Tom Izzo has consistently turned things around this season at Michigan State. That includes late in the season when the Spartans traveled to take on Iowa.

After building a big lead, Michigan State could not stop the Hawkeyes as they mounted a miraculous comeback to force overtime. Iowa would eventually go on to win in the extra period.

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That loss came after an impressive upset over Indiana and seemed like a step back for the Spartans. However, Izzo pointed to that loss to Iowa on Tuesday as a key growth moment for his program making it back into the Sweet 16.

“There’s always been obstacles. We were growing and really making progress, then we go to Iowa and go through that, but experiences on winning and losing is why I’ve always been real big on failure as a part of success,” said Izzo. “And I think kids are gonna miss out on that, failing at Iowa.

“If you were in our huddle the last minute and 20 seconds (vs. Marquette) listening to the players. ‘Don’t give up a 3, get down on a 2, make sure we cut out the free-throw line.’ All the little things, I said it was a player-coached team. The only way that happens is when you go through some adversity.”

Sweet 16 outlook

With a shot at the Elite Eight on the line, the Spartans enter Thursday’s game against Kansas State as a slim betting favorite in the matchup. Meanwhile, ESPN Analytics has the game as a near toss-up, giving Michigan State a 49.7% shot at winning the contest and moving on.