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Top 10 win vs. Illinois puts Michigan State basketball in elite company

MSU is a Goliath-beating machine.

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Michigan State basketball
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

After beating No. 10 Illinois, Michigan State basketball is now in elite company since the 1995-96 season.

The Breslin Center was buzzing on Saturday afternoon and the Izzone was in full effect as Michigan State basketball secured a much-needed win over No. 10 Illinois. The win is a welcomed push for the Spartans towards their goal of a 25th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

Michigan State fans are no strangers to seeing the Spartans play the role of spoiler against ranked opponents. The win on Saturday afternoon helped put the Spartans in elite company.

Since the 1995-96 season, Michigan State now has 59 wins over teams ranked in the top 10. Only Duke, Kansas, and North Carolina have more. Kentucky is tied with the Spartans for fourth on the list.

The debate has heated up over the past five years about whether or not Michigan State basketball is a “blue blood” program. Seeing lists like this is a reminder that Michigan State has not only been successful but has sustained success for a long time. If you asked any coach in the top 10 of any year which program they’d want to face the least late in the season, Tom Izzo’s Spartans would unanimously be near the top of the board.

The Spartans will need to keep the momentum going throughout the rest of this regular season to position themselves well in both the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament.

We finally saw a glimpse of what this team is capable of when the upperclassmen all collectively step up. There’s only one ranked opponent left on the schedule for Michigan State on March 2 at No. 2 Purdue. We’ll be hoping Izzo and Co. walk out of Mackey with win No. 60 against top-10 teams.

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