If you take a glance into more recent history, say 1998 and beyond, it's very difficult to find many teams with a better track of record of success in the NCAA Tournament than the Michigan State Spartans have.
In the history of their program, they have reached the NCAA Tournament 30 times, including 19 consecutive appearances in the "Big Dance".
Let's take a look at some of the history that the Spartans have managed to put together around their program.
Very Old History: (1957-1979)
The Michigan State Spartans made their first of their 30 appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 1957, under head coach Forrest Anderson. The Spartans weren't satisfied with just an appearance, they made a run to the Final Four that year (though only 23 teams played in the tournament at that time).
That year, they lost to eventual champion North Carolina in the Final Four game and then lost a Third place game to the University of San Francisco.
The Spartans made tournament appearances in 1959 and 1978 as well, but neither of those years are remembered quite the way 1979 is remembered.
The head coach of the Spartans was Jud Heathcote, and the star of the show was one of the all-time greats: Earvin "Magic" Johnson. The Spartans were a national powerhouse and eventually met undefeated Indiana State and their leader, none other than Larry Bird.
Sparty got the best of the Sycamores, led by a 24 point, 7 rebound and 5 assist performance from Magic Johnson. It's still one of the most remembered games in the history of the sport, and it capped off the first run to the National Championship for the Spartans.
Old History: (1980-1995)
After the Magic Johnson era, the Spartans struggled to reach the same pinnacle of success that they had while he was there, understandably so. Jud Heathcote managed to coach the Spartans to 7 more NCAA appearances, advancing as far as the Sweet Sixteen in both 1986 and 1990.
While they enjoyed a decent amount of success following Magic, they never reached another Elite Eight under Heathcote, and he stepped down as the head basketball coach following the 1995 season.
Recent History: (1995-present)
Enter Tom Izzo. Mr. March. One of the best to ever stalk the sideline.
Since Tom Izzo took over as the head basketball coach, the Spartans have only missed the NCAA Tournament twice. It just so happened that those two occasions were his first two years in East Lansing.
After falling short of making the field in 1996 and 1997, the Spartans started what is one of the longest consecutive tournament appearance streaks in the NCAA right now.
Making 19 consecutive NCAA appearances and reaching the Final Four in seven of those seasons has earned Tom Izzo a reputation of greatness. For a long period, it seemed like the sure fire way to play in a Final Four was to find your way to East Lansing and stay for even just a couple of years.
For the last decade and a half, Michigan State has had nearly everyone's number in March and April. They won the National Championship in 2000, beating Florida 89-76 behind Morris Peterson's 31 points. In 2009, they fell just short of winning a third National Title, losing to North Carolina in the National Championship game.
The Spartans are fresh off of a Final Four appearance just a year ago, although a loss to eventual champion Duke left a sour taste in their mouth. You can be certain the Izzo and Denzel Valentine both will be looking to avenge the sour taste of defeat and add another championship to a storied history.