MSU was led by star sophomore, Earvin “Magic” Johnson (16.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 8.2 assists per game), senior Greg Kelser (18.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game), and sophomore Jay Vincent (13.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game). The Spartans started the season well, finishing the non-conference season with an 8–1 recorded including a loss to No. 13 ranked North Carolina. They entered conference play as the No. 1 ranked team in the country.
After winning their first two conference games, they lost four of their next six games to fall to a 4–4 record in the Big Ten, trailing first-place Ohio State by four games in the standings. However, Michigan State then won their next 10 games with wins over No. 7 Ohio State, at No. 15 Iowa, at No. 13 Ohio State, and No. 18 Purdue. A loss on the final day of the season to Wisconsin resulted in the Spartans slipping into a tie for the Big Ten championship with Iowa and Purdue. MSU received a bid to the NCAA Tournament because of a better head-to-head performance against Big Ten rivals and a superior overall record (21–6). The Spartans finished the season ranked No. 3 in the country.
Michigan State advanced to the Final Four by defeating Lamar, LSU, and No. 1-seeded Notre Dame. In the Final Four, the second Final Four appearance in school history, they faced Penn, blowing them out 101–67 to earn a trip to the Championship. There, the Spartans faced No. 1 ranked and undefeated Indiana State led by senior Larry Bird. In what was the most-watched college basketball game ever, Michigan State defeated Indiana State 75–64 to win the school’s first-ever basketball National Championship. Earvin “Magic” Johnson was voted Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.
After two years in college, in which he averaged 17.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game, Johnson declared himself eligible for the 1979 NBA draft.
The 2000 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Game was the finals of the 2000 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament and it determined the national champion for the 1999–2000 NCAA Division I men’s basketball season. The National title game was played on April 3, 2000 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana. The game matched No. 1-seeded Michigan State against No. 5-seeded Florida. The Spartans defeated the Gators, who were appearing in the first championship game, 89–76, earning the Spartans their second National Championship.
As the college grew, it looked to join a major collegiate conference. When the University of Chicago eliminated varsity football and withdrew from the Western Conference (now the Big Ten) in 1946, Michigan State president John A. Hannah lobbied to take its place. Despite opposition from the University of Michigan, the Big Ten admitted M.S.C. on May 20, 1949. After joining the conference, head football coach Clarence L. “Biggie” Munn led the Spartan football team to the Rose Bowl in the 1953–54 season, beating UCLA 28–20. Successor coach Hugh “Duffy” Daugherty carried the football team to a second Rose Bowl where it again defeated UCLA, 17–14.
College Sports Established
East Lansing, Michigan
Michigan State University
1973 – Present / NCAA Division 1
1907 – 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
1950 – Present / Big 10 Conference
1907 – 1950 / Indepentent
1888 – 1907 / Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association
Spartans – The story’s origins trace back to 1925. At the time, the school’s name changed from Michigan Agricultural College to Michigan State College, and the public was asked to suggest replacements for the former “Aggies” nickname.
In March of 1926, an on-campus group collected the suggestions and selected the nickname “Staters,” which beat names like the Bearcats, Statesmen, Bob Cats, Pioneers and Fawns. Needless to say, the options were not exactly strong.
Despite the public’s majority support for the new name, they would not have the final say in the matter.
George Alderton, a local sports editor for the Lansing State Journal from 1923 to 1962, disliked the nickname and refused to use it in his publication.
Fortunately for Alderton — and Michigan State — he knew a man named Stephen George Scofes.
Scofes and his brothers were all born near Sparta, Greece but immigrated to the United States. In the 1920s they ran a restaurant in Lansing, Michigan called The Coffee Cup and were friends with Alderton, who visited regularly.
One day when Alderton stopped by for breakfast, the Greek immigrant restaurant owner gave him the suggestion for the elusive nickname that would be appropriate for the university. That nickname has since lasted the test of time, and since this era Michigan State sports teams, alumni groups and clubs have gone by the name… The Spartans.
Men’s Basketball 2
Women’s Basketball 0