The calendar has turned to March and conferences all across the country are in their postseason tournaments to negotiate bids for the Big Dance. Tom Izzo is understandably excited.

His program hasn't missed the NCAA tournament in almost two decades and even though this year's team's record of 18-13 heading into the Big Ten Tournament he isn't overly concerned about his team's chances.

From the grueling travel schedule early in the season to what has been the most parity filled Big Ten season in recent memory, Izzo likes his team's shot of making the NCAA tournament for the 20th straight year. Michigan State plays Penn State in their first game of the Big Ten tournament after the Nittany Lions (13 seed) upset Nebraska (12 seed) in yesterday's opening round.

Izzo wasn't all bright-eyed and bushy tailed though. He's very aware of the work his team still needs to do to achieve their goals and play well this late in the year.

Another relative note for Izzo was the omission of Nick Ward on the Big Ten's "all-freshman" team. While Miles Bridges was a unanimous selection and a second team Big Ten and picked for the freshman of the year in the conference, Ward was snubbed off the list garnering only an "honorable mention" among the Big Ten's best.

Ward has been playing some of his best basketball of the season of late, averaging almost 20 points per game in his last four games.

Michigan State plays Penn State at approximately 2:30 P.M. today in their opening game of the Big Ten tournament. The Spartans are seeking their 20th straight NCAA tournament bid, which is good for 3rd longest active in the country. You can listen to all of Michigan State's Big Ten tournament games on your home for Spartan Basketball, Classic Rock 94.9 WMMQ and Lansing's Big Talker 1240 WJIM.

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