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#9 Michigan State Travels To #20 Michigan

Draymond Green and Tom Izzo lead the Spartans against Michigan Tuesday night.

Jan. 16, 2012

#9/9 Michigan State (15-3, 4-1) vs. #20/9 Michigan (14-4, 4-2)
 Date Tuesday, Jan. 17
 Time 7 p.m. ET
 Location Ann Arbor, Mich. | Crisler Center
 Television ESPN (Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich, Samantha Steele)
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)
 Tickets Not Available
 Game Notes Michigan State | Michigan
 Statistics  Michigan State | Michigan
 Internet Coverage   Gametracker
 Social Media @MSU_Basketball   |  Facebook

Coach Izzo Press Conference
Spartan Players Press Conference

The Opening Tip
Michigan State looks to bounce back from its first conference loss of the season as it travels to Michigan. This is the first meeting between the Spartans and Wolverines where both teams have been ranked since Feb. 17, 1998. MSU is playing its fourth road game in its first six Big Ten contests.

The Starting Five
1. Spartans On The Road

Michigan State is 4-1 in true road games this season, including wins over #23 Gonzaga and #18 Wisconsin - two of the toughest places to win in the country. One of the keys to the Spartans' road success has been their defense, holding opponents to .379 shooting, including .300 from 3-point range. Draymond Green has elevated his play on the road, averaging 19.8 points and 10.2 rebounds, including scoring a career-high 34 points at Gonzaga.

2. Versus Ranked Opponents
Michigan State is 3-2 against ranked opponents this season, including road wins over #23 Gonzaga and #18 Wisconsin. Both Draymond Green and Keith Appling are scoring better against ranked opponents. Green raises his scoring average from 15.3 ppg vs. non-ranked to 17.2 against ranked opponents. Appling's difference is even greater, averaging 15.2 points against ranked teams, compared to 12.0 vs. non-ranked squads. Appling scored just five points vs. North Carolina, fouling out in 19 minutes, but is averaging 17.8 points in his last four games against ranked teams.

3. Strong Spartan Defense
Michigan State's defensive effort has been impressive this season. The Spartans are allowing just 60.8 points (ranking 41st in the nation through Jan. 15) on .379 shooting (18th in nation), including .302 from 3-point range (41st in nation). MSU also ranks 44th in the nation in steals (8.3 spg). The Spartans rank fourth in the Big Ten in scoring defense, second in field-goal percentage defense and second in 3-point field-goal percentage defense.

4. Finding The Long Distance Connection
Through the first six games of the season, MSU was shooting just .269 from 3-point range (32-119). In the last 12 games, however, the Spartans have been on target, connecting on .439 of their shots (76-173) from behind the arc. In the first 16 games of the season, the Spartans made nine 3-pointers just once. In the last two games, however, MSU has made 10 vs. Iowa and nine vs. Northwestern, knocking down .528 (19-36) of their shots from 3-point range.

5. Spartan Double-Doubles
Four different Spartans have recorded a double-double this season. Draymond Green leads the way with 10 double-doubles in the season's first 18 games, leading the Big Ten. Green has posted a double-double in three straight games and six of the last eight. Adreian Payne, Brandon Wood and Branden Dawson have each recorded one double-double.

MSU vs. Michigan Notes
Series History

Michigan leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 93-74, including a 57-29 advantage in games played in Ann Arbor. MSU has won 18 of the last 23 games overall, and seven of the last 11 at Crisler Arena. Tom Izzo is 18-10 in his career against the Wolverines.

Coach Beilein
John Beilein (Butler, `90) is 557-346 in his 30th season as a four-year collegiate head coach, including 81-71 in his fifth season at Michigan. His coaching career also includes stints at West Virginia, Richmond, Canisius, LaMoyne, Nazareth and Erie Community College.

The Last Meeting
Michigan defeated Michigan State, 70-63, on March 5, 2011, in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines got off to a quick start, holding a 10-1 lead at the 15:17 mark, and pushing it out to 15-3 with 12:54 left in the half. The Spartans cut the lead to five, but another Michigan run gave the Wolverines a 33-19 edge with 2:25 left in the half. Two Spartan 3-pointers cut the deficit to eight at the half. MSU kept chipping away at the lead in the second half and a 7-0 run trimmed the margin to two points at 56-54 with 5:33 remaining. But Michigan State couldn't creep any closer and Michigan emerged with a 70-63 victory. Kalin Lucas scored 23 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, while Tim Hardaway Jr., scored all 20 of his after the break. The Spartans shot just 32.8 percent for the contest, their lowest percentage of the Big Ten season.

Wolverine Notes
Michigan ranks second in the Big Ten with 8.3 made 3-pointers per contest as five different players have made 25 or more on the season ... Jordan Morgan ranks second in the conference with his .645 field-goal percentage ... Tim Hardaway Jr., paces the team in overall scoring (15.7 ppg), but in conference games, freshman Trey Burke leads the way (17.0 ppg) ... 44.3 percent of Michigan's field-goal attempts are from 3-point range ... The Wolverines have won 12 straight games at Crisler Center.

Gm. 18 Recap
Northwestern 81 - Michigan St. 74

Michigan State got off to a quick start, hitting nine of its first 10 shots in jumping out to a 25-16 lead with 9:17 left in the first half. Northwestern showed it wouldn't go away, using a 7-1 run to cut the Spartan lead to 26-23. When Alex Marcotullio hit back-to-back 3-pointers, the Wildcats took a 36-34 lead with 1:21 left in the half. After a timeout, Brandan Kearney hit a three, reclaiming a one-point lead for MSU. In the half's final possession, NU's John Shurna hit a deep 3-pointer, giving the Wildcats a 39-37 lead at the half.

Northwestern would not give up the lead in the second half. MSU trailed 51-48 at the 14:42 mark following a Keith Appling 3-point play. The Spartan defense forced a Wildcat miss, but Shurna grabbed the rebound resulting in a Reggie Hearn layup. The play sparked a 9-2 run that pushed the Wildcat lead to 60-50, and the Spartans could never get closer than five points after that.

MSU vs. Northwestern Notes
* The loss snapped MSU's 15-game winning streak, it's longest single-season winning streak since 1999.
* Northwestern shot 50.0 percent from the field, the highest percentage for a Spartan opponent this season.
* Michigan State shot 65.0 percent in the first half (13-20), but just 34.4 percent in the second half (11-32).
* The Spartans were outscored in the paint, 32-28, for just the third time all season.
* Michigan State recorded 19 assists on 24 baskets.

MSU Basketball Notes
Lending A Helping Hand

Michigan State ranks 12th in the nation and second in the Big Ten in assists with 16.9 per game (NCAA ranking through Jan. 15). The Spartans have recorded an assist on 61.5 percent of their baskets. Over the last 11 games, the Spartans are averaging 19.4 assists. Individually, Keith Appling is averaging 5.0 assists in the last 11 contests.

Big Ten Success
Michigan State has won 12 Big Ten Championships, including two of the last three, 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 545-446 (.550) in league play, including 187-86 (.685) under Tom Izzo, who ranks sixth in league history with 187 conference wins. Izzo has guided MSU to six of its 12 league crowns. Since Izzo's first season (1995-96), MSU has a Big Ten-best record of 187-85, 16.5 games better than second place Wisconsin (171-103).

Big Ten Dominance
It's just five games into the season, so the sample size is small, but Michigan State is impressive in the Big Ten only stats. The Spartans lead the conference in assists (15.6 apg), offensive rebound percentage (.389) and defensive rebounds (26.0 drpg), while ranking second in scoring offense (76.0 ppg), FG% (.498), scoring margin (+11.6), FG% defense (.396), 3-Pt. FG% (.426), rebounding margin (+8.0), blocks (t-2nd, 4.4 bpg), steals (7.8 spg) and assist/turnover ratio (1.3). In total, of the 21 statistical categories, MSU ranks in the top two in 13 of them in Big Ten games.

MSU's Mr. Everything
Coach Izzo has explained that he hasn't had a player asked to do as much for a team as Draymond Green, and the numbers prove it. In addition to being the unquestioned leader of the squad, Green leads the team in scoring (15.8 ppg), rebounding (10.1 rpg), minutes (32.8 mpg), steals (27) and blocks (21), while ranking second in assists (3.4 apg). He leads the Big Ten in rebounding and defensive rebounds (7.6 drpg), while ranking second in offensive rebounds (2.5 orpg), sixth in scoring, tied for eighth in blocks, 10th in minutes (32.8 mpg), 11th in steals, tied for 12th in assists and 14th in 3-point field-goal percentage (.407).

Mr. Spartan
While Draymond Green's statistical contributions are significant and impressive, his best quality is his leadership. Green is in his third year as a captain, becoming just the fifth three-time captain in school history. Coach Tom Izzo recently called Green "the perfect Spartan," saying that he's becoming "the face of Michigan State athletics" like Mateen Cleaves or Kirk Cousins. Said Izzo, "I have something that you don't get very often ... I've got a guy who is my voice. And he's kind of my personality, which makes it even better for me."

Appling Locks Them Up
Besides everything Keith Appling provides on the offensive end of the floor, leading the team in assists and ranking second in scoring, he is perhaps even more impressive on the defensive end where he is emerging as one of the premier defenders in the league. Named MSU's Best Defensive Player as a freshman, Appling is terrific at running through screens and not allowing his man an open look. Consider two of his more recent efforts. UMKC's Reggie Chaimberlain entered the game averaging 19.0 points, but was limited to 2 points on 1-of-8 shooting. IU's Jordan Hulls was held to 4 points on 2-of-10 shooting, after entering the contest averaging 12.1 points.

Spartans Shooting Better
Michigan State got off to a slow start in terms of field-goal percentage this season, shooting .306 from the field against North Carolina outdoors on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Over the first six games of the season, MSU shot .423 from the field and .238 from 3-point range. In the last 12 games, however, MSU has shown dramatic improvement, hitting .507 from the field and .439 from 3-point range. The Spartans have shot over 50 percent in six of the last 11 games, including three contests better than 61 percent. In league games, MSU ranks second in the conference at .498.

It's All About Boardwork
After leading the nation in rebounding margin in both 2009 (+9.3) and 2010 (+8.6), Michigan State ranked 48th in the nation last season at +4.0. The Spartans have shown a better effort in 2011-12, out-rebounding 17 of 18 opponents by a +10.1 margin, including five by 15 or more, leading the Big Ten and ranking fifth in the nation (through Jan. 15). The Spartans have led the nation in rebounding margin in four of the last 12 seasons, ranking in the top 10 seven times and the top 25 on 10 occasions. MSU has led the Big Ten in rebounding margin in 11 of the last 14 years. In the Tom Izzo era, MSU has out-rebounded 433 of 562 opponents (.770), posting a 342-91 (.790) mark in those games.

Consistent Starting Lineup
Michigan State has used the same starting lineup (Keith Appling, Branden Dawson, Draymond Green, Adreian Payne, Brandon Wood) for 16 of its 18 games. The only changes came against Eastern Michigan when Derrick Nix started in place of Payne, and vs. Lehigh when Austin Thornton started in place of Green.

Becoming A Point Guard
Keith Appling has been asked to make the transition from the wing to point guard for Michigan State this season. As the season progresses, Appling seems more at home in his new position. While he did not have an assist in the first two games of the season, he's averaging 4.3 assists in his last 16 games with a 2.2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He was named Co-Big Ten Player of the Week on Dec. 5 and then again on Jan. 2. He's averaging 5.0 assists in the last 11 games, including a career-best 9 vs. Iowa, and has seven or more assists in five of the last 11 games. He owns a 2.6-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in the last 11 contests. In conference games, he ranks second in the Big Ten with 5.0 assists per game and third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3).

Defending The Three
Last season, Michigan State ranked eighth in the Big Ten, allowing teams to shoot .364 from 3-point range. This year, the Spartans rank second in the conference, allowing opponents to shoot just .302 from behind the arc. MSU has held six opponents to a .250 or lower shooting percentage from behind the arc. That happened just four times all of last season. Nine opponents have shot under .300, including three of the last four.

Wood Heating Up
Over the last eight games, Brandon Wood, MSU's senior transfer from Valparaiso, is averaging 10.9 points, adding 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.8 turnovers, while shooting .548 from the field (34-of-62), including .444 from 3-point range (12-of-27). He scored in double figures in just one of his first six games this season, but has done it six times in the last 12 contests, including a season-high 20 points vs. Nebraska Omaha.

Coming Of Age
It took some time, but freshman Branden Dawson is showing signs of the game that earned him McDonald's All-America honors last season. Over the last eight games he's averaging 9.3 points, including a season-high 16 vs. UMKC, shooting .608 from the field. On the season, Dawson is averaging 8.1 points and 4.5 rebounds, ranking fourth on the squad in scoring and second in rebounding. He scored in double figures in three of the season's first 10 games, but has scored 13 or more in three of the last eight.

Three-Headed Scoring Attack
Three Spartans have emerged as Michigan State's leading scorers, as Draymond Green (15.8 ppg), Keith Appling (12.9 ppg) and Brandon Wood (10.1 ppg) are all averaging double figures. It's been more pronounced over the last 12 games as the trio is averaging a combined 42.2 points (Green-17.4, Appling-14.0, Wood-10.8). As a group, they outscored Florida State, 56-49.

Second-Chance Points
Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 257-170, in second chance points for the season. That's an average of +5.9 points per game (14.3-9.4). The Spartans are averaging 13.3 offensive boards per game, ranking second in the Big Ten. MSU has 240 offensive rebounds on the year compared to 365 defensive rebounds for its opponents, good for an offensive rebound percentage of .397, ranking first in the conference. The Spartans have grabbed 20 or more offensive boards three times this season.

What A Difference A Year Makes
Through the first 18 games of the season, Derrick Nix is averaging 7.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 18.3 minutes per contest. That's a contrast to last season when Nix averaged just 2.7 points and 2.0 rebounds for the season. Nix has even elevated his play recently, averaging 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in the last 11 games. In the first 73 games of his career, Nix scored in double figures just three times; he's done it five times in the last 11 contests. He's been MSU's first sub in 16 of the 17 games in which he's come off the bench.

Guard Rebounding
One of the reasons that MSU is able to rank among the nation's leaders in rebounding margin is that its guards have been strong on the glass. The Spartans' starting backcourt of Keith Appling (3.4 rpg), Brandon Wood (2.7 rpg) and Branden Dawson (4.5 rpg) averages 10.6 boards per contest.

New Faces
Six of the 11 players in the Spartan playing group are seeing their first action in a Michigan State uniform (Russell Byrd, Branden Dawson, Alex Gauna, Brandan Kearney, Travis Trice, Brandon Wood). The six are averaging 37.5 percent of the scoring and 41.3 percent of the minutes. There are just two players on the 2011-12 roster (Keith Appling and Draymond Green) who averaged more than 20 minutes per game last season for MSU.

Climbing The Rebounding Charts
With 883 career rebounds, Draymond Green ranks seventh in MSU history, four behind Goran Suton (887) in sixth place and 23 behind Mike Peplowski (906) in fifth place. He also has a shot at becoming just the fourth player in MSU history with 1,000 career boards, and the third player with 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds, joining Greg Kelser and Johnny Green. Given that the Spartans play 31 regular season games, at least one game in the Big Ten Tournament and possibly at least one postseason game, Green (10.1 rpg) would need to average 9.03 rebounds this season to reach 1,000 for his career. This season, Green leads the Big Ten and ranks 22nd in the nation in rebounding. He also ranks ninth in the nation with nine double-doubles.

Balanced Scoring
Six different Spartans have led Michigan State in scoring this season. Draymond Green (eight times), Keith Appling (five times), Branden Dawson (twice), Brandon Wood (twice), Austin Thornton and Travis Trice have each paced MSU. Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne also have scored in double figures at least once this season, making eight different players to score 10 or more in a game.

The Turnover Story
One area of concern for the Spartans has been the turnovers. MSU is committing 13.9 per game (although just 12.3 in the last 10 games), while forcing 14.6 by its opponents. The Spartans are averaging 17.1 points per game off opponent turnovers, compared to 12.6 points by opponents off MSU turnovers. The Spartans are 9-0 when committing fewer turnovers than their opponent, but 5-3 when they have more (1-0 when turnovers are equal).

In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of 37.1-23.7, out-scoring 15 of its 18 opponents. The Spartans even out-scored No. 1 North Carolina in the paint, 34-32, despite the Tar Heels having what some consider to be the premier frontline in the country.

Getting To The Foul Line
Over the first five games of the season, Michigan State was shooting just .629 from the foul line. That has improved recently, as the Spartans are shooting .723 over the last 13 games. For the season, MSU is shooting .695 from the foul line, averaging 22.9 attempts per game.

Green's Weekly Honors
One week after Keith Appling was named Big Ten Player of the Week, Draymond Green earned the honor on Dec. 12, sharing it with Indiana's Christian Watford. Green earned the honor on the strength of his career-high 34-point effort in MSU's win at Gonzaga. For the week, he averaged 24.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He was also named National Player of the Week by's Andy Katz and ESPN's Dick Vitale.

The 1,000-Point Club
With a second-half tip-in vs. Florida State, Draymond Green became the 42nd player in MSU history to reach the 1,000 point mark for his career. With 1,201 points, he ranks 28th in MSU history, needing 12 to move past Kirk Manns and Ken Redfield (1,212 points) and 42 to move past Stan Washington (1,242 points).

Playing The Best
Since the 1997-98 season (including 2011-12 - through Jan. 14), the year of Michigan State's first of 14 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans have played 151 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 (145), Connecticut (139), Kentucky (139) and Duke (137).

Toughest Start Ever
Michigan State opens the season with the toughest start in the nation with back-to-back neutral-site contests vs. No. 1 North Carolina and No. 6 Duke. MSU is the first team to open the season against North Carolina and Duke in back-to-back games since Wake Forest and North Carolina State did it in November 1976. Michigan State also has never opened a season with two games against ranked opponents.

Big Ten Contenders
Michigan State was picked third by a panel of media in the 2011-12 Big Ten preseason poll. Ohio State and Wisconsin were picked to finish first and second, respectively. Draymond Green found a spot on the preseason all-conference team, joining Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, Purdue's Robbie Hummel, Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor.

Draymond On Awards Lists
Senior forward Draymond Green is a familiar face among all the new ones in the Michigan State lineup. A three-year captain, Green is on the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 and the Naismith Award Watch list. He's also one of 30 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.

An Experienced New Face
Although he had never played a minute for Michigan State prior to this season, senior Brandon Wood brings a wealth of college basketball experience to the Spartan lineup. A two-time All-Horizon League performer at Valparaiso the last two seasons, Wood transfered to MSU in May after receiving his sports marketing and business degree. NCAA rules allow an institution to apply for a waiver to allow a student-athlete to transfer without sitting out a season, provided the student-athlete has earned a bachelor's degree, has eligibility remaining and is enrolling in a graduate-level program. In two seasons at Valpo, Wood scored 1,117 points, including averaging 17.7 ppg as a sophomore and 16.7 ppg as a junior. He's also performed at a high level against some of the nation's best teams, scoring 30 points vs. North Carolina, 24 vs. Michigan State and 21 vs. Purdue as a sophomore, followed by 20 vs. Purdue as a junior. This year, Wood's started all 18 games for MSU, ranking third on the team in scoring at 10.1 ppg.

In The Rankings
Six different Spartan opponents are ranked in at least one of the two polls, including Duke (4 AP/4 USA Today), Ohio State (6/6), North Carolina (8/8), Indiana (11/13), Michigan (20/19) and Illinois (22/25). MSU is ranked No. 9 by the AP and No. 9 by ESPN/USA Today.

U-S-A, U-S-A
Keith Appling and Draymond Green both benefitted from their experiences with USA Basketball over the summer. Green was a member of the World University Games team, averaging 8.6 points and 6.0 rebounds, ranking second on the team in boards, and serving as a distributor from the forward position. Appling played with the FIBA U19 World Championship team, averaging 4.1 points and 10.3 minutes per contest, gaining some valuable experience at the point.

Same Name, Different Spellings
Among MSU's newcomers, three have the same first name, but it's spelled three different ways. Branden Dawson, Brandan Kearney and Brandon Wood each have a different second-to-last lettter in the first name. Pay close attention to eliminate typos.

The Book On Tom Izzo
Coach Izzo

In his 17th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 398-164 (.708), and 187-86 (.685) 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 16 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 .685 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks third all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind Wisconsin's Bo Ryan (.708), and former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700) and just ahead of former Purdue coach Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Ryan (.728), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Lambert (.709) and Izzo (.708). With 187 conference victories, Izzo ranks sixth all-time.

Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 16 seasons, Tom Izzo won 383 games, ranking sixth in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 16 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 (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. Jim Boylen was head coach at Utah for four years.



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