TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Michigan State is starting to show the form it was expected to show the entire season.
Erazem Lorbek scored 17 points and Chris Hill added 15 as the seventh-seeded Spartans moved into the second round of the South Region with a routine 79-64 victory over No. 10 Colorado.
Michigan State (20-12) was ranked in the top 10 in the preseason before a pair of losses in the Great Alaska Shootout. The Spartans hovered just a few games over the .500 mark through January and most of February but have reeled off six wins in their last seven contests.
It also joined four other Big Ten schools to advance as Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Purdue also moved on in what is considered a down year for the conference.
"We (the Big Ten) haven't done anything yet," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "We've won first-round games. It's a step in the right direction."
Michigan State took the lead for good with a 13-2 tear and Adam Ballinger's 3-pointer made it 30-20. It was the first of three straight possessions on which the Spartans connected from beyond the arc.
A layup by Alan Anderson provided a 44-29 halftime lead and Michigan State remained hot after the break. Hill nailed a long 3-pointer to extend the margin to 53-33 with 17:10 remaining.
Colorado (20-12) pulled within 69-57 on a dunk by Michel Morandais with just over four minutes to go. But that was as close as the Buffaloes got as they suffered their ninth loss in the last 11 games away from home.
"I think every team in the country is better at home than away," Colorado coach Ricardo Patton said. "I don't think that was something strange for us."
The Spartans will meet Florida on Sunday in a rematch of the 2000 national championship game.
Michigan State shot well from the floor, at the line and held its own on the glass. That is part of the formula to which Izzo wants his team to adhere.
"There are four keys for us to be successful," he said. "We defend, we rebound, we shoot free throws well and our guard play has been up and down. Our guard play was great today."
Hill led the way by draining four 3-pointers. But his and Kelvin Torbert's biggest contributions came on the defensive end, where they harassed the Buffaloes into 5-of-14 3-point shooting.
Anderson came up with 14 points and seven assists and freshman Paul Davis netted 10 to lead a big effort from the bench. The Spartans' reserves held a 23-12 edge over the Buffaloes' substitutes.
Michigan State had just 11 turnovers and was able to utilize its rare transition game for easy baskets in the first half, resulting in its season-high 44 points.
"It is a lot harder to run against the Big Ten and we felt we could run against Colorado," Izzo said. "We executed a good rebound-and-run and that led to some easy baskets."
"Some of the low-scoring games we were in, for someone who hasn't watched us all year, we caught them off-guard," Hill said.
The Spartans made 20-of-25 foul shots, including a 6-of-6 showing by Anderson.
Morandais led Colorado with 15 points and David Harrison and Blair Wilson each netted 13. Harrison also blocked seven shots, one off the South Region record.
The Buffaloes had travel problems due to snow at home that caused them to arrive Thursday, a day later than scheduled. They dug a hole for themselves by committing 11 of their 13 turnovers in the first half.
"It really had no effect on us," Colorado forward Stephane Pelle said. "We got here and were able to practice and were ready to play."
Colorado shot a season-low 41 percent (7-of-17) from the free-throw line and fell in its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1997.