Jan. 7, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The Opening Tip
Michigan State travels to Penn State for a second straight road game, looking to open Big Ten play with a 3-0 record for the fourth straight season. The Spartans have used a strong defensive effort to get off to a fast start in conference play, and will need a similar effort against the Nittany Lions, as Penn State's roster includes Talor Battle, the Big Ten's leading scorer.
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-plus seasons, the Spartans are 16-3 away from East Lansing. MSU established a school record with eight road wins in 2009, and followed with a 7-2 mark in 2010. This season, MSU won its road opener at Northwestern. Nine of the 16 wins were by double-figures, while five 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 15.1 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 5-4 when it has more turnovers than the opponent. The Spartans have committed 10 turnovers or fewer in three of the last five games, averaging 11.2 in that stretch.
3. Big Ten Defense
Michigan State is off to a 2-0 start in conference play thanks in large part to its defense. In conference games, MSU leads the Big Ten in field-goal percentage defense by a wide margin, holding opponents to .365, while second-place Illinois allows opponents to hit .387 of their shots. The Spartans also rank second in the conference in scoring defense in league games, allowing 62.0 points per contest. MSU leads the league in blocks (7.5 bpg) and ranks second in steals (8.0 spg) in league games.
4. Block Party
Michigan State ranks second in the Big Ten in all games with 5.07 blocks per game. In conference action, MSU leads the conference with 7.5 blocks per game through the first two contests, thanks to a 12-block effort at Northwestern. The 12 blocks rank as the second-greatest single-game total in school history. Freshman guard Keith Appling blocked five shots against the Wildcats, equaling the fourth-best single-game total in school history, and the best ever for a Spartan guard. Draymond Green and Delvon Roe lead MSU with 17 blocks each.
5. Lucas Closes In On Exclusive Club
With 1,619 career points and 494 career assists, Kalin Lucas is on the verge of joining an exclusive club. He needs six 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. Penn State Notes
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Penn State, 28-5, including an 11-3 advantage in games played in University Park. The Nittany Lions' five wins in the series have been by a combined 20 points. The Spartans have won 12 of the last 14 games in the series. Tom Izzo is 21-4 in his career against Penn State.
Ed DeChellis (Penn State, '82) is 208-222 in his 15th season as a collegiate head coach, including 103-129 in eight seasons at Penn State. He served as head coach at East Tennessee State from 1996-2003.
The Last Meeting In University Park
Michigan State defeated Penn State, 65-54, at University Park on Feb. 13, 2010. The Spartans took a 31-25 lead into the half and pushed the margin to nine in the early moments of the second half. Penn State answered and a David Jackson 3-pointer gave the Nittany Lions a 46-44 lead with 12:24 left in the contest. MSU responded with a 13-0 run over the next 6:12, starting with seven straight points from Durrell Summers and ending with six straight from Delvon Roe. The real story of the run, however, was the Spartan defense that forced PSU into 0-of-5 shooting and four turnovers including two shot-clock violations. Kalin Lucas led MSU with 24 points and six assists, hitting 10-of-15 shots. Chris Allen added 14, connecting on 4-of-6 3-pointers. Talor Battle led all scorers with 30 points for Penn State.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Penn State, 67-65, on March 4, 2010, in East Lansing. MSU led by as many as 11 points midway through the first half and took a 32-25 lead into the break. The Spartans even held a 56-46 lead with 9:29 left in the contest, only to watch the Nittany Lions go on a 12-0 run to take a 58-56 lead. Raymar Morgan and Draymond Green then scored all of MSU's points during a 10-4 run to take a 66-62 lead with 12 seconds left. A Chris Babb 3-pointer with 8 seconds left cut the lead to a single point. And when Kalin Lucas hit just one of two free throws, Penn State had a chance for the win, but Talor Battle's half-court heave was off target. Morgan led MSU with 16 points, while Green scored 14 off the bench, giving the Spartans a 26-1 edge in bench points. MSU held a 14-5 edge in offensive rebounds, and did not allow one in the second half. Babb and Battle led PSU with 16 points each.
Nittany Lions Notes
Penn State is playing the second of five straight games against ranked opponents ... Penn State has used the same starting lineup in 13 of 14 games ... Talor Battle leads the conference in scoring (21.1 ppg) and minutes played (36.6 mpg), while ranking second in 3-point field goals made (2.9 pg) ... Jeff Brooks is averaging 18.0 points in three league contests.
Gm. 14 Notes Michigan State 65 - Northwestern 62
* Michigan State blocked 12 shots, good for the second-highest single-game total in school history.
* Keith Appling blocked five shots, equaling the fourth-best single-game effort in MSU history and the best ever by a Spartan guard.
* The Spartan defense held Northwestern to a season-low .316 field-goal percentage.
* The Spartans limited Northwestern to just four made field goals through the first 17 minutes of the second half.
* MSU held a 63-50 lead with 3:47 left in the game, but Northwestern scored 12 straight points, before Draymond Green's offensive rebound and putback with 12 seconds left sealed the game.
* Northwestern was 10-of-23 (.435) from three-point range and 8-of-34 (.235) from two-point range.
* Draymond Green recorded his fifth double-double of the season, and his first since Dec. 4.
* Michigan State was just 1-of-5 from the foul line, marking season lows for free throws made and attempted.
* Durrell Summers made four 3-pointers, marking the fifth time in the last seven games that he's made at least four.
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 52-4 and that are all currently ranked in the top 12 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. 5).
Starting Lineup Shakeups
Michigan State has used five different starting lineups this season. The lineup of Durrell Summers, Kalin Lucas, Keith Appling, Draymond Green and Delvon Roe has started both Big Ten games. Lucas and Summers are the only two Spartans to start every game this season.
Moving Up The Scoring Chart
Kalin Lucas ranks 10th in MSU career scoring with 1,619 points. The Spartan senior needs 99 points to pass Mike Robinson (1,717 points) for ninth place and 100 points to pass Paul Davis (1,718 points) for eighth place in MSU history.
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 .666 percentage. MSU, however, is showing improvement as of late, shooting .732 (71-of-97) over the last five games. MSU is also doing a better job getting to the foul line, attempting 20 or more free throws in four of the last five contests.
Big Ten Strength
Five different Big Ten teams are currently ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25, including Ohio State (No. 2), Purdue (No. 10), Michigan State (No. 19), Illinois (No. 20) and Minnesota (No. 21). The Big Ten (5) trails only the BIG EAST (8) for number of ranked teams, while the Big 12 also has five 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.
Solid Defensive Effort
Michigan State is turning in a strong defensive effort this season, holding teams to 65.9 points per game and allowing opponents to shoot just 39.2 percent from the field, including 35.2 percent from 3-point range. MSU has held six 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 11 of 14 contests. Statistically, MSU ranks third in the conference in steals (8.14 spg) and second in blocks (5.07 bpg), while Draymond Green paces the league in steals (1.93 spg).
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 14.4 points in a team-best 29.4 minutes. He was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Nov. 29, averaging 20.5 points over four games.
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) and steals (1.9 spg), while ranking tied for first in blocks (1.2 bpg), second in assists (3.9 apg) and 3-point field-goal percentage (.424), and third in scoring (12.2). Green leads the conference in steals and ranks third in rebounding, tied for 10th in blocks, 11th in assists and 14th in 3-point field-goal percentage. 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 13 double-doubles in his career, including five this season.
Spartans From Distance
Michigan State is shooting .390 from 3-point range this season, ranking third 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 13 or more 3-pointers led by Durrell Summers, with 35. Summers is also shooting a team-best .438 from 3-point range, as four of the five Spartans hitting 13 or more threes are shooting better than 40 percent (Green - .424, Lucas - .419, Appling - .419). As a team, MSU ranks seventh in the Big Ten with 7.43 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 406 of 524 opponents (.775), posting a 322-84 (.793) mark in those games. This year, MSU has out-rebounded nine of 14 opponents, including eight of the last 10, posting a +4.2 margin. The Spartans are 7-2 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 9.2 or more. MSU's bench is out-scoring opponents' reserves by 10.1 points per game (24.0 ppg-13.9 ppg), out-scoring the opponents' bench in 11 of 14 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. Five different league schools (Michigan State, Illinois, Ohio State, Purdue and Minnesota) are ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25, while Wisconsin 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. 18 in the Associated Press and No. 19 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll. Nine different Spartan opponents are ranked in at least one of the two polls, including Duke (1 AP/1 USA Today), Ohio State (2/2), Syracuse (5/5), Connecticut (8/9), Purdue (11/10), Texas (12/12), lllinois (20/20), Minnesota (-/21) and Washington (23/-).
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.
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 6.0 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 three games, Roe is averaging a team-best 9.3 rebounds.
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 1,132 points for his career, he needs 15 to pass Pete Gent (1,146 points) for 33rd and 24 to pass Lindsay Hairston (1,155 points) for 32nd in MSU history.
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 96 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 374-150 (.714), and 176-76 (.698) 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 .698 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 (.714), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712) and Lambert (.709). With 176 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.