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Coolest MSU basketball events under Tom Izzo

The doubleheader at Little Caesars Arena is just one of many awesome events held under Izzo

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Michigan State vs St. John's
“Are you not entertained?!”
Actually, yes. Yes we are.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, this doubleheader at Little Caesars Arena is pretty cool!

However, as Spartan fans are used to hearing about sweet events at this point.

Under Tom Izzo, the Spartans have been around the world – literally – taking on some of college basketball’s most historical events.

The newest doubleheader tips off on Dec. 16, so that gives you plenty of time to read and look back on some of the most memorable MSU events in the Tom Izzo era.

Final Fours


Always good to remind people about that. Alright, I got that out of me.

Michigan State v Louisville Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Hot and cold tournaments

Let’s knock a few a few out right here.

MSU has chased sunburns in the Maui Classic three times under Izzo (1995, 2005, 2010), Battle For Atlantis and also kicked off the 2000 national title season in the Puerto Rico Classic. They also hung out in cooler weather in 2002, taking on the Iditarod Great Alaska Shootout.

MSU tops the Globetrotters

Yes, that actually happened.

In November 2000, the Spartans laughed in the face of the Globetrotters 1,270-game win streak and snapped it with a 72-68 win. Zach Randolph – a freshman back in the day – led the Spartans with 17 points and zero buckets of confetti tossed into the stands.


What’s the coolest event MSU has been part of under Izzo?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Seven Final Fours
    (111 votes)
  • 0%
    Hot and cold tournaments
    (1 vote)
  • 6%
    MSU vs. Harlem Globetrotters
    (22 votes)
  • 1%
    Basketbowl at Ford Field
    (5 votes)
  • 50%
    Carrier Classic
    (171 votes)
  • 1%
    Armed Forces Classic in Germany
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Italy trip in 2015
    (3 votes)
  • 3%
    Champions Classic
    (11 votes)
  • 0%
    PK-80 Tournament
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Doubleheader at Little Caesars Arena
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    MSU returns to Jenison Fieldhouse
    (9 votes)
342 votes total Vote Now

Basketbowl in front of 78,000

A regular season game in front of more than 78,000 people? Unthinkable until Ford Field held the stage for Kentucky vs. MSU in 2003, which the Wildcats won 79-74.

Right now it’s crazy to think that basketball in a football arena was, well, a crazy thought.

Quicken Loans Carrier Classic - North Carolina v Michigan State Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Carrier Classic

That aircraft carrier North Korea just threatened to blow up?

Yeah, a regular season basketball game was played there between MSU and North Carolina just six years ago. Iconic basketball game one day, gearing up for the possible brink of war a few years later. Life goes by too fast.

Armed Forces Classic in Germany

Not the outcome the Spartans were hoping for against UConn, but playing in front of military families in Germany is one event not a ton of college kids can say they’ve done.

Izzo has shown that he’s down to support the troops, and that sounds like a good group of people to side with.

MSU returns to Jenison Fieldhouse

The Spartans turned back the clock with a game at Magic Johnson’s old stomping grounds, taking on Tuskegee University in 2012. We love Jenison, but it’s nice to see these home games played at Breslin.

Italy with Izzo

To kick off the 2015-16 campaign the Spartans played the Russian, Italian and Georgian senior teams and, most importantly, got this picture out of it. Now THAT’S a preseason trip.

State Farm Champions Classic Kansas v Michgan State Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Champions Classic

Since 2011 the Spartans have played in one of the most prestigious events with Kansas, Kentucky and Duke.

MSU – who is 3-3 in the Classic – has played in some phenomenal games, including a 1 vs. 2 game in 2013 and “The Matt McQuaid Game” in 2015 when the Spartans beat Kansas.


The Phil Knight Invitational will have 16 of Nike’s best teams out in Portland in late November to battle in honor of the Nike billionaire’s birthday. All 15 teams that lose in the tournament have to abandoned their Nikes and wear Steph Curry’s shoes the entire season*.

*May be a lie