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Talented Spartans couldn't repeat title in '01

April 1, 2009

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a four-day series profiling Tom Izzo’s Final Four teams.

After its 2000 National Championship, the MSU men’s basketball team lost Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson and A.J. Granger.

Luckily for head coach Tom Izzo, the Spartans had Charlie Bell, Andre Hudson and Jason Richardson coming back, along with two dynamite freshmen in Marcus Taylor and Zach Randolph.

The Spartans finished 13-3 in the Big Ten to win their fourth straight Big Ten Championship.

The Spartans lost to Penn State 65-63 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament but still managed to secure their third-straight No. 1 seed.

The Spartans began the tournament by dismantling Alabama State 69-35 in the first round and then beating Fresno State.

In the Sweet 16, the Spartans defeated No. 12-seed Gonzaga by 15 points. In the Elite Eight, David Thomas scored 19 points to lead MSU past Temple. Thomas was named to the All-South Regional Team, while Charlie Bell was named as the South’s Most Outstanding Player.

With a potential to repeat on the line, the Spartans ran into a hot Arizona team at the Final Four in Minneapolis.

Arizona was up just two at halftime, but outscored MSU by 17 in the second half to win 80-61, as all five of its players scored in double figures.

MSU’s roster was decimated in the offseason. Not only did they lose Bell and Hutson to graduation, but both Richardson, a sophomore, and Randolph, a freshman, declared early.

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