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Spartans Face Virginia In Sweet 16

March 28, 2014


4 Michigan State (28-8, 12-6 Big Ten) vs. #1 Virginia (30-6, 16-2)
 Date Friday, March 28, 2014
 Time 9:57 p.m. ET
 Location New York, N.Y. | Madison Square Garden
 Television TBS (Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery, Allie LaForce)
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)
 Game Notes Michigan State | Virginia
 Statistics  Michigan State | Virginia
 Pre-Game Coverage  NCAA Central | Izzo excited to coach against UVA
 Social Media @MSU_Basketball   |  Facebook

Making its 12th trip to the Sweet 16 in the last 17 seasons, and its sixth in the last seven years, Michigan State will face No. 1 seed Virginia in the regional semifinals on Friday night. For the Spartans, this is their third trip to New York this season, having played in Brooklyn in November and at Madison Square Garden in February.

1. Spartans In The Sweet 16

This is MSU's 14th trip to the Sweet 16 since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, including the 12th under Tom Izzo. Michigan State is 7-6 in Sweet 16 games since 1985, having won seven of its last 10. All-time, MSU is 11-6 in the regional semifinals. Tom Izzois 7-4 in the Sweet 16.

2. Twelve Sweet 16s In 17 Years
Since Michigan State's first trip to the NCAA Tournament under Tom Izzoin 1998, the Spartans have advanced to the Sweet 16 12 times in the last 17 years. During that same stretch, only Duke has more Sweet 16 appearances (13), while Kansas ranks third with 10 trips. MSU's six trips to the Sweet 16 in the last seven years are the most in the nation.

3. Dawson's Return Impacts Spartan Shooting
Since Branden Dawsonreturned to the starting lineup on March 6, MSU is shooting .507, shooting 50 percent or better in four of seven games, and 45 percent or better in six of seven contests. Over its last four games, MSU is shooting .523. Over the last seven games, Dawson is shooting .683 (43-63) from the field, including .763 (29-38) in the last four contests.

4. Spartan Defense
Michigan State is holding opponents to .400 shooting from the floor, ranking first in the Big Ten and 26th in the nation (NCAA stats through March 23), including .335 from 3-point range, ranking eighth in the conference. In conference games, MSU ranked first in blocks (5.0 bpg), fourth in field-goal percentage defense (.419), and fifth in steals (6.7 spg) and scoring defense (66.2 ppg). In five postseason games, MSU is holding opponents to 66.4 points on .386 shooting (.351 from 3-point range), after allowing 71.2 points on .480 shooting from the field, including .420 from 3-point range, in the previous five games. NCAA Tournament opponents are averaging 75.5 points, but are shooting just .389 from the field (.378 from 3-point range).

5. MSU's NCAA Streak
Michigan State is making its 17th straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014. It is the longest current streak among Big Ten schools and third longest in the nation. Only Kansas (25) and Duke (19) have longer current streaks. In fact, it is the fifth-longest of all-time. MSU's streal is the second-longest streak in Big Ten history. Indiana appeared in 18 consecutive tournaments between 1986 and 2003.

Spartan Opponents In NCAA Tournament

Ten Michigan State opponents made the field of 68 for the 2014 NCAA Tournament, including Big Ten foes Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin, and non-conference opponents Kentucky, Oklahoma, Mount St. Mary's, North Carolina and Texas. Three of those opponents are still alive in the Sweet 16. The Spartans were a combined 9-6 against the 10 teams entering the tournament, playing 15 of their 34 regular-season games against tournament teams. What's more impressive is that five of those 10 opponents earned a Top 6 seed. MSU played a combined nine games against the Top 6 seeds, posting a 4-5 record.

MSU In The NCAA Tournament
Michigan State is making its 28th appearance in the NCAA Tournament with a record of 58-26 (.690) in tournament play. MSU has made eight trips to the Final Four (1957, 1979, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2010) and captured the NCAA Championship in 1979 and 2000.

At His Best When It Counts
Tom Izzoranks seventh among active coaches for the best NCAA Tournament winning percentage at .732 (41-15). Duke's Mike Krzyzewski ranks first at .759 (82-26), followed by Louisville's Rick Pitino (.758, 50-16), Florida's Billy Donovan (.750, 33-11), North Carolina's Roy Williams (.741, 63-22), Kentucky's John Calipari (.738, 31-11), and SMU's Larry Brown (.737, 14-5). Of those seven, Izzo and Krzyzewski are the only coaches to appear in the last 17 NCAA Tournaments. In NCAA Tournament wins, Izzo (41) ranks fifth among active coaches, trailing just Krzyzewski (82), Williams (63), Syracuse's Jim Boeheim (53) and Louisville's Rick Pitino (50).

Izzo's NCAA Streak
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzois making his 17th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. It's the second-longest active streak in the nation, trailing only Mike Krzyzewski, who made his 19th consecutive trip this season. The 17-year streak is the longest in Big Ten history by a head coach (15, Bobby Knight, Indiana, 1986-2000).

Big Ten Conference In The NCAA Tournament
The Big Ten Conference had six of its 12 schools make the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Joining the Spartans were No. 2 Michigan, No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 6 Ohio State, No. 11 Iowa, and No. 11 Nebraska. MSU is joined by the Wolverines and Badgers in the Sweet 16, as the Big Ten, SEC (Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee) and Pac-12 (Arizona, Stanford, UCLA) lead all conferences with three teams in the regional semifinals.

Exclusive Company
Michigan State ranks seventh among all schools in NCAA Tournament winning percentage for teams with at least 20 tournament games. MSU's .690 winning percentage (58-26) trails only Duke (.744, 99-34), UCLA (.729, 97-36), Florida (.725, 37-14), North Carolina (.719, 110-43), Kentucky (.711, 113-46), and Kansas (.696, 96-42). MSU's 58 tournament wins rank ninth in NCAA history and second among Big Ten schools, behind Indiana (64). Syracuse is just ahead of MSU with 61 tournament wins.

MSU In The Elite Eight
Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, Michigan State has advanced to the Elite Eight seven times (all under Tom Izzo), posting a 6-1 record. MSU is 8-3 all-time in a regional final.

Quick Turnaround Success
Michigan State's deep NCAA Tournament runs can be attributed to its success with quick turnarounds. Under Tom Izzo, the Spartans are a remarkable 19-3 in the second game of an NCAA Tournament weekend. All three losses have come to No. 1 seeds.

Two Titles Not Too Shabby
Michigan State is one of just 14 schools to have won two or more NCAA Championships. Cincinnati, Florida, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State and San Francisco join MSU with two titles. Only UCLA (11), Kentucky (8), Indiana (5), North Carolina (5), Duke (4), Connecticut (3), Kansas (3) and Louisville (3) have won more titles.

About Virginia

Top-seeded Virginia defeated No. 16-seed Coastal Carolina in the second round, 70-59, and eighth-seeded Memphis in the third round, 78-60, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1995. The Cavaliers went 16-2 in ACC play to win their sixth (second outright) ACC regular-season title and second ACC Tournament championship.

Virginia vs. The Field of 68
The Cavaliers are 6-4 against teams in this year's NCAA Tournament. Virginia went 0-3 against non-conference teams in the field, including losses to Virginia Commonwealth, Wisconsin and Tennessee. In ACC play, Virginia defeated Pittsburgh twice, split with Duke, and recorded victories over N.C. State, North Carolina and Syracuse.

Common Opponents
Michigan State and Virginia played two common opponents this season. MSU split the series with Wisconsin, losing in Madison and winning in the Big Ten Tournament, while the Cavaliers lost to the Badgers in Charlottesville. Virginia defeated North Carolina at home, while the Tar Heels handed the Spartans their first loss of the season at the Breslin Center.

Series History
The Spartans own a 3-0 all-time record over Virginia. The last meeting between the two teams ended in a 82-75 win for MSU in East Lansing in 2002. Michigan State won the first-ever matchup, a 51-46 victory for the Spartans on Feb. 11, 1947, at Jenison Field House. The two teams were scheduled to play in the 2001 Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Richmond, Va., but the game was called due to unplayable wet floor conditions.

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