We are now midway through the third week of March, and for sports fans this means one thing: let the madness begin. The month of March is unpredictable. If it wasn't, then there would be no point in ranking anyone after the overall No. 1 seed has been named. Teams that dominated during the regular season can have one bad game ruin their chances of a national championship, while a few-game hot streak can put a team that may have struggled in the regular season as a surprise Final Four team. A coach can prepare his team as much as possible, but there is never a true telling as to which teams are going to show up when it comes time to step up on the big stage. Some teams are consistent contenders when it comes time for the tournament, not matter what kind of resume they built during the regular season. For others, they have yet to find the answer to what needs to happen in order to get their one shining moment.
Michigan State has proven to be a consistent contender in the Tournament. In its 28 trips to the Big Dance, they have sustained a 59-27 record, while making it to the round of 32 all but six times. Since Tom Izzo took over as head coach in 1995, the Spartans have only missed the tournament twice: 1996 and 1997.
Last year, No. 4 Michigan State lost in the Elite 8 to the eventual champion UConn Huskies. The Spartans easily passed through their opening round matchup with No. 13 Delaware, defeating the Blue Hens 93-78. In the round of 32, Tom Izzo's team benefitted from No. 12 Harvard's defeat of No. 5 VCU and defeated the Crimson by seven.
The big test for the Spartans came against No. 1 Virginia. Going into the game, Virginia had shot 45.7 percent in the 2014 regular season and 54.3 in the Cavaliers previous two NCAA tournament games. Michigan State held them to just 35.1 percent shooting 20-57. The Spartans shot 44.7 percent from the field and were able to come back from a 30-7 Cavalier run to start the second half. The 61-59 Michigan State win contributed to the team's eighth trip to the regional finals since 1999.
After the 60-54 loss to UConn, the Spartans have a 6-2 record in the Elite 8, and in 2000 they went on to win it all.
Michigan State was not as successful in 2013; however, they still had a banner season. The No. 3 Spartans lost in the Sweet 16 by ten to No. 2 Duke.
Even though Michigan State is heading into the 2015 NCAA Tournament as a seventh seed, do not count the Spartans out for a tournament run. Tom Izzo knows how to coach in the tournament, and he has proven that with his consistent success on the big stage. Much of the NCAA Tournament cannot be predicted. But there is one thing to bet on: chances are there will be a glimmer of green and white floating through the bracket no matter what teams they may face.