PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – No one expected Florida Gulf Coast or La Salle to still be playing in the NCAA Tournament.

This year’s two Cinderella stories are different in that La Salle’s basketball history is a long and storied one, while Florida Gulf Coast just became a Division I program last year. Still, they find themselves in the Sweet 16, and turning fans, players and coaches into believers.

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is a believer in La Salle.

“Well it reminds me, I think it was VCU a couple of years ago and yet, I look at the this [La Salle] team and there is no fluke here, as there wasn’t with VCU,” Izzo told 94WIP’s Ike Reese and Rob Ellis on Wednesday.  “I mean, I’ve seen guards make shots, I’ve seen them play so hard, it’s great tribute to coach and to the program. And you’re right, I think it was back—whenever I hear Bill Raftery he talks about La Salle and all the things back when it was the Big 5, and there is so much basketball tradition in your great city that I’m excited for them. I’m glad I don’t have to play them, at least for awhile.”

Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans play Duke on Friday night, while La Salle takes on Wichita State on Thursday night.

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