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March 26, 2009 AT 10:00 AM
Greatest NCAA College Basketball Programs of All Time: Michigan State Spartans With ten regular season Big-Ten Championships, six Final Four appearances and two national championships, including three straight from 99 to 2001, the Michigan State Spartans have been a strong force in college basketball dating way back. With big names like Magic Johnson and Mateen Cleaves, who each respectively carried their team to the NCAA title, the Spartans have appeared in 23 NCAA tournaments, which places them ninth in college basketball as of 2007. Arguably the most famous game the Spartan squad has appeared in was the 1979 NCAA Final versus the Indiana State Sycamores, or simply called â€œMagic vs. Bird.â€ The fresh rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird began that night where Magic and his Spartans prevailed over the undefeated Sycamores 75 to 64. In 2000, under Tom Izzo, the Spartan squad won their second championship, this time against the Florida Gators. Mateen Cleaves followed Magic Johnsonâ€™s lead being named the Most Outstanding Player for the tournament. As of 2007, five former players have had their jerseys retired along with Cleaves and Johnson. From 2000-2007, Michigan State was, in fact, tied with North Carolina having the most first round NBA draft selections coming from their program at six.