Malik Hall knows his head coach is always thinking ahead when it comes to getting his teams ready. Asked about the early-season schedule Tom Izzo puts together for Michigan State, Hall pointed toward Izzo’s attention to March throughout the season.

“I just say Coach in general, everything he does, prepares us for March. It’s something we talk about at the beginning of the year and summertime, just making sure that we’re ready,” said Hall.

“The schedule obviously is very hard and it’s rigorous. But that’s something that kind of like trains our minds, trains our bodies, and getting ready for situations like this, and going up against someone who is just as good a team as us, maybe ranked a little better, and things like that.”

This season, the nonconference schedule for the Spartans included matchups against Gonzaga, Kentucky and Alabama, all teams that made it into the NCAA Tournament. Michigan State will hope those grueling matchups helped prepare the squad for Sunday when Izzo’s group faces Marquette, the 2-seed in the East Region, on Sunday.

Shaka Smart’s Golden Eagles head into the matchup as the favorites with a 63.9% to win per ESPN Analytics. The underdog role has never scared the Spartans, and we’ll see if Izzo can dial up more magic in March in the Round of 32.