People often talk about the "extra gear" that Tom Izzo has when it comes to coaching the Michigan State Spartans in the NCAA Tournament. It's something special to behold. No matter how the team has played through the regular season, Izzo finds a way to get them in (they have the second-longest active streak of appearances), and then it's REALLY on for the Spartans.

But some of that "extra gear" might actually be some Upper Peninsula magic that Izzo has, and shares with the exact wood used for the NCAA Tournament Floors. Tom was born in Iron County, Michigan... the same place the wood comes from for the floors.

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Since 2006, the Final Four courts, specifically, have been a product of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The wood mill, Connor Sports, in Amasa, which is only home to about 300 people, creates the courts, and mills the wood that we see at the end of every season. And to make the following year's court, it's nearly a year-long process.

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Practice Day - Salt Lake City
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Last year, they were used at NRG Stadium in Houston, AND for the women's regional rounds and Final Four at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The same will go this year in Glendale Arizona for the boys, and at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland.

Amasa, by the way, is only about a 20 minute drive from Tom Izzo's hometown of Iron River.

So it's no wonder that Michigan State, despite a "sub-standard year" still turns things up a notch in the tournament, because Izzo is literally playing on his home court.

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Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans Men's Basketball program have been a premier school in College Basketball, with a streak of 25 straight NCAA tournament appearances. Stellar teams generate stellar players, and over the years, MSU has had no shortage of stand-out players who have gone on to have successful careers in professional basketball. Here are 12 Spartans in the last 12 years and where they are now.

Gallery Credit: Tommy McNeill

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