ST. LOUIS — The players come and go, the years pass. About the only thing that doesn’t change is Tom Izzo and Michigan State’s mastery in March.

The fifth-seeded Spartans are on their way to their second straight Final Four and sixth in 12 years after Raymar Morgan’s free throw with less than 2 seconds left lifted Michigan State to a 70-69 victory over Tennessee in the Midwest Regional final Sunday.

“There is nothing greater than going to a Final Four that I know of,” Izzo said, “except winning it.”

No team in the country has been better during the Spartans’ run. And all six of those trips have come under Izzo, a hard-nosed coach who preaches defense, rebounding, defense and physical play.

Izzo is 6-1 in regional finals. His only loss was to top-seeded Texas in 2003.

“Tom Izzo does his best in the NCAA tournament,” said Magic Johnson, who sat in the Michigan State cheering section and embraced Izzo after the game. “He loves the big moment. He understands what he needs to do against every team. He comes up with a great game plan every single time. He deserves all the credit in the world.”

The Spartans, last year’s national runner-up, will be looking for championship No. 3 next weekend in Indianapolis. They play Butler, also a No. 5 seed and the hometown favorite, in the semifinals Saturday night.

“They’re hot right now. They’re playing some of their best basketball,” Morgan said. “But we’re also hot right now. We’re playing some of our best basketball.”

The Spartans (28-8) led by as many as eight in the second half, but Brian Williams pulled sixth-seeded Tennessee (28-9) within 69-68 on a putback with 2:10 left. Korie Lucious, who took over as point guard after 2009 Big Ten player of the year Kalin Lucas ruptured his Achilles’ tendon last weekend, missed the front end of a one-and-one with 29 seconds left and Scotty Hopson got the rebound.

Hopson was fouled at the other end and made the first free throw. But after a Michigan State timeout, he missed the second and Lucious – generously listed at 5-foot-11 – ended up with the rebound. He pushed the ball up court, and Morgan was fouled by J.P. Prince with 1.8 seconds left. He made the first shot, and after timeouts by both teams, he bricked the second shot on purpose.

Williams came up with the rebound and Tennessee called a quick timeout. But Prince fumbled the inbounds pass and had to heave up a prayer from midcourt just before the buzzer.

Durrell Summers led the Spartans with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting despite playing just 9 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. Morgan and Draymond Green added 13 each.