Location: East Lansing, MI
Conference: Big 10
Coach: Tom Izzo
Record: 23-10 (12-6 Big 10)
Kenpom ranking: 17
Good wins (Kenpom ranking): Ohio State (20), Maryland (33)
Bad losses (Kenpom ranking): Texas Southern (204), Nebraska (132).
Tournament appearances: 29
Best result: Champions (1979, 2000)
NBA alumni: Magic Johnson, Steve Smith, Zach Randolph, Jason Richardson
Best name: Lourawis "Turn Turn" Nairn Jr.
Famous alumni: Magic Johnson, Dan Gilbert, Robert Urich
It's not that Tom Izzo's squads fool around before March -- if anything, Izzo has a reputation for taking everything seriously, even berating DII teams for not playing hard in exhibition games against MSU. But the Spartans always seem to turn from good to great -- making the Final Four as a No. 5 seed, making the Elite Eight as a No. 4 seed, etc.
Style of play: That is your profession
The impressive thing about Michigan State is that nobody tries to do things they really shouldn't try to do. Only three players are good outside shooters; they are the only players who attempt threes regularly. Most players can't create their own shot, so they don't try if they can't, and the Spartans have the fifth highest assist-to-field goal rate in the country. That's how they have one of the top-15 most efficient offenses in the country.
Key player: My funny Valentine
Junior Denzel Valentine chips in all over for the Spartans -- the 6'5 wing from Lansing is second on the team in points, rebounds and assists. He hits threes at a 41 percent clip and when he drives he's too big for small guards to stop and too fast for big forwards to stop. Because there is a higher deity who looks out for headline writers, Valentine hit a game-winning three on Feb. 14.
Tom Izzo's talents extend beyond coaching -- every once in a while, he decides to bust out his accordion skills. It happens every Christmas, when he stops his radio show to sing "Jingle Bells," but this year it also happened when he joined a KISS cover band at MSU's Midnight Madness, dressed in full KISS garb. Sadly, we couldn't really hear his accordion over, you know, the guitars.