Spartans Travel To Iowa In Search Of Road Win
 
 
 
Michigan State plays at Iowa on Thursday night.

 
Michigan State plays at Iowa on Thursday night.
 
 

Jan. 9, 2013

#22/18 Michigan State (12-3, 1-1) vs. Iowa (11-4, 0-2)
 Date Thursday, Jan. 10
 Time 7 p.m. ET
 Location Iowa City, Iowa | Carver-Hawkeye Arena
 Television ESPN2 (Joe Tessitore, Sean Farnham)
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)
 Tickets Available at HawkeyeSports.com.
 Game Notes Michigan State | Iowa
 Statistics  Michigan State | Iowa
 Internet Coverage   Gametracker
 Social Media @MSU_Basketball   |  Facebook

THE OPENING TIP
Michigan State is back on the road to face Iowa on Thursday. The Spartans are looking for their first road win of the conference season. The Hawkeyes are 9-1 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, with their only loss to No. 5 Indiana coming down to the final minute. This is the only meeting of the year between MSU and Iowa.

THE STARTING FIVE
1. Harris' Immediate Impact
Gary Harris ranks second on the team in scoring at 13.1 points per contest, and if you only consider games in which he played more than a minute, he's averaging 14.2 ppg, which would lead all Big Ten freshmen. He 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 fourth game of the season against Boise State, and missed the two games following that one. He is a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, earning the honor on Nov. 19 and Dec. 10. He's averaging a team-best 17.0 ppg in Big Ten play.

2. 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 17.0 ppg and 14.8 rpg, with both ranking among the top six in the Big Ten in rebounding. Both of them are also shooting over 50 percent from the field.

3. Improved 3-Point Shooting
Since the start of Big Ten play, Michigan State has been shooting better from 3-point range. Over the last two games, the Spartans are shooting .500 (13-of-26) from behind the arc, ranking second in the Big Ten. The high percentage can be directly attributed to prolific shooting from Gary Harris (.538; 7-of-13) and Travis Trice (.625; 5-of-8) in conference action.

4. 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 459 of 596 opponents (.770), posting a 365-94 (.795) mark in those games. The Spartans have out-rebounded 14 of 15 opponents this season, losing the only game in which they were out-rebounded (Minnesota). They rank 4th in the Big Ten and 15th in the nation with a +9.0 rebounding margin.

5. Big Ten Success
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 551-451 (.550) in league play, including 197-91 (.684) under Tom Izzo, who ranks sixth in league history with 197 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 197-91, 15 games better than second-place Wisconsin (182-106).

MSU VS. IOWA NOTES
Series History
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Iowa, 66-53, although the Hawkeyes own a 34-21 advantage in games played in Iowa City. MSU has won 23 of the last 31 meetings. Tom Izzo is 24-9 in his career against Iowa.

Coach McCaffery
Fran McCaffery (Penn, '82) is 291-218 in his 17th season as a Division I head coach, including 40-41 in his third season at Iowa. McCaffery came to Iowa City from Siena, where he led the Saints to three straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances. In so doing, Siena became the the only program in the country to win its regular-season and postseason conference titles in those three years. His head coaching career also includes a six-year stint at UNC Greensboro (1999-2005) and three seasons at Lehigh (1985-88).

The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Iowa, 92-75, in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament on March 9, 2012, in Indianapolis. The score was tied at 22 midway through the first half when MSU exploded on a 29-10 run to take a 51-32 lead, en route to a 55-39 halftime advantage. As a team, MSU shot 70.0 percent (21-of-30) in the first half, including 54.5 percent (6-of-11) from 3-point range. Draymond Green led all scorers with 21 points, adding 10 rebounds and five assists, while Adreian Payne scored a career-high 16 points. Jordan Stoermer led Iowa with 20 points. MSU's 92 points were a Spartan Big Ten Tournament record, and tied for the fifth most by any conference team in tournament history.

The Last Meeting In Iowa City
Iowa defeated Michigan State, 72-52, on Feb. 2, 2011, in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 30-8 lead with 7:41 left in the first half. Iowa held a 41-20 halftime lead after shooting 65.5 percent in the first half, compared to 24.1 percent for MSU. From the 16:57 mark until 9:06, the Hawkeyes connected on 10 straight field goals. For the game, Iowa shot 57.7 percent and held MSU to 33.9 percent. The Hawkeyes held a 32-31 edge on the glass and forced 17 Spartan turnovers. Kalin Lucas led MSU with 17 points, while Iowa's Matt Gatens led all scorers with 19. Bryce Cartwright scored 12 and dished out 10 assists.

Hawkeye Notes
MSU freshman Denzel Valentine and Iowa freshman Anthony Clemmons were high school teammates at Lansing Sexton High School, playing for Denzel's dad, Carlton. Together, they helped lead the Big Reds to back-to-back Class B State Championships in 2011 and 2012 ... Iowa ranks among the national leaders in free throws made (18.0 pg) and attempted (25.2 pg), and has made more (270) than its opponents have attempted (244) ... Iowa's starting lineup features three freshmen, one sophomore and one junior ... Iowa leads the Big Ten in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (.291).

GM. 15 RECAP • MICHIGAN STATE 84 - PURDUE 61
Michigan State defeated Purdue, 84-61, in the Spartans' Big Ten home opener. MSU held the lead for most of the first half, but could never break free from the Boilermakers, holding a narrow 36-30 lead at the half. The Spartans started slowly in the second half, as they did not make a field goal until 12:19 remained in the contest. This allowed Purdue to hang around and even take a brief lead at 39-38. But MSU shot 11-of-12 from the foul line in the first 7:17 of the stanza, so that when Branden Dawson finally scored the Spartans' first basket of the second half, MSU held a 47-41 advantage. It was part of a 16-2 run that turned a 43-41 lead into a 59-43 advantage in just 4:38, and sealed the MSU victory.

MSU VS. PURDUE NOTES
* Michigan State won its 11th straight Big Ten home opener, as Tom Izzo improved to 16-2 in conference home openers.
* Tom Izzo moved past Lou Henson into third place in career wins at a Big Ten school with 424.
* Michigan State shot a season-high 53.3 percent from 3-point range.
* For the first time all season, Michigan State had five players score in double figures.
* Branden Dawson notched his fifth career double-double, with 14 points and a season-high 11 rebounds.
* Gary Harris scored a season-high 22 points, including hitting 6-of-8 3-pointers. He scored 11 points in each half, hitting 3-of-4 3-pointers in each stanza.
* Keith Appling dished out a season-high eight assists, recording just one turnover.
* In the first 7:40 of the second half, MSU shot 0-of-10 from the field and committed four turnovers. In the final 12:20, the Spartans made 14-of-22 from the field and had just one turnover.

MSU BASKETBALL NOTES
Another Izzo Milestone
Tom Izzo became the third-winningest coach in Big Ten history with Michigan State's win vs. Purdue. The victory was win No. 424, passing Lou Henson (423 wins; 1975-96). Izzo now trails only Bob Knight (662; 1971-2000) and Gene Keady (512; 1980-2005).

Spartan Double-Doubles
Four different Spartans have posted a double-double this season. Adreian Payne leads the way with three (Nicholls State, Loyola, Tuskegee). Branden Dawson (Connecticut and Purdue) and Derrick Nix (Tuskegee and Texas) each have two, while Denzel Valentine (Oakland) has one.

Spartan Defense
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 .370 from the field, ranking second in the Big Ten, including .307 from 3-point range. MSU also ranks third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 57.7 points per contest. In MSU's lone conference loss, it had one of its weaker defensive efforts, allowing Minnesota to score 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 15.3 per game, including four games with 19 or more. MSU's primary ballhandler, Keith Appling, is averaging just 2.5 per contest, posting a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio.

There's An App For That
Keith Appling leads the Spartans in scoring (14.3 ppg - 9th Big Ten) and assists (4.4 apg - t-5th Big Ten), having led MSU in scoring in nine of 15 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 28 halves of basketball that have followed, the Spartans have shot 50 percent or better 14 times. Through 15 games, MSU is shooting .474 from the field, ranking third in the Big Ten.

Trice Is Back
Travis Trice suffered a concussion and broken nose in the season opener against Germany and missed the next five games. In his nine games back, he's averaging 6.9 points, while shooting .485 (16-of-33) from 3-point range. His return has taken 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.

Dawson's Recovery
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 (9.9 ppg), third in rebounding (6.3 rpg), and third in minutes played (26.6 mpg), despite being just over 10 months removed from surgery. Still, it's tough to make up for missing the entire summer both in terms of conditioning and skill development.

Payne's Efficiency
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 fourth in the conference in rebounding (7.5 rpg), seventh in field-goal percentage (.563) and tied for ninth in blocks (1.3 bpg). He also ranks fifth on the Spartans in scoring at 8.0 points per contest. The main thing limiting Payne's production is foul trouble, as he's played 20 minutes or more in just seven 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 sixth in the Big Ten in rebounding, averaging 7.3 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 five 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 eight 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 +12.6 (36.7-24.1), out-scoring 13 of its 15 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.

Freshman Contributions
Freshmen Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine have made key contributions early in their Spartan careers. Harris ranks second on the squad in scoring (13.1 ppg) and minutes (26.8 mpg). Valentine also has made his mark, ranking second in assists (2.9 apg), fourth in rebounds (4.3 rpg) and fifth in minutes (22.5 mpg). Matt Costello has seen limited action, averaging 4.8 minutes in the 11 games in which he's played.

Second-Chance Points
Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 189-136, in second-chance points for the season. That's an average of +3.5 points per game (12.6-9.1). The Spartans are averaging 12.3 offensive boards per game. MSU has 185 offensive rebounds on the year compared to 304 defensive rebounds for its opponents, good for an offensive rebound percentage of .378.

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. 8)

Dawson Gets Defensive
Branden Dawson has recorded 27 steals through the first 15 games of the season (1.8 spg), ranking tied for 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), Minnesota (No. 8), Illinois (No. 12), Ohio State (No. 15), and Michigan State (No. 22) are all ranked in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 (Jan. 7). 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 is tied with Paul Davis for eighth in MSU history with 87 career blocks. Aloysius Anagonye is seventh on the career list with 88 blocks, and Goran Suton ranks sixth with 90. Earlier this season, Payne equaled his career high with four blocks against Kansas.

Spartan Captains
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.

Freshman Class
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.

Spartan Strong
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.

Athletes Too
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
Coach Izzo
In his 18th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 424-172 (.711), and 197-91 (.684) 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 .684 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 (.713), 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 197 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.