* How they got there: Defeated Alabama State, 69-35, and Fresno State, 81-65, in the first two rounds of the South Regional at Memphis, Tenn.; defeated Gonzaga, 77-62, in the regional semifinals and Temple, 69-62, in regional final at Atlanta.
* Leading tournament scorers: Andre Hutson 14.3 points a game; Charlie Bell, 13.8; Jason Richardson 11.5; Zach Randolph 9.0.
* Leading tournament rebounders: Hutson 9.8; David Thomas 7.0; Randolph 6.8.
* Key to the season: Michigan State had to replace three starters from last year's NCAA championship team--Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson and A.J. Granger. Somehow, the Spartans managed to lose only four games--to Indiana, Ohio State, Illinois, and in the Big Ten tournament to Penn State. Defense, rebounding and toughness, as usual, have been the keys. So has the evolving identity of a team whose senior leaders, Hutson at forward and Bell at point guard, were used to Cleaves doing the talking.