Jan. 2, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The Opening Tip
After defeating Minnesota in the Big Ten opener, Michigan State travels to Northwestern for its first road game of the conference season. The Spartans have played six of their first 13 games away from East Lansing, including a true road game at Duke. This is the third year in a row the Spartans have played at Northwestern in the first three days of January.
The Starting Five
1. Big Ten Road Success
One key to Michigan State's back-to-back Big Ten Championships in 2009 and 2010 was its play on the road. Over the last two seasons, the Spartans were 15-3 away from East Lansing, the best two-year stretch in school history. MSU established a school record with eight road wins in 2009, and followed with a 7-2 mark in 2010. Nine of the 15 wins were by double-figures, while four were by five points or less, including back-to-back one-point wins at Minnesota and Michigan in 2010.
2. Too Many Turnovers
One of Michigan State's early season issues has been turnovers, as the Spartans average 15.5 per contest. MSU opponents are averaging 15.5 points per game off turnovers, compared to just 14.3 points for the Spartans. Michigan State is 5-0 when the opponent commits more turnovers and 4-4 when it has more turnovers than the opponent. The Spartans have committed 10 turnovers or fewer in three of the last four games.
3. MSU In Big Ten Play
Michigan State has won 12 Big Ten Championships, including two straight, since joining the league prior to the 1950-51 season. The Spartans' first ever league game was at Northwestern, where MSU claimed a 67-62 victory on Jan. 6, 1951. All-time, MSU is 533-436 (.550) in league play, including 175-76 (.691) under Tom Izzo, who ranks seventh in league history with 175 conference wins. Izzo has guided MSU to six of its 12 league crowns.
4. Big Ten Strength
Six different Big Ten teams are currently ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25, including Ohio State (No. 2), Purdue (No. 11), Minnesota (No. 13), Michigan State (No. 19), Wisconsin (No. 24) and Illinois (No. 25). The Big Ten (6) trails only the BIG EAST (7) for number of ranked teams, while the Big 12 also has six ranked squads. The last time that MSU played five different ranked schools during league play came during the 1999 season when the Spartans played six different ranked league opponents. Last season, MSU played six games against four ranked league opponents.
5. Lucas Closes In On Exclusive Club
With 1,607 career points and 491 career assists, Kalin Lucas is on the verge of joining an exclusive club. He needs nine assists to become just the fourth Spartan to total 1,500 career points and 500 career assists, joining Scott Skiles (2,145 pts., 645 asts.), Mateen Cleaves (1,541 pts., 816 asts.) and Drew Neitzel (1,534 pts., 582 asts.).
MSU vs. Northwestern Notes
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Northwestern, 79-37, including a 31-29 advantage in games played in Evanston. The Spartans have won 21 of the last 23 and 41 of the last 44 contests. Tom Izzo is 24-3 in his career against Northwestern.
Bill Carmody (Union College, `75) is 241-190 in his 15th season as a collegiate head coach, including 149-165 in 11 seasons at Northwestern. He served as head coach at Princeton from 1996-2000.
The Last Meeting In Evanston
Michigan State defeated Northwestern, 91-70, on Jan. 2, 2010, in Evanston. The game was close for most of the first half and NU held a 30-27 lead with 4:48 remaining in the period. MSU would close the stanza on a 14-3 run, capped by a Raymar Morgan 3-pointer to take a 41-33 lead into the break. Leading 51-43 at the 14:39 mark, MSU went on a 12-0 to take control of the contest. The Spartans led by as many as 26 in the second half. MSU's 21-point win was its largest margin of victory in a league road game since a 27-point win at Penn State in 2007. Kalin Lucas led MSU with 21 points, while John Shurna led NU with 29.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Northwestern, 79-70, on Jan. 30, 2010, in East Lansing. The Spartans shot just 37.5 percent from the field in the first half, including 1-of-11 from 3-point range, and held a slim 30-28 lead at the break. The second half proved to be a different story as MSU connected on 15-of-20 attempts (75.0 percent). The Spartans opened the second stanza on a 18-4 run over the first 7:13. Durrell Summers led the Spartan attack with a double-double (24 points, 10 rebounds), and Kalin Lucas added 23 points. John Shurna led all scorers with 31 points. MSU out-rebounded NU, 37-27, while the Spartans committed just nine turnovers.
Forward John Shurna leads the Big Ten in scoring (22.2) and 3-point field-goal percentage (.618), while ranking second in the conference in field-goal percentage (.604) and 3-point field goals made (3.09 per game) ... Northwestern leads the Big Ten in assists (18.55 apg) and 3-point field goals made (9.18 per game) and ranks second in scoring offense (78.2 ppg) and 3-point field-goal percentage (.406) ... 40 percent of Northwestern's field-goal attempts are from 3-point range; by comparison, 33 percent of Michigan State's attempts come from beyond the arc ... Five different Wildcats average more than two assists per game.
Gm. 13 Notes Michigan State 71 - Minnesota 62
* After three straight halves shooting less than 30 percent from the field, Michigan State shot 61.5 percent in the second half.
* Michigan State's 22 first-half points were the fewest by the Spartans in a half this season, while its 49 second-half points tied the season high for MSU.
* Durrell Summers scored 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, connecting on 4-of-5 3-pointers in the second half, after going 0-of-6 from behind the arc in the first half.
* MSU improved to 10-6 in Big Ten openers under Tom Izzo, including 6-0 at home.
* Tom Izzo improved to 14-2 all-time in Big Ten home openers.
* With his seven assists, Kalin Lucas tied Earvin "Magic" Johnson with 491 career assists.
* Michigan State tied a season low with eight turnovers, including just three in the second half.
* MSU's two point guards, Kalin Lucas and Korie Lucious, combined for 13 assists and just two turnovers.
* Michigan State recorded an assist on 21 of its 24 baskets.
* The Spartans connected on just 1-of-14 3-point attempts in the first half, but made 7-of-10 in the second half.
* The Spartans' bench was out-scored for just the second time on the season, as Minnesota's reserves out-scored MSU's, 18-17.
MSU Basketball Notes
Tough Early Slate
During the non-conference schedule, Michigan State played five teams that have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 at some point this year. MSU's four losses have come to teams with a combined record of 49-3 and that are all currently ranked in the top 13 of the AP Top 25. The Spartans played seven of 12 non-conference games against teams in the top 75 of the Sagarin Ratings (through games of Jan. 1).
Better From The Foul Line
Free-throw shooting has been an area of concern for Michigan State this year, as the Spartans rank ninth in the conference with a .673 percentage. MSU, however, is showing improvement as of late, shooting .761 (70-of-92) over the last four games. MSU is also doing a better job getting to the foul line, averaging 23.0 attempts, including at least 20 in every game. In the four games prior to the last four, MSU did not attempt more than 16 free throws in a single contest.
Solid Defensive Effort
Michigan State is turning in a strong defensive effort this season, holding teams to 66.2 points per game and allowing opponents to shoot just 39.8 percent from the field, including 34.4 percent from 3-point range. MSU has held five opponents below 40 percent and just four have topped 45 percent. No Spartan opponent has shot better than 50 percent, as MSU has out-shot its opponent in 10 of 13 contests. Statistically, MSU ranks second in the conference in steals (8.23 spg) and fourth in blocks (4.54 bpg), while Draymond Green paces the league in steals (2.0 spg).
Moving Up The Scoring Chart
Kalin Lucas ranks 10th in MSU career scoring with 1,607 points. The Spartan senior needs 111 points to pass Mike Robinson (1,717 points) for ninth place and 112 points to pass Paul Davis (1,718 points) for eighth place in MSU history.
Kalin Lucas tore his left Achilles in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. He then put off surgery for a week to attend the Midwest Regional, cheering on his teammates to the Final Four. Since then, he spent the summer rehabbing daily for hours on end. Lucas has started the season on a strong note, averaging 14.5 points in 29.5 minutes. He was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Nov. 29, averaging 20.5 points over four games. Over the last three games, he's averaging 15.5 points, 5.5 assists and 1.8 steals.
MSU's Mr. Everything
Junior Draymond Green is one of the nation's most versatile players. He leads the team in rebounding (8.9 rpg), steals (2.0 spg), and 3-point field-goal percentage (.452), while ranking second in assists (3.8 apg) and blocks (1.2 bpg), and third in scoring (12.0). Green leads the conference in steals and ranks third in rebounding, ninth in 3-point field-goal percentage, and 11th in blocks and assists. Green has stated a goal of trying to become just the third player in school history to record a triple-double (Earvin Johnson, Charlie Bell). Green is MSU's active leader with 12 double-doubles in his career.
Spartans From Distance
Michigan State is shooting .394 from 3-point range this season, ranking fourth in the Big Ten. The Spartans' best 3-point percentage under Tom Izzo is .401, established by the 2003-04 squad. Five different Spartans have knocked down 11 or more 3-pointers led by Durrell Summers, with 31. Draymond Green is shooting a team-best .452 from 3-point range, as four of the five Spartans hitting 11 or more threes are shooting better than 40 percent (Summers - .437, Lucas - .419, Appling - .407). As a team, MSU ranks seventh in the Big Ten with 7.54 3-pointers per game, after finishing last in the conference last season (5.1).
It's All About Boardwork
Michigan State has led the nation in rebounding margin in each of the last two seasons, posting a +9.3 margin in 2009 and a +8.6 margin in 2010. The Spartans have led the nation in rebounding margin in four of the last 11 years. MSU has led the Big Ten in rebounding margin in 11 of the last 13 years. In the Tom Izzo era, MSU has out-rebounded 405 of 523 opponents (.774), posting a 321-84 (.793) mark in those games. This year, MSU has out-rebounded eight of 13 opponents, including seven of the last nine, posting a +3.6 margin. The Spartans are 6-2 when out-rebounding their opponent, and 3-2 when failing to do so.
In 2009-10, seven Spartans averaged more than 20 minutes per game, while nine averaged 7.2 minutes per contest. This season, 10 different Spartans have averaged 8.4 minutes or more, while nine have averaged 9.5 or more. MSU's bench is out-scoring opponents' reserves by 10.9 points per game (25.1 ppg-14.2 ppg), out-scoring the opponents' bench in 11 of 13 games this season.
Dealing With Injury
One of the early storylines for the 2010-11 Spartans will be how they deal with injuries and how different players battle back from injury. Many different players missed significant time in the offseason due to injury. Most notably, Kalin Lucas is attempting to come back from an Achilles injury suffered in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament against Maryland. Shortly after the season concluded in April, Delvon Roe had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. Garrick Sherman had screws removed from his foot, left over from a high school injury. Freshman center Adreian Payne separated his shoulder late in his high school senior season and missed several months. Fellow freshman Russell Byrd suffered a broken foot in May, and when the foot never fully healed, he underwent a second surgery in early October. Austin Thornton suffered a back injury that kept him out of action for several weeks. Even Durrell Summers suffered a mild knee sprain and missed an opportunity to work with the USA Basketball Select Team. Korie Lucious missed a couple weeks in early October after surgery to fix a torn meniscus.
Big Ten Even Stronger
While MSU's non-conference slate is rough, the Big Ten schedule is even tougher, as the conference will feature its strongest lineup in decades. Six different league schools (Michigan State, Illinois, Ohio State, Purdue, Minnesota and Wisconsin) are ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25, while Northwestern received votes.
Big Ten Favorites
Michigan State was selected as the preseason conference favorite for the 2010-11 season, as voted on by a panel of media. Ohio State and Purdue were picked to finish second and third, respectively. 2009 Big Ten Player of the Year Kalin Lucas was tabbed as Preseason Player of the Year.
In The Rankings
Michigan State is currently ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press and No. 19 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll. Eight different Spartan opponents are ranked in at least one of the two polls, including Duke (1 AP/1 USA Today), Ohio State (2/2), Connecticut (4/4), Syracuse (5/5), Purdue (12/11), Texas (13/14), Minnesota (14/13), lllinois (23/25) and Wisconsin (-/24).
Sherman Hits The Mark
Garrick Sherman is shooting a strong .674 from the field this season. Since opening the season with a 3-of-6 effort, Sherman has hit 28 of his last 40. At one point, he connected on 10 straight shots this season.
Summers Reaches 1,000
Durrell Summers became the 41st player to top 1,000 career points with his 21-point effort vs. Tennessee Tech. With 1,120 points for his career, he needs 27 to pass Pete Gent (1,146 points) for 33rd in MSU history.
Acting The Part
November 16 proved to be an especially busy day for Delvon Roe. At 7:30 p.m., the theatre major played the role of "Charles the Wrestler" in William Shakespeare's "As You Like It" put on by the MSU Department of Theatre at the Wharton Center. At 10 p.m., he resumed his normal role of starting power forward for the Spartans, playing one of his best games at MSU, recording 15 points, five rebounds and six assists. Roe also performed on stage on Nov. 17 and 18 prior to leaving for Maui. Feeling his healthiest since before injuring his knee in the first game of his senior year of high school, Roe is averaging 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds on the season. Roe's increased movement has also benefited him on the defensive end, where he's able to play some on the perimeter. For example, he helped hold Duke All-American Kyle Singler to 5-of-14 shooting. Over the last two games, Roe is averaging a team-best 9.0 rebounds.
Seniors Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers have been named preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden and Naismith Awards. Lucas is also a candidate for the Cousy Award, presented to the nation's top point guard.
Quite A Class Already
Although they have played just three-plus seasons, Spartan seniors Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers and Mike Kebler have won 95 games in their careers. That total already ranks as the eighth winningest class in school history. The 2008 class ranks seventh with 98 wins. If the Spartans win 29 games this season, they will equal the 2001 class (115) as the most successful group in school history.
Michigan State's roster features four freshmen: Keith Appling, Russell Byrd, Alex Gauna and Adreian Payne. Appling was a high school teammate of Derrick Nix at Pershing High School, capturing the Class A state title in 2009. Individually, he was a 2010 McDonald's All-American and winner of the 2010 Hal Schram Mr. Basketball Award. Byrd is an outstanding perimeter shooter from Fort Wayne, Ind., who averaged 23.2 points and 10.1 rebounds as a senior. However, he broke his foot in May, and when it did not heal fully, he underwent a second surgery in October. Gauna is a skilled big man from Eaton Rapids, Mich. Gauna was a 2010 Class B All-State honoree after averaging 21.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks as a senior. Payne led Jefferson Township High School to the 2010 Ohio Division IV state championship, averaging 15.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.0 blocked shots as a senior. An extremely talented and athletic forward, Payne was one of the top 25 players in America as a senior.
Spartans In The NBA
Five former Spartans are currently on NBA rosters, including Charlie Bell (Golden State Warriors), Shannon Brown (Los Angeles Lakers), Morris Peterson (Oklahoma City Thunder), Zach Randolph (Memphis Grizzlies) and Jason Richardson (Orlando Magic). Brown is a key reserve guard for the Lakers and has been a major contributor on back-to-back NBA Championship squads. Randolph was selected as a reserve for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. Richardson has averaged more than 18 points per game over the course of his 10-year career.
The Book On Tom Izzo
In his 16th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 373-150 (.713), and 175-76 (.697) in the Big Ten, as the coach of the Michigan State basketball program. He ranks as the winningest coach in Michigan State history, having passed his mentor Jud Heathcote with his 341st career victory on Nov. 28, 2009 . In his 15 seasons as a head coach, Izzo has won National Coach of the Year honors four times, including the Clair Bee Award in 2005 and NABC honors in 2001. In 1999, Izzo was named National Coach of the year by Basketball Times, while earning similar honors from The Associated Press, Basketball News and the USBWA in '98. He earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 1998 and 2009.
Among The Big Ten's Best
Tom Izzo's .697 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks second all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700) and ahead of Purdue's Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Izzo (.713), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712) and Lambert (.709). With 175 conference victories, Izzo ranks seventh all-time.
Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 15 seasons, Tom Izzo won 364 games, ranking seventh in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 15 years.
Izzo's Coaching Tree
Five current Division I head coaches all served as assistants to Tom Izzo, including Jim Boylen (Utah), Tom Crean (Indiana), Brian Gregory (Dayton), Stan Heath (South Florida) and Doug Wojcik (Tulsa). Mike Garland served as head coach at Cleveland State for three seasons and Stan Joplin, an assistant during Izzo's first season, spent 12 seasons as head coach at Toledo.