MBB: SI Declares Michigan State Best School of the Decade

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In a recent article outlining the highlights and lowlights of the decade, Sports Illustrated dubbed Michigan State the best program to hit the hardwood in the past ten seasons. Sparty edged the likes of North Carolina and Florida, despite the fact that each school captured two national titles during that stretch. Among MSU's exploits are a national championship (in 2000) and four final four appearances. But with so many other strong candidates Chomping at their Heels, it was consistency that ultimately propelled the Spartans to the top of the list as Michigan State earned a spot in the NCAA tournament every year this decade.

So what is the secret behind their success? The answer lies in a head mentor who knows what it takes to keep his stalwart players from forsaking education for an early shot at the pros. In his 15th year at the helm in East Lansing, head coach Tom Izzo has guided each of his recruited four-year players to a Final Four appearance, including five in the last 11 seasons and most recently in 2009 when the Spartans advanced to the national championship final. Of course winning doesn't hurt, but it is this "remarkable achievement" that positioned MSU at the top. Naturally, the article goes on to list other outstanding achievements, including best player, best coach and most outstanding performances from the decade. But there can only be one best program. One best definition of what encapsulates a team. And the winner is .... Sparty.

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