Jan. 4, 2013
THE OPENING TIP
Michigan State hosts Purdue in the Big Ten home opener for the Spartans. MSU is looking to bounce back from a conference opening loss at Minnesota on New Year's Eve, while the Boilermakers won their Big Ten opener Wednesday against No. 11 Illinois.
THE STARTING FIVE
1. Spartans From The Hoosier State
Three players on the Michigan State roster are from the Hoosier state. Red-shirt sophomore Russell Byrd earned 2010 second-team all-state honors becoming the first ever Indiana All-Star from Blackhawk Christian High School in Fort Wayne, Ind. Sophomore Branden Dawson was an all-state selection and 2011 McDonald's All-American from Gary's Lew Wallace High School. Freshman Gary Harris was the 2012 Indianapolis Star Indiana Mr. Basketball winner and the Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year. A 2012 McDonald's All-American, Harris averaged 25.4 points in leading Hamilton Southeastern High School to the Class 4A sectional final. Harris' mother, Joy (Holmes), was a four-year letterwinner at Purdue from 1988-91, and was a 1991 first-team Kodak/WBCA All-American.
2. Big Ten Home Openers
Over the past 62 seasons, Michigan State has posted a 43-19 mark in Big Ten home openers. Tom Izzo is 15-2 in Big Ten home openers, including winning the last 10.
3. It's All About Boardwork
Michigan State has led the nation in rebounding in four of the last 13 seasons (2000, 2001, 2009, 2010), ranking in the Top 10 eight times and the Top 25 on 11 occasions. MSU has led the Big Ten in rebounding in 12 of the last 15 years. In the Tom Izzo era, MSU has out-rebounded 458 of 595 opponents (.770), posting a 364-94 (.795) mark in those games. The Spartans have out-rebounded 13 of 14 opponents this season, losing the only game in which they were out-rebounded (Minnesota).
4. Big Ten Success
Michigan State has captured at least a share of the Big Ten Championship in three of the last four seasons. After winning the title outright in 2009, the Spartans shared the conference crown in 2010 and 2012. Last season, MSU also added a Big Ten Tournament title to its resume. During Tom Izzo's tenure, the Spartans have won seven regular-season titles and three tournament crowns.
5. Big Ten Success, Part II
Michigan State has won 13 Big Ten Championships, including three of the last four, 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 550-451 (.549) in league play, including 196-91 (.683) under Tom Izzo, who ranks sixth in league history with 196 conference wins. Izzo has guided MSU to seven of its 13 league crowns. Since Izzo's first season (1995-96), MSU has a Big Ten-best record of 196-91, 15 games better than second-place Wisconsin (181-106).
MSU VS. PURDUE NOTES
Purdue leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 65-48, although the Spartans own a 29-25 advantage in games played in East Lansing. MSU has won 19 of the last 29 games in the series. Tom Izzo is 19-13 in his career against Purdue.
Matt Painter (Purdue, `94) is 192-88 in his ninth season as a collegiate head coach, including 167-83 in his eighth season at Purdue. After one year as head coach at Southern Illinois, he served as associate head coach at Purdue in 2004-05 in Gene Keady's final year as Boilermaker coach.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Purdue 76-62 on Feb. 19, 2012, in West Lafayette, Ind. MSU led by six points late in the first half, but the Boilermakers were strong in the closing minutes and took a 38-35 lead into the halftime locker room. The Spartans stormed out of the break with a 10-0 run. Purdue answered with five straight points, but eight straight points from Draymond Green gave Michigan State a 53-43 lead with 10:42 remaining. After that, MSU's lead never dropped below eight points. Green turned in a dominating 20-point, 10-rebound, 7-assist performance, while Branden Dawson recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Austin Thornton scored a then-career high with 17 points. MSU shot 56.0 percent in the second half, while holding Purdue to 22.9 percent, as the Boilermakers missed 22 of their first 23 shots in the stanza. Robbie Hummel was strong for Purdue, recording 24 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks.
The Last Meeting In East Lansing
Michigan State defeated Purdue, 83-58, on Jan. 21, 2012, in East Lansing. With 6:26 left, the score was tied at 20 when MSU started to surge ahead with a 7-0 run, taking a 31-24 lead into the half. In the second half, MSU opened with a 9-2 run to take a 40-26 lead. Leading 44-32 with 13:50 left, the Spartans put the game away with an 11-0 spurt. MSU's defense was outstanding, holding Purdue to 29.0 percent shooting, inlcuding 15.0 percent from 3-point range. Offensively, MSU shot 60.0 percent, including 53.8 percent from behind the arc. Freshman Branden Dawson led four Spartans in double-figures, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the second half. Draymond Green had a solid all-around game with eight points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Lewis Jackson and John Hart each scored 10 points to lead Purdue. The Boilermakers out-rebounded MSU, 34-33, including grabbing 18 offensive rebounds, resulting in 23 second-chance points.
Purdue is one of the better rebounding teams in the Big Ten, boasting a +8.7 rebounding margin, ranking fifth in the league, and averaging 14.6 offensive boards per contest, ranking second in the conference ... The Boilermakers are opening league play against ranked Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State squads ... Purdue's four guards, D.J. Byrd, Anthony Johnson, Ronnie Johnson and Terone Johnson are averaging a combined 16.1 rebounds per game.
GM. 14 RECAP MINNESOTA 76 - MICHIGAN STATE 63
Minnesota defeated Michigan State, 76-63, on Dec. 31. The Spartans and Gophers tipped off Big Ten action with a very entertaining first half, as both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field, including an impressive 63.0 percent for Minnesota. The Gophers tried to break away midway through the first half, using an 8-0 run in less than a minute to take a 37-25 advantage with 4:53 remaining and Keith Appling on the bench with two fouls. MSU, however, closed the stanza on a 13-2 run, including three 3-pointers from Travis Trice, the final one coming immediately before the halftime buzzer. In the second half, Minnesota jumped out to a 51-44 lead, but an 11-0 Spartan run put MSU in front for the next eight minutes. Poor shooting and turnovers plagued MSU down the stretch as the Spartans shot just 2-of-14 over the final 8:02, while committing five turnovers. Minnesota closed the game on a 12-0 run after the Spartans trailed just 64-63 with 4:05 remaining.
MSU VS. MINNESOTA NOTES
* Minnesota's 76 points and .566 field-goal percentage marked season highs for a Spartan opponent.
* The Spartans hit 5-of-6 3-pointers in the first half, but were 0-of-5 in the second.
* Michigan State was out-rebounded for the first time all season, 39-32.
* MSU shot a season-low 20 percent from the foul line, making just 2-of-10 attempts, missing two front ends of a 1-and-1.
* Michigan State did not score a point in the game's final 4:04.
* Michigan State committed just four turnovers in the first half, but had 10 in the second half.
* Keith Appling recorded a career-high six steals, a season-high for any Spartan.
* Michigan State and Minnesota played for the third time on New Year's Eve in the last five seasons. The Spartans were also playing on the final day of the calendar year for the fourth time in five years.
MSU BASKETBALL NOTES
Another Izzo Milestone
Michigan State's win vs. Texas was victory No. 423 for Tom Izzo as Spartan head coach, equaling Lou Henson (423 wins; 1975-96) for the third most wins as a Big Ten head coach, trailing only Bob Knight (662; 1971-2000) and Gene Keady (512; 1980-2005).
Four different Spartans have posted a double-double this season. Adreian Payne leads the way with three (Nicholls State, Loyola, Tuskegee). Derrick Nix (Tuskegee and Texas) has two, while Branden Dawson (Connecticut) and Denzel Valentine (Oakland) each have one.
The 2011-12 season was one of Michigan State's best defensive efforts on record. The Spartans ranked second in the nation, allowing opponents to shoot .379 from the field, the lowest percentage by Spartan opponents since 1957-58 (.343). In addition, MSU ranked No. 15 in the nation in scoring defense (59.3 ppg) and 3-point field-goal percentage defense (.299). This season, MSU is allowing opponents to shoot .368 from the field, ranking second in the Big Ten, including .309 from 3-point range. MSU also ranks third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 57.5 points per contest. In its most recent game, however, MSU had one of its weaker defensive efforts, allowing Minnesota to scored 76 points on 56.6 percent shooting, both of which were season highs for Spartan opponents.
Too Many Turnovers
One early area of concern for Michigan State is the number of turnovers, as the Spartans are averaging 15.5 per game, including four games with 19 or more. MSU's primary ballhandler, Keith Appling, is averaging just 2.6 per contest, posting a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.
There's An App For That
Keith Appling leads the Spartans in scoring (14.9 ppg - 8th Big Ten) and assists (4.1 apg - 6th Big Ten), having led MSU in scoring in nine of 14 games, and scoring 20 or more points three times. One area where Appling has improved over last season is his outside shooting, as he is shooting .366 (15-of-41) from 3-point range, compared to .250 (24-of-96) in 2011-12. In addition, he's establishing himself as one of the premier defenders in the nation. His play has not gone unnoticed by his head coach, as Tom Izzo remarked "I'm not an easy guy to please. But I'm really excited for him and proud of him for what he's doing right now in an incredible way."
Spartans Shooting Better
Michigan State got off to a cold shooting start this season, failing to shoot better than 39 percent in either half in the opener against Connecticut. In the 26 halves of basketball that have followed, the Spartans have shot 50 percent or better 14 times. Through 14 games, MSU is shooting .476 from the field, ranking third in the Big Ten.
Harris' Immediate Impact
Gary Harris opened his Spartan career by becoming just the third freshman in MSU history to score in double figures in each of his first three games. He suffered a shoulder sprain in the first defensive possession of the game against Boise State, and missed the two games following that one. He ranks second on the team in scoring at 12.3 points per contest, and if you only consider games in which he played more than a minute, he's averaging 13.5 ppg. He is a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, earning the honor on Nov. 19 and Dec. 10.
Trice Is Back
Travis Trice played 12 minutes at Miami, scoring nine points on 3-of-6 shooting, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range. It was the first action for the reserve point guard since suffering a concussion and broken nose in the second half of MSU's season-opener against Connecticut in Germany. In his eight games back, he's averaging 6.3 points, while shooting .483 (14-of-29) from 3-point range. His return will take some of the ball-handling duties off Keith Appling's shoulders. In the five games that Trice missed, Appling was forced to play 36.4 minutes per contest.
On March 4, 2012, Branden Dawson suffered a season-ending torn left ACL. With no swelling, he was able to have surgery two days later, putting him ahead of schedule from the beginning. The quick healing continued through the summer, and Dawson was a full participant when practice opened in mid-October. He currently ranks third on the team in scoring (9.6 ppg), third in rebounding (5.9 rpg), and second in minutes played (26.6 mpg), despite being just over nine months removed from surgery. Still, it's tough to make up for missing the entire summer both in terms of conditioning and skill development.
A look at the Big Ten stats shows that junior center Adreian Payne is one of the premier big men in the Big Ten. Payne ranks sixth in the conference in rebounding (7.4 rpg), sixth in field-goal percentage (.584) and tied for eighth in blocks (1.4 bpg). He also ranks fifth on the Spartans in scoring at 8.4 points per contest. The main thing limiting Payne's production is foul trouble, as he's played 20 minutes or more in just six games. In six games, Payne picked up two first-half fouls, limiting his playing time. He's recorded three double-doubles this season, each one of them in 22 minutes or less.
Nix Attacks The Glass
Derrick Nix ranks tied for third in the Big Ten in rebounding, averaging 7.5 caroms per contest. Nix grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds in his Spartan debut three seasons ago, but did not record double figures in rebounds again until the 2012-13 season opener when he collected 11 boards against Connecticut. He has four double-figure rebounding games this season, and has recorded double-doubles in two of his last four games. They were his first double-doubles since his Spartan debut. Following a career-high 25-point, 11-rebound effort against Texas, he was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Dec. 24.
Searching For A Rotation
Michigan State has used four different starting lineups this year, although the same starting lineup has been used for the last seven contests. Eight current Spartans are averaging more than 10 minutes per game, and 10 are averaging five minutes or more. Finding a rotation was difficult early in the season due to injuries to Travis Trice, Matt Costello and Gary Harris. In fact, the game at Miami (No. 7 of the season) was the first game in which all non-redshirting scholarship players saw action, and even then, Trice and Harris were just coming off injuries.
In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of +13.0 (36.6-23.6), out-scoring 12 of its 14 opponents. At times, MSU has dominated the paint, including out-scoring Texas Southern (46-10), Oakland (40-16), Miami (30-14), Nicholls State (52-20), Tuskegee (42-26), Bowling Green (42-24), and Texas (30-16).
Appling Takes Over
In three of Michigan State's wins, Keith Appling has made key plays down the stretch to secure a Spartan victory. Against Kansas, Appling scored five points in the final 1:36, first hitting a 3-pointer to give MSU a four-point lead, and then connecting on an acrobatic driving layup with 14 seconds left to give MSU a 67-64 win. He scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half against the Jayhawks. Against Boise State, with MSU leading by two points in the final minute, Appling hit another driving layup with 14 seconds left again, this time converting on a three-point play to give MSU a 73-68 advantage. With six seconds left, he hit one of two free throws to secure the win. Against Oakland, with the Golden Grizzlies having cut the lead to four points with under seven minutes left, Appling knocked down a 3-pointer to spark a 15-1 run to close the game.
MSU's Center Tandem
Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne combine to give Michigan State a steady inside presence. Although they sometimes will take the floor together, at least one of them is usually in the game. Combined, they average 17.3 ppg and 14.9 rpg, with both ranking among the top six in the Big Ten in rebounding. Both of them are also shooting over 51 percent from the field.
Freshmen Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine have made key contributions early in their Spartan careers. Harris ranks second on the squad in scoring (12.3 ppg), and third in minutes (26.5 mpg). Valentine also has made his mark, ranking second in assists (2.9 apg), fourth in rebounds (4.3 rpg) and fifth in minutes (22.4 mpg). Matt Costello has seen limited action, averaging 5.1 minutes in the 10 games in which he's played.
Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 184-129, in second-chance points for the season. That's an average of +3.9 points per game (13.1-9.2). The Spartans are averaging 12.3 offensive boards per game. MSU has 172 offensive rebounds on the year compared to 280 defensive rebounds for its opponents, good for an offensive rebound percentage of .381.
Playing The Best
Since the 1997-98 season, the year of Michigan State's first of 15 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans have played 165 games against ranked opponents. That total ranks first among teams that have appeared in a Final Four since then. The Spartans are followed by North Carolina (153), Kentucky (148), Duke (145) and Connecticut (138). (Through Jan. 4)
Dawson Gets Defensive
Branden Dawson has recorded 27 steals through the first 14 games of the season (1.9 spg), ranking fifth in the Big Ten. As a freshman, Dawson collected 29 steals in 31 games. For comparison, Draymond Green led the 2011-12 Spartans with 54 steals.
Frequent Flier Miles
With trips to Ramstein Air Base (vs. Connecticut), Atlanta (vs. Kansas) and Miami, Michigan State traveled nearly 12,000 miles in the month of November. In fact, the Spartans had flown more than 9500 miles prior to their home opener.
Big Ten Strength
Once again, the Big Ten makes a strong claim as the toughest conference in college basketball. Michigan (No. 2), Indiana (No. 5), Ohio State (No. 8), Minnesota (No. 9), Illinois (No. 11), and Michigan State (No. 18) are all ranked in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 (Dec. 31). To make matters more difficult for MSU, the Spartans will play a combined nine games against those five teams during conference play. Michigan State's single plays are at Iowa and Penn State, and hosting Illinois and Northwestern. Last season, eight of the 12 league teams participated in the postseason, including five teams in the NCAA Tournament.
Payne's Block Party
Junior center Adreian Payne ranks ninth in MSU history with 86 career blocks. Paul Davis is eighth on the career list with 87 blocks. Earlier this season, Payne equaled his career high with four blocks against Kansas.
Senior Derrick Nix and red-shirt sophomore Russell Byrd will serve as team captains during the 2012-13 season. They were chosen by a vote of their teammates, and Tom Izzo made the announcement at MSU Men's Basketball Media Day on October 9.
Michigan State welcomes a talented and decorated class to the team in 2012-13. Gary Harris was a 2012 McDonald's All-American, and the recipient of the Indianapolis Star Indiana Mr. Basketball award, averaging 25.4 points at Hamilton Southeastern. Matt Costello was the Hal Schram Michigan Mr. Basketball Award winner after averaging 25 points and 19 rebounds as a senior at Bay City Western. Denzel Valentine led Lansing Sexton to back-to-back Class B state championships, and was the 2012 Associated Press Class B Player of the Year after nearly averaging a triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Kenny Kaminski missed most of his senior season at Medina with a shoulder injury, but returned in time to lead his team to the Elite Eight of the state tournament. Harris, Costello and Valentine all are expected to contribute this year, while a different shoulder injury makes Kaminski a possible redshirt candidate.
Michigan State has a reputation for being a strong, physical team and the numbers back it up. Twelve players on MSU's roster can leg press over 700 pounds, with Derrick Nix leading the way with 1100 pounds. Since his arrival on campus, Keith Appling has increased his leg press by 315 pounds under the direction of Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Vorkapich. Collectively, the Spartans can leg press 6 tons - the equivalent of three cars or one African elephant. In terms of upper body strength, Nix leads the way once again, bench pressing the NBA testing standard of 185 pounds 22 times. Gary Harris is the strongest of the guards, ranking tied with Alex Gauna for second on the team with 19 repetitions.
In addition to their strength, the Spartans have also proven to be incredibly athletic, leading to the up-tempo pace Michigan State desires to play this season. When Coach Izzo recruited Adreian Payne, he called Payne the most athletic big man he's ever coached. He wasn't exaggerating as Payne holds the Izzo-era record for a standing vertical jump (no step) at 38 inches. Given a running start, three players can elevate greater than 40 inches: Keith Appling (42"), Adreian Payne (41"), and Travis Trice (40.5").
THE BOOK ON Tom Izzo
In his 18th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 423-172 (.711), and 196-91 (.683) 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 17 seasons as a head coach, Izzo has captured eight National Coach of the Year awards, including the Clair Bee Award in 2005 and NABC honors in 2001 and 2012. 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 also earned National Coach of the Year accolades from CBSSports.com in 2012. He earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 1998, 2009 and 2012.
Among The Big Ten's Best
Tom Izzo's .683 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks fourth all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind Wisconsin's Bo Ryan (.711), former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700), and former Purdue coach Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Ryan (.726), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Izzo (.711) and Lambert (.709). With 196 conference victories, Izzo ranks sixth all-time.
Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 17 seasons, Tom Izzo won 412 games, ranking tied for second in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 17 years.
Izzo's Coaching Tree
Five current Division I head coaches all served as assistants to Tom Izzo, including Tom Crean (Indiana), Brian Gregory (Georgia Tech), Stan Heath (South Florida), Mark Montgomery (Northern Illinois) and Doug Wojcik (College of Charleston). 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. Jim Boylen was head coach at Utah for four years.