EAST LANSING – When Michigan State went to three straight Final Fours from 1999-2001 in the first six years of Tom Izzo's main coaching career, Izzo admitted that it gave his opinion a little on the NCAA tournament.
"I was probably a little spoiled," Izzo recorded Monday during a conference call.
Almost two decades later, his perspective on the last four has changed as he heads for his eighth career appearance in the weekend in Minneapolis.
In Time since the early three years, Izzo has been in the last four Final Fours, making him one of the sport's most successful coaches on the way.
But last time he also had lots of season where a Final Four seemed within reach, then threw away.
Izzo's 2015 flock made Final Four as a Cinderella No. 7 seeds before being eliminated by Duke. But it was sandwiched in the middle of eight years with mostly strong teams that couldn't make it to college basketball's promised land.
These exits strengthened the truth about the tournament: being a good team is not enough in this tournament. A good drawing and a little luck also helps.
"I don't think it humiliated us because I don't think I've ever taken it for granted," Izzo said. "But I think it teaches you that it's not just about being really good."
These exits formed the backdrop to this year's tournament run, as the Spartans took another fighting team in March Madness with a No. 2 seed after winning both major ten regular seasons and conference tournament titles.
But this year, the Spartans interrupted No. 1 parenting cloth in Elite Eight with an exciting finish – including a Kenny Goin's 3-pointer with 34 seconds to return to the Final Four.
So, as Izzo returns to college basketball's biggest scene, he does it with more appreciation for the difficulties of getting there.
"I think it makes you realize where we are now even more and I think every program would do it," Izzo said.
Now at the age of 64 and with a spot of Basketball Hall of Fame, he said he is approaching this tournament with a question: "I look at it now as who knows if you ever come back?" 19659002] It gives a feeling of urgenc y. In his eighth round, Izzo said he would change his approach this time.
"I'll try to win this time," Izzo said. "I don't know if I've done good with it."