Tom Izzo is known for the fire and intensity he brings to the sideline every single game. But following Michigan State’s critical 70-64 win over Michigan to close the season on Sunday, the longtime leader of the Spartans let his guard down just a little bit.

He has a lot of respect and appreciation for what his team just accomplished.

Michigan State completed a six-game, 13-day stretch that was incredibly successful, but also absolutely taxing. Needing a strong run down the stretch to work their way back into NCAA Tournament consideration, the Spartans rattled off wins against No. 5 Illinois, No. 4 Ohio State, Indiana and No. 2 Michigan to get off the bubble.

After starting the season with a 10-9 record — which included a 4-9 mark in B1G play — MSU won five of its final seven games to finish 15-11 and 9-11 in conference games.

“This team will never hang a banner,” Izzo said, per Kyle Austin of “But this team should be appreciated for what they went through and what they gave us. They hung in there, man.”

The Spartans were placed on a pause midway through the season due to COVID-19 concerns. There was a 20-day break between B1G competitions and the conference’s rescheduling dates forced Michigan State to play six games in the final 13 days.

And yet, MSU found a way to beat three ranked opponents down a pivotal stretch. Now, it looks like the Spartans will extend their NCAA Tournament appearance streak another year, regardless of what happens in the B1G Tournament.

Michigan State will get a much-needed rest before hopping back into action on Thursday. The Spartans will open B1G Tournament play against Maryland.