EAST LANSING - With three talented freshman and a senior all-america candidate returning, most people thought Michigan State would have a successful basketball season.
But what is success?
After failing to win either a Big Ten basketball title or a Big Ten Tournament crown, some pundits said Michigan State was "not an elite team" and was a "disappointment."
That all proved to be short-sighted as Tom Izzo had his team prepped for yet another NCAA tournament run. Michigan State now heads to their 7th Sweet Sixteen appearance in 11 seasons under Izzo, but is that enough?
There is no question that MSU fans have become accustomed, if not spoiled, by MSU success on the hardwoods.
So the question arises, is a Sweet Sixteen appearance a measure of success or does MSU need to move past #1 Memphis tonight (9:57 EST, Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX CBS television) and into the Elite Eight or do MSU fans demand nothing less than a Final Four appearance?
The simple fact that MSU has been to seven of these Sweet Sixteen's means that it is, almost expected, for them to be here. This is the the benchmark for the Spartans.
For this to be a truly special season, they must get to a Final Four, but anything more, after tonight's game, is a success.
If the Spartans succeed in knocking off a top seed like Memphis, then Izzo and his crew must be celebrated. Celebrating getting to the Sweet Sixteen might work at another school, but this is Michigan State.
At an elite program, like North Carolina, UCLA, Louisville and yes, Michigan State, Sweet Sixteens are the benchmark.
If the Spartans want to truly mark their season as a success, they need a win tonight.
Here's believing they'll get it.
Must Win vs Memphis for Successful Season?
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