformed their tournament seed more than any other team in Division I basketball. Only Duke has more appearances. They also have appeared in 7 of the last 12 Elite Eights. As well, 6 of the last 12 Final Fours, in which no other team has accomplished this mark.[10] MSU has accepted a bid to the National Invitation Tournament five times, the most recent being in 1997.[11]

National championships[]

1979 NCAA Tournament Results[12]
Round Opponent Score
Round #1 Bye
Round #2 # 10 Lamar 95-64
Sweet 16 # 3 LSU 87-71
Elite 8 # 1 Notre Dame 80-68
Final 4 # 9 Penn 101-67
Championship # 1 Indiana State 75-64
2000 NCAA Tournament Results[13]
Round Opponent Score
Round #1 # 16 Valparaiso 65-38
Round #2 # 8 Utah 73-61
Sweet 16 # 4 Syracuse 75-58
Elite 8 # 2 Iowa State 75-64
Final 4 # 8 Wisconsin 53-41
Championship # 5 Florida 89-76

NCAA Tournament history & seeds[]

The NCAA began seeding the tournament with the 1979 edition.

Years → '79 '85 '86 '90 '91 '92 '94 '95 '98 '99 '00 '01 '02 '03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '08 '09 '10 '11
Seeds → 2 10 5 1 5 5 7 3 4 1 1 1 10 7 7 5 6 9 5 2 5 10

Prior to seeding MSU appeared in the 1957, 1959 and 1978 NCAA Tournaments.[14]

National Invitation Tournament appearances[]

The Spartans have played in the 1983, 1989, 1993, 1996 and 1997 NIT Tournaments. MSU's highest finish in the tournament is fourth place, which was accomplished in 1989.[11]


Tom Izzo's teams have worn five different styles of jerseys during his fifteen years at Michigan State.

The current home jersey, introduced as part of a rebranding effort by the athletic department in April 2010, is white with green uniform numbers and a green custom font "SPARTANS" across the chest.[15] The road jersey is green with white uniform numbers and a white custom font "SPARTANS" across the chest.[15] The Spartans do not currently wear an official alternate uniform but the team has worn a silver alternate and a 1979 throwback uniform in the past.

Nike, Inc. started making jerseys for the team at the start of the 2000-01 season.

Home court[]

The Spartans play home games at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center on campus in East Lansing, Michigan. The arena is commonly referred to as "the Breslin" and "the Bres", and was opened in 1989. It is named for Jack Breslin, an MSU alumnus, former athlete and administrator, who first began pushing for the arena in 1969. Its capacity is 16,280 seats, and the stadium superseded Jenison Fieldhouse.

The arena's current basketball court is the same floor where the Spartans won the 2000 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, which was at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. The school purchased the floor from the NCAA and Final Four floor installer Horner Flooring after the title game. A plaque was installed on the baseline near the Michigan State tunnel to commemorate the floor's purpose in the school's history.[16]

The Breslin Center is home to the Izzone, a large student section named after Coach Izzo, the basketball team's head coach since 1995. The student section had been named Spartan Spirits prior to Izzo's prominence at the school. The Izzone routinely gets mentioned in discussions of the nation's top student fan sections. The Izzone was mentioned as the 3rd best in the land[17] The section helped cheer the Spartans to a 53-game home win streak between 1998 and 2002 and also a 28 game winning streak from 2007 and 2009.[18]

See Also[]

Notes and references[]

  1. NCAA Men's Division I Final Four appearances by school
  2. MSU Men's Basketball Falls To No. 8 Kentucky, 79-74.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Michigan State Michigan State University Spartans, Official Athletic Site - Michigan State
  4. Template:Cite book
  5. MSU Player Bio: Tom Izzo.
  6. Men's Basketball Returns To Action Against The Citadel :: Spartans look for third victory in five days
  7. Player Bio: Tom Izzo :: Men's Basketball
  8. Drew Naymick - a Laker - LSJ Blogs: Hey, Joe
  9. Cleaves Gets Emotional As Michigan State Retires His Jersey :: Former Spartan All-American honored in pre-game ceremony
  10. Michigan State Spartans Overview - Basketball State
  11. 11.0 11.1 NIT - National Invitation Tournament
  12. 2008 College Basketball Tournament Brackets -
  13. 2008 College Basketball Tournament Brackets -
  14. NCAA Basketball -
  15. 15.0 15.1 Photo Gallery
  16. Ramsey, Ethan (2005-03-29). "Champs given shot to purchase Final Four court". The Daily Orange. Retrieved 2008-01-28.  Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Category handler/data' not found.Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Category handler/data' not found.[dead link]
  17. " - Best Student Sections - Feb 22, 2006". CNN. February 22, 2006. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  18. ESPN - Michigan State vs. Wisconsin - Recap - January 16, 2005

External Links[]