March Madness 2023: Michigan State tops No. 2 seed Marquette, gets back to Sweet 16 for first time since 2019


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Mr. March has done it again. Tom Izzo, the Hall of Fame coach for Michigan State, led the No. 7 seed  Spartans to another Sweet 16 appearance in wiping out No. 2 seed Marquette 69-60 in the second round on Sunday to clinch his 15th career appearance in the NCAA Tournament‘s second weekend. The Spartans were 3.5-point underdogs but led for the majority of the game in a coaching clinic on both ends of the floor.

Izzo and Michigan State have become synonymous with success in college basketball as one of the best coach-program pairings in the history of the sport, but of late it has not come easy in East Lansing, Michigan. Sparty finished at least 3.5 games out of first-place in the Big Ten each of the last three seasons and failed to reach the second weekend of the Big Dance in each of the last two NCAA Tournaments. The win gave them their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2019, when that year it advanced to the Final Four as a No. 2 seed.    

Marquette entered the game with a top-10 offense across efficiency ratings but was unable to fend off Michigan State’s aggressive and efficient attack in the interior. The Spartans doubled up the Golden Eagles in paint points 32-16 and sank 19 of their 23 free throws to help overcome a 2-for-16 shooting showing from 3-point range.

“It’s been a long year,” Izzo said on CBS as he fought back tears. “Really proud of those guys. They hung in there. We just finally made some plays, you know. Our defense got a little better again. I’m just so happy for my guys.”

Marquette drained 11 of its 27 3-point attempts but star guard Tyler Kolek, the Big East Player of the Year who has been nursing a thumb injury, could not drag the team out of its late deficit. Kolek finished with 7 points on 2-of-8 shooting, with six of those points coming on two made 3-point baskets in the second half. 

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