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Men's Basketball
Spartans Host Illinois In Battle Of Big Ten Leaders
Michigan State and Illinois meet in a battle for first place on Saturday.
Michigan State and Illinois meet in a battle for first place on Saturday.

Jan. 15, 2010

#7/8 Michigan State (14-3, 4-0)
vs. Illinois (12-5, 4-0)

Jan. 16, 2010
3:30 p.m. EST
East Lansing, Mich.
Breslin Center

Radio: Spartan Sports Network - Will Tieman (Play by Play), Gus Ganakas and Matt Steigenga (Color), Adam Ruff (Host) Flagship - WJIM 1240 AM/WMMQ 94.9 FM;
TV: CBS - Gus Johnson (Play by Play), Greg Anthony (Color)

Michigan State Game Notes
Illinois Game Notes

The Opening Tip
Michigan State and Illinois square off in a meeting between the top two teams in the league. Both the Spartans and Fighting Illini have used strong defense to get to the top of the conference standings, as the squads rank one-two in field-goal percentage defense in Big Ten games. Each team held its opponent to 53 points in games earlier this week.

The Starting Five
1. Big Ten Defense

Michigan State's defense has been very effective in league play, holding opponents to 55.8 points per game, ranking second in the Big Ten. MSU's conference opponents are shooting just .376 from the field, ranking second in the league, including a league-low .289 from 3-point range. Over the last three games, MSU is holding opponents to 51.0 points, .378 field-goal percentage, including .263 from behind the arc.

2. Bench Production
Michigan State's bench is averaging 29.8 points per game, including 26.0 points in Big Ten play. On average, MSU's bench is out-scoring Big Ten opponents' benches by a 26.0-10.3 margin, including a remarkable 27-3 edge over Minnesota. Draymond Green (11.1 ppg) and Durrell Summers (10.4 ppg) average in double figures off the bench, while MSU's leading assist man (Korie Lucious - 4.0 apg) and rebounder (Green - 7.8 rpg) are reserves.



3. Go Green
Sophomore Draymond Green is proving to be one of the most versatile players in the Big Ten and one of the nation's premier sixth men, coming off the bench in 14 of 17 games. Through 17 games, he is averaging a team-best 7.8 boards per game, recording double-figure rebounds in five games. Further demonstrating his versatility, he ranks first on the team in steals (27) and field-goal percentage (.621), second in blocks (15), and scoring (11.1 ppg), and third in assists (3.1 apg). He's recorded four double-doubles on the season. And despite coming off the bench in a majority of the contests, he ranks tied for third on the squad in minutes per game (24.6 mpg).

4. A Touch Of Green In Big Ten Stats
Draymond Green leads the Big Ten in field-goal percentage (.621) and ranks second in rebounding (7.8 rpg) and ninth in steals (1.59 spg). His 1.83 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks sixth in the league, and first among non-point guards. He is the only player in the league 6-foot-6 or taller to average more than three assists per game.

5. Hot Start In League Play
For the second straight season, Michigan State has opened Big Ten play with a 4-0 record. It marks the only two 4-0 league starts of the Tom Izzo coaching era. In fact, MSU has opened league play with a 4-0 mark just three times since starting league play in 1950-51.

MSU vs. Illinois Notes
Series History

The all-time series between Illinois and Michigan State is tied 53-53. The Spartans own a 33-18 advantage in East Lansing. Tom Izzo is 16-11 in his career against the Illini.

Coach Weber
Bruce Weber (Wisconsin-Milwaukee, '84) is 267-116 in his 12th season as a collegiate head coach, including 164-62 in seven seasons at Illinois. Prior to his arrival in Champaign, Weber posted a 103-54 mark at Southern Illinois.

The Last Meeting
Michigan State clinched a share of the 2009 Big Ten Championship with a 74-66 win at Champaign on March 1, 2009. The Spartans held a 37-30 lead at halftime. MSU pushed its lead out to 11 points early in the second half, but Illinois rallied back to tie the game at 58 with 7:19 left. The Spartans, however, would not allow another Illini field goal until the 33 second mark, going on an 11-3 run. Mike Tisdale was a factor in Illinois' comeback with 13 second-half points, but he did not score after Idong Ibok entered the game defensively with 7:08 remaining and the score tied at 58. With the score deadlocked at 58, Kalin Lucas scored five of MSU's next nine points and assisted on another basket, en route to his game-high 18 points. The Spartans committed just four turnovers in the second half, compared to 11 for Illinois.

The Last Meeting In East Lansing
Michigan State defeated Illinois, 63-57, on Jan. 17, 2009, in East Lansing. Illinois led 34-27 at halftime and pushed the lead up to nine early in the second half. Trailing 54-51 with 6:10 left, MSU went on a 9-0 run over the next 2:30 to claim a 60-54 lead, including four points each from Raymar Morgan and Kalin Lucas. The Spartan defense held Trent Meacham and Demetri McCamey to a combined six points on 1-of-16 shooting, including 1-of-14 from 3-point range, after the duo entered the game averaging a combined 24.5 points per game. MSU committed 15 first-half turnovers, but just three in the second half, including just one in the final 14:51. Conversely, Illinois committed seven in the first half and 11 in the second. Goran Suton led MSU with 12 points, and Marquise Gray scored nine of his 11 points in the first half. Alex Legion scored 15 points off the bench and Calvin Brock scored 13. MSU held a 42-30 advantage on the glass.

Illini Notes
Illinois is off to a 4-0 start in conference play for the first time since 2005 ... The Illini are allowing just 51.7 points per game in the last three contests ... Mike Davis leads the Big Ten in rebounding (9.7 rpg) ... Demetri McCamey paces the conference in assists (5.9 apg) ... Mike Tisdale is averaging a team-best 20.3 points per game in conference play ... Five different Illini have scored 20 points or more in a single game this season ... The Illini have won three games after trailing by double-digits.

Game 17 Recap - MSU 60 - Minnesota 53
* Michigan State won for the first time all season when being out-shot by its opponent (MSU-36.2%, MINN-40.7%).
* Michigan State won despite shooting a season-low 36.2 percent from the field.
* Minnesota entered the game forcing Big Ten opponents to commit 19.2 turnovers per game, but MSU committed just 10, a team low in Big Ten play.
* Chris Allen missed his first five shots, including four 3-point attempts, but made two of his last four shots in the final 4:10.
* MSU's starting guards (Chris Allen and Kalin Lucas) combined for 10 assists and just two turnovers.
* Michigan State's bench out-scored Minnesota's, 27-3.
* After scoring three points combined in his last two games, Durrell Summers bounced back with 13 points and a team-best eight rebounds.
* Although Draymond Green scored just eight points, he recorded four steals and three blocks, including one of each on back-to-back possessions in the final 1:15.
* MSU closed the first half on a 18-6 run.

MSU Basketball Notes
Turnovers, Defense Make A Difference

Two key factors have emerged as a difference between winning and losing for Michigan State: turnovers and field-goal percentage defense. The Spartans are averaging 18.7 turnovers in their three losses, including 23 vs. Florida and 22 vs. Texas, leading to 19.3 points for the opponent per game. In 14 wins, MSU is averaging just 13.6 turnovers, leading to just 13.6 opponent points. Defensively, MSU is 13-0 when holding teams below 41 percent shooting, but 1-3 when an opponent shoots above 40 percent. With North Carolina (.579) and Texas (.561) both shooting well above 50 percent, the Spartans are allowing opponents to shoot .514 in their losses, compared to .368 in victory.

Attacking The Offensive Glass
Michigan State is averaging 14.0 offensive rebounds per contest, leading to 15.4 second chance points per game. The Spartans are grabbing 41.5 percent of their misses. Against Florida, MSU grabbed 60 percent of its misses, collecting 18 offensive boards, compared to just 12 defensive boards for the Gators. Michigan State also grabbed more offensive boards than its opponent had defensive boards in games against Wofford and The Citadel. MSU has totaled 18 or more offensive rebounds in three games. The Spartans are paced in offensive rebounds by Delvon Roe with 2.4 per contest.

Offensive Balance
Michigan State has proven it has several different offensive weapons as five Spartans currently average in double figures. Kalin Lucas paces the Spartan offense at 15.5 points per game, followed by Draymond Green (11.1 ppg), Chris Allen (10.6 ppg), Raymar Morgan (10.4 ppg) and Durrell Summers (10.4 ppg). MSU has had four or more players score in double figures in 12 of the 17 games, as eight different players have scored 10 or more points at least once this season, and six different players have led the team in scoring in a single game.

Home Sweet Home
During Tom Izzo's career as head coach, the Spartans are 203-24 (.894) at home, including 180-15 (.923) over the last 13 years (1997-98 to present). MSU has defeated 47 consecutive non-conference opponents at the Breslin Center, dating back to a Dec. 3, 2003, loss to Duke.

A Unique Trend
In general, college basketball teams score more points on their home court than they do on the road. That is not the case for Michigan State through the first four games of the Big Ten season. The Spartans are averaging 81.0 points in road wins at Northwestern and Iowa, and 57.0 points in wins over Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Spartans Among National Leaders
Michigan State ranks in the top five nationally in two different statistical categories (as of Jan. 15). The Spartans rank third in the nation with a +10.2 rebound margin and fifth in assists per game (18.5 apg).

Winning In Different Fashions
A sign of a great team is the ability to win different kinds of basketball games. Michigan State has already shown some of that trait in the Big Ten season, winning at Northwestern with a 91-point offensive outburst, and defeating Wisconsin, 54-47, with a stifling defensive effort, holding the Badgers to 33.3 percent shooting. It's reminiscent of the 2000 NCAA Championship team that defeated Wisconsin, 53-41, in the National Semifinal and then sprinted by Florida, 89-76, in the title game. Just last year, MSU defeated Louisville in the Elite Eight with 64 points, and beat Connecticut in the Final Four with 82 points.

Spartan Depth
Nine different Spartans are averaging 8.0 minutes or more, including seven at 20.6 minutes or more. Kalin Lucas leads Michigan State with 30.6 minutes per contest after averaging a team-best 31.9 minutes per game last season. The Spartans have also used 10 different starting lineups, as 10 different Spartans have started a game, and no one has started every game. Last season, MSU used 14 different starting lineups, including nine in the first 12 games.

On The Mark
As a team, MSU is shooting .495 from the floor, ranking second the Big Ten and 13th in the nation (as of Jan. 15). Individually, seven Spartans are connecting on better than 50 percent of their shots, led by Tom Herzog at .800 (8-of-10). Among players with more than 30 attempts, Draymond Green paces the way at .621 (72-116), leading the league.

Better At The Foul Line
Michigan State has struggled at the foul line this season, converting at a .681 percentage. The Spartans, however, are showing improvement recently, hitting .722 percent of their attempts in the last seven games, raising the team's average from .644 to its current mark. Individually, Durrell Summers ranks third in the league at .860.

Spartan Defense
One of Tom Izzo's early concerns about his team was the defense, having lost 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Travis Walton and outstanding post defender Goran Suton. For the most part, however, the Spartans have responded early, limiting opponents to 39.4 percent on the season, as only two opponents (UNC and Texas) have shot better than 44 percent. MSU has been equally stingy on its 3-point defense, holding teams to 31.2 percent shooting behind the arc, limiting six opponents to 25 percent or lower.

It's All About Boardwork
Last season, Michigan State led the nation in rebounding margin at +9.3, marking the third time in the last 10 years the Spartans have paced the nation. Including 2009-10, 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 383 of 490 opponents (.782), posting a 305-78 (.796) mark in those games. This season, MSU has out-rebounded its opponents by a margin of +10.2, ranking third in the nation (as of Jan. 15), bettering 14 of 17 teams, and tying two. The Spartans are 13-1 when out-rebounding an opponent, but 1-2 when failing to do so.

Allen From Distance
Chris Allen entered Michigan State with the reputation of being a great shooter. Through his first two years, he struggled with consistency, but has elevated his level of play as a junior. Allen leads the squad in 3-point field goals made (29), attempted (76) and ranks second in percentage (.382). He's also shooting .467 from the floor. His previous career high percentages were .385 from the floor and .360 from 3-point range, both established last season. As his offense improves so has the rest of his game as he is averaging career best in rebounds (3.2 rpg), assists (2.2 apg) and steals (0.6 spg).

Sims Joins Squad
Dion Sims joined the Michigan State basketball team for his first practice on Jan. 11 after spending the fall with the football team, where he caught 11 passes for 133 yards and three touchdowns. As a senior hoops standout at Orchard Lake St. Mary's, Sims averaged 21.9 points and 9.4 rebounds, earning 2009 Associated Press Class A All-State honors and finishing fourth in the voting for the Hal Schram Mr. Basketball Award.

Lucas On Target
Kalin Lucas has elevated his shooting accuracy as a junior. Having entered the season with a career field-goal percentage of .410, Lucas is shooting .466 from the field this year, including .385 from behind the 3-point arc.

Lending A Helping Hand
According to the most recent NCAA statistics (as of Jan. 15), Michigan State ranks fifth in the nation in assists. With a current average of 18.5 assists per game, the Spartans have recorded an assist on 64.0 percent of their baskets. It's a team effort as five different Spartans average more than two assists per game.

Double-Double Trouble
At least one Spartan has recorded a double-double in nine games, as five different Spartans have posted a double-double. Draymond Green (vs. FGCU, 11 pts., 10 reb.; vs. Florida, 15 pts., 11 reb.; vs. Oakland, 19 pts., 12 reb.; vs. Iowa, 14 pts., 11 reb.) leads the way with four, while Delvon Roe (vs. Toledo, 10 pts., 11 reb.; vs. Valparaiso, 10 pts., 17 reb.) and Raymar Morgan (vs. Wofford, 19 pts., 11 reb.; vs. The Citadel, 11 pts., 10 reb.) each have two. Derrick Nix (vs. FGCU, 11 pts., 14 reb.) and Durrell Summers (vs. Gonzaga, 21 pts., 11 reb.) each have tallied one.

Finding Their Shooting Touch
After shooting .454 from the field in the first three games of the season, including .278 from 3-point range, the Spartans shot better in the next three contests, connecting on 55.6 percent of its shots, including 46.9 percent from 3-point range. The Spartans are shooting 50.5 percent over the last 14 games, including 37.1 percent from behind the arc. For the season, MSU is shooting .495 from the floor, ranking second in the Big Ten. In league play, the Spartans are shooting .468, ranking third.

Moving Up The Scoring Chart
With 20 points against Florida, Kalin Lucas became the 40th Spartan to record 1,000 career points. The Spartan junior ranks 28th in MSU history with 1,191 points, standing four behind Kelvin Torbert and Alan Anderson (1,195 points) and 21 behind Ken Redfield and Kirk Manns (1,212 points). Lucas has scored in double figures in 28 straight games, dating back to last season. His teammate, Raymar Morgan, currently ranks 20th in MSU history with 1,356 points. He needs 22 points to pass Julius McCoy (1,377 points) and move into 19th place.

Lucas On Watch Lists
Kalin Lucas is one of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, recognizing the nation's top point guard. He is also one of 31 midseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award, while also being placed on the Naismith Award preseason watch list.

Taking Care of the Ball
Korie Lucious has posted impressive numbers in his role as a reserve point guard. He leads the team with 4.0 assists per game and his 2.52 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fourth in the Big Ten. Last season, he averaged just 1.2 assists with a 1.12 assist-to-turnover ratio. Raymar Morgan has also improved his ball handling. Entering the season with a career 0.57 assist-to-turnover ratio, he has improved to 1.54 (37 assists, 24 turnovers) this season.

Spartan Quad-Captains
Senior forward Raymar Morgan and junior guard Kalin Lucas were unanimous selections for team co-captains as voted on by their Spartan teammates. Right after Christmas, the MSU coaching staff added Draymond Green and Isaiah Dahlman as captains, rewarding them for their leadership.

Big Ten Strength
Eight different league schools (Michigan State, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin) have been ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 this season, including three in the current poll (PU-No. 6, MSU-No. 7, UW-No. t-13). 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.

Life Away From Home
Michigan State is 4-3 away from home this season, including 3-2 on an opponent's home court, with losses at Texas and North Carolina. Three of the Spartans' road games have been against a ranked opponent. MSU has won 10 of its last 11 conference road games for the first time since 1998-99 and 1999-2000. Last season, MSU was 19-5 away from East Lansing, including 10-4 on a neutral court, while also establishing a school record with eight Big Ten road wins.

Another Strong Non-Conference Schedule
Michigan State was tested often during its 2009-10 non-conference schedule. The Spartans played true road games at No. 10 North Carolina and No. 2 Texas. The last time MSU played two ranked non-conference teams on the road was 2003-04 (No. 6 Kansas, No. 17 Syracuse). In addition, MSU hosted Gonzaga and played Florida on a neutral court in the Legends Classic in Atlantic City.

MSU's All-Time Leader
With MSU's 106-68 win over UMass, Tom Izzo became the winningest coach in Michigan State history with his 341st career victory, passing his mentor Jud Heathcote. Izzo began working for Heathcote in the 1983-84 season, and was elevated to associate head coach in July 1990. On March 30, 1993, Izzo was named Heathcote's hand-picked successor following the 1994-95 season.

Strong Debut
Center Derrick Nix had one of the top freshman debuts in Michigan State history. Nix's 14 rebounds set an MSU freshman debut record, besting the previous mark of 10 held by Matt Steigenga and Ben Tower. Nix (11 points, 14 rebounds) also became just the second freshman in MSU history to debut with a double-double, joining Steigenga (15 pts., 10 reb.). Nix is the 2009 Hal Schram Mr. Basketball honoree, having led Detroit Pershing to a Michigan Class A State Championship.

Big Ten Favorites
After winning the 2009 Big Ten regular-season title by four games, Michigan State was selected as the preseason conference favorite for the 2009-10 men's basketball season, as voted upon by a 24-member media panel. Purdue and Ohio State were chosen to finish second and third, respectively. Reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Kalin Lucas was tabbed as Preseason Player of the Year.

Spartans In The NBA
Five former Spartans are currently on NBA rosters, including Charlie Bell (Milwaukee Bucks), Shannon Brown (Los Angeles Lakers), Morris Peterson (New Orleans Hornets), Zach Randolph (Memphis Grizzlies) and Jason Richardson (Phoenix Suns).

The Book On Tom Izzo
Coach Izzo

In his 14th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 350-140 (.714), and 164-72 (.695) 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 a 106-68 win over UMass for his 341st career victory. In his 14 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 .695 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 just 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 163 conference victories, Izzo ranks eighth all-time.

Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 14 seasons, Tom Izzo won 336 games, ranking seventh in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 14 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). Gregory is in his seventh year as head coach, after leaving MSU in the spring of 2003. Crean directed Marquette to the 2003 Final Four, while Heath directed Kent State to the Elite Eight in the 2002 NCAA Tournament. Wojcik is in his fifth season at Tulsa. Mike Garland served as head coach at Cleveland State for three seasons after leaving Izzo's staff in 2003. He is now back as an assistant coach at MSU. Most recently, Jim Boylen left MSU following the 2007 season, and is in his third season with Utah. Stan Joplin, an assistant during Izzo's first season, spent 12 seasons as head coach at Toledo.


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