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MSU Opens Tough Stretch Against Ohio State

The Spartans host Ohio State Saturday night.

Jan. 18, 2013

#18/17 Michigan State (15-3, 4-1) vs. #11/11 Ohio State (13-3, 3-1)
 Date Saturday, Jan. 19
 Time 6 p.m. ET
 Location East Lansing, Mich. | Breslin Center
 Television ESPN (Bob Wischusen, Dan Dakich)
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)
 Tickets Available at
 Game Notes Michigan State | Ohio State
 Statistics  Michigan State | Ohio State
 Internet Coverage   Gametracker | Live Stats (Mobile Users)
 Social Media @MSU_Basketball   |  Facebook

The Last Meeting
Ohio State64
Michigan State68
March 11, 2012
Indianapolis, Ind.
Spartans Claim Big Ten Title Over Buckeyes, 68-64
Brandon Wood scored a season-high 21 points to help No. 8 Michigan State defeat No. 7 Ohio State 68-64 on Sunday in the Big Ten tournament championship game.

In the toughest conference in the nation, Michigan State opens a brutal stretch against the Buckeyes. Eight of the Spartans' next 11 games will come against teams currently ranked in the Top 25. The Buckeyes and Spartans each claimed a share of the 2012 Big Ten Championship in the regular season (with Michigan), with each team winning on the opponent's home court. MSU then won the rubber match in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament championship game.

1. Spartans Start Tough Stretch
The Ohio State marks the beginning of a brutal stretch for the Spartans. Eight of Michigan State's next 11 games are against teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. If you consider that Wisconsin could likely move into the rankings following its win at Indiana, 10 of MSU's next 12 games could come against ranked opponents.

2. Success At Breslin
Michigan State is 321-45 (.877) at home all-time since Breslin Center opened in 1989, including 165-34 (.829) in Big Ten play. Under Tom Izzo, the Spartans are 247-30 (.892) at Breslin, including a 124-21 (.855) conference record. MSU has won 28 of the last 29 games at Breslin.

3. Limiting Turnovers In Conference Play
One early area of concern for Michigan State is the number of turnovers, as the Spartans are averaging 14.4 per game, including four games with 19 or more. In Big Ten play, however, MSU has done a much better job, averaging 11.2 per conference game, including 12 or fewer in each of the last four games (10.5 pg). MSU's primary ballhandler, Keith Appling, is averaging just 2.4 per contest, posting a 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio.

4. Spartans From Buckeye State
Michigan State's roster features three players from the Buckeye State: junior Adreian Payne, sophomore Travis Trice, and freshman Kenny Kaminski. Payne led Jefferson Township High School to the 2010 Division IV state championship, earning Division IV Player of the Year honors. Trice was the 2011 Gatorade Ohio Boys Basketball Player of the Year as a senior at Wayne High School. Kaminski earned second-team all-state honors as a prep junior at Medina, before missing most of his senior season with a shoulder injury. Other Spartans from Ohio under coach Tom Izzo include Delvon Roe (Euclid), Raymar Morgan (Canton), Travis Walton (Lima), Andre Hutson (Trotwood), A.J. Granger (Findlay), Jamie Feick (Lexington), Quinton Brooks (Akron), Jason Andreas (Sugarcreek), Adam Wolfe (Westerville), Garrick Sherman (Kenton) and Doug Davis (Columbus).

5. Payne Against The Buckeyes
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Adreian Payne has played some of his best basketball against Ohio State. In four career games against the Buckeyes, Payne is averaging 9.8 points, shooting .750 (15-of-20) from the field. His best effort was a 15-point game on 6-of-6 shooting on Feb. 11, 2012, in Columbus.

Series History
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Ohio State, 65-54, including a 40-17 advantage in games played in East Lansing. The Spartans have won 25 of the last 36 games in the series. Tom Izzo is 20-11 in his career against the Buckeyes.

Coach Matta
Thad Matta (Butler, `90) is 336-99 in his 13th season as a collegiate head coach, including 234-68 in his ninth season at Ohio State. Prior to his arrival in Columbus, he served as the head coach at Xavier for three seasons and at Butler for one year.

The Last Meeting In East Lansing
Ohio State defeated Michigan State, 72-70, on March 4, 2012, in East Lansing. The Spartans got off to a great start, leading 24-9 at the 10:47 mark. Just over 30 seconds later Branden Dawson suffered a season-ending left ACL injury. Ohio State narrowed MSU's lead to 38-29 at the half. Neither team led by more than five points in the final 12 minutes or more than two points in the final seven minutes. MSU took a 70-68 lead on two Draymond Green free throws with 1:08 left. Aaron Craft responded with a baseline jumper and Green then missed a fadeaway jumper that would have put the Spartans back in front. William Buford responded with a contested jumper from the top of the key with 1.0 second left, providing the final margin. Buford led all scorers with 25 points, 23 of which came after Dawson suffered his knee injury. Green led MSU with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Ohio State, 68-64, on March 11, 2012, in the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game in Indianapolis. It was a tightly contested game throughout, with neither team ever leading by more than seven points, while featuring 16 lead changes, including 12 in the first half. Draymond Green went to the bench after banging his head on the court with 14:02 left in the contest and OSU holding a 52-45 lead. Rather than faulter, MSU rallied, going on a 10-0 run. Brandon Wood sparked the run with an assist on a Derrick Nix dunk and back-to-back 3-pointers. Green then bounced back with a 3-pointer with 1:35 left to give MSU a 67-62 lead. The Spartans were out-rebounded, 43-30, but out-shot the Buckeyes, 48.1 percent to 39.7 percent, and committed just six turnovers. Wood finished with a game-high 21 points, the most he ever scored as a Spartan.

Buckeye Notes
Deshaun Thomas leads the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 20.3 points per contest, including 2.6 3-pointers per contest ... Guards Aaron Craft (4.6 apg) and Shannon Scott (4.6 apg) rank third and fourth in the conference in assists, respectively ... Craft is just six steals shy of becoming Ohio State's career leader ... Ohio State's roster features two Michigan natives: sophomore center Trey McDonald (Battle Creek Central) and sophomore center Amir Williams (Detroit Country Day).

Michigan State defeated Penn State, 81-72, on Jan. 16, in University Park. The Spartans hit 5-of-12 3-pointers in the first half, holding a 29-25 halftime lead, as Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne did not play in the first half for disciplinary reasons. In the second half, PSU claimed a 36-35 lead. A few minutes later, Payne went on a personal 8-0 run, turning a 46-44 lead into a 10-point advantage. Michigan State led by as many 16 points later in the half. Penn State responded with a 12-1 run to pull back within five points at 71-66 with 2:06 remaining. The Spartans put the game away by hitting 8-of-10 free throws in the game's final 1:13.

* Tom Izzo became just the sixth coach in Big Ten history to record 200 conference victories.
* Penn State's duo of D.J. Newbill (27 points) and Jermaine Marshall (29 points) combined to score 56 of PSU's 72 points.
* After sitting out the first half, Adreian Payne scored 20 points and added seven rebounds in 17 second-half minutes.
* Branden Dawson also sat for the entire first half, and recorded five points, five rebounds and three assists in 14 minutes.
* Michigan State committed a season-low seven turnovers, including none in the second half.
* Led by Payne's 20 points, MSU held a 39-10 advantage in bench scoring.

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 fifth in the conference in rebounding (7.2 rpg), fourth in field-goal percentage (.608) and ninth in blocks (1.2 bpg). He also ranks fifth on the Spartans in scoring at 9.1 points per contest, including averaging 14.7 points in the last three games, shooting 17-of-22 (.773) from the field. The main thing limiting Payne's production is foul trouble, as he's played 20 minutes or more in just nine 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.

Appling On Cousy List
Keith Appling is one of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, honoring the nation's top point guard. Appling is one of four Big Ten point guards on the list as he is joined by Michigan's Trey Burke, Ohio State's Aaron Craft and Minnesota's Andre Hollins. In conference games, Appling ranks second in the Big Ten in assists (5.6 apg) and leads the conference in steals (2.4 spg), while ranking fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8). Overall, he ranks sixth in assists (4.5 apg) and sixth in steals (1.7 spg).

In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of +10.8 (35.8-25.0), out-scoring 15 of its 18 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).

Dawson's Recovery
Given the fact that Branden Dawson had ACL surgery just last March (two days after suffering the injury in the regular-season finale vs. Ohio State), it's remarkable that he has not missed even a single practice this season. Over the last three games, he seems to have elevated his play to another level, averaging 12.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in four Spartan wins. Recently, he scored a career-high 17 points at Iowa. On the season, he ranks third on the team in scoring (10.2 ppg), third in rebounding (6.1 rpg), and third in minutes played (26.6 mpg). Still, it's tough to make up for missing the entire summer both in terms of conditioning and skill development.

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 462 of 599 opponents (.771), posting a 368-94 (.797) mark in those games. The Spartans have out-rebounded 17 of 18 opponents this season, losing the only game in which they were out-rebounded (Minnesota). They rank 4th in the Big Ten and 21st in the nation with a +8.0 rebounding margin.

Big Ten Win No. 200
Tom Izzo recorded his 200th Big Ten victory with MSU's 81-72 win at Penn State. He joins Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) and Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) as the only coaches in a power six conference with 200 conference wins at their current school. Mike Montgomery (California) has more than 200 Pac 12 wins, but a majority of those came in a previous stint with Stanford. With 200 Big Ten wins, Izzo trails Bob Knight (353), Gene Keady (265), Ward Lambert (228), Lou Henson (214), and Branch McCracken (210).

Improved 3-Point Shooting
Since the start of Big Ten play, Michigan State has been shooting better from 3-point range. Over the last five games, the Spartans are shooting .403 (27-of-67) from behind the arc, ranking third in the Big Ten. The high percentage can be directly attributed to prolific shooting from Gary Harris (.520; 13-of-25) and Travis Trice (.444; 8-of-18) in conference action.

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 18.6 ppg and 14.3 rpg, with both ranking among the top six in the Big Ten in rebounding. Both of them are also shooting over 53 percent from the field.

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 558-451 (.553) in league play, including 200-91 (.687) under Tom Izzo, who ranks sixth in league history with 200 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 200-91, 15.5 games better than second-place Wisconsin (184-106).

Harris' Immediate Impact
Gary Harris ranks second on the team and leads all Big Ten freshmen in scoring at 12.9 points per contest. If you only consider games in which he played more than a minute, he's averaging 13.8 ppg. 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 14.2 ppg in Big Ten play, leading all conference freshmen. Harris leads MSU in 3-pointers made (28) and attempted (72), and has made .520 (13-of-25) of his shots from behind the arc in conference action.

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 (146) and Connecticut (139). (Through Jan. 18)

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 (427 wins) now trails just 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 .381 from the field, ranking fourth in the Big Ten, including .302 from 3-point range, ranking second. MSU also ranks third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 58.5 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.

There's An App For That
Keith Appling leads the Spartans in scoring (13.7 ppg - 11th Big Ten) and assists (4.5 apg - 6th Big Ten), having led MSU in scoring in nine games, and scoring 20 or more points three times. 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 34 halves of basketball that have followed, the Spartans have shot 50 percent or better 16 times. Through 18 games, MSU is shooting .469 from the field, ranking fourth 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 12 games back, he's averaging 6.5 points, while shooting .442 (19-of-43) 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.

Nix Attacks The Glass
Derrick Nix ranks sixth in the Big Ten in rebounding, averaging 7.1 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 two double-doubles this season. 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 five different starting lineups this year, although the same starting lineup has been used for 10 of the last 11 contests, and 11 games total. Eight current Spartans are averaging more than nine minutes per game, and 10 are averaging 4.8 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.

Appling Takes Over
In several 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. At Iowa, he scored six of his 12 points in the final 1:49, including hitting all four free throw attempts in the final 20 seconds of a three-point Spartan win.

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 (12.9 ppg) and minutes (28.2 mpg). Valentine also has made his mark, ranking second in assists (2.8 apg), fourth in rebounds (4.4 rpg) and fifth in minutes (22.2 mpg). Matt Costello has seen limited action, averaging 4.9 minutes in the 12 games in which he's played.

Second-Chance Points
Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 218-152, in second-chance points for the season. That's an average of +3.7 points per game (12.1-8.4). The Spartans are averaging 11.7 offensive boards per game. MSU has 211 offensive rebounds on the year compared to 381 defensive rebounds for its opponents, good for an offensive rebound percentage of .356.

Dawson Gets Defensive
Branden Dawson has recorded 33 steals (1.8 spg), ranking fourth in the Big Ten, and 21 blocks (1.2 bpg), ranking 11th in the Big Ten. He is the only player 6-foot-6 or taller to rank in the Top 15 in steals, and the only one 6-foot-6 or shorter in the Top 14 in blocks. As a freshman, Dawson collected 29 steals in 31 games. Keith Appling ranks second on the team and sixth in the Big Ten with 30 steals (1.7 spg), while Adreian Payne leads the team and ranks ninth in the Big Ten with 22 blocks (1.2 bpg).

Big Ten Strength
Once again, the Big Ten makes a strong claim as the toughest conference in college basketball. Indiana (No. 2), Michigan (No. 5), Minnesota (No. 9), Ohio State (No. 11), Michigan State (No. 18), and Illinois (No. 23) are all ranked in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 (Jan. 14). 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 seventh in Michigan State history with 89 career blocks. 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.

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").

Coach Izzo
In his 18th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 427-172 (.713), and 200-91 (.687) 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 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 .687 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 (.716), and former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700), and ahead of former Purdue coach Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Ryan (.728), Izzo (.713), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), and Lambert (.709). With 199 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.



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