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First-Place Spartans Travel To Wisconsin

The Spartans play at Wisconsin on Tuesday night.

Jan. 21, 2013

#13/11 Michigan State (16-3, 5-1) vs. Wisconsin (13-5, 4-1)
 Date Tuesday, Jan. 22
 Time 7 p.m. ET
 Location Madison, Wis. | Kohl Center
 Television ESPN (Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich, Samantha Ponder)
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)
 Tickets Available at
 Game Notes Michigan State
 Statistics  Michigan State | Wisconsin
 Social Media @MSU_Basketball   |  Facebook

The Last Meeting
Michigan State65
March 10, 2012
Indianapolis, Ind.
No. 8 Spartans Advance to Championship, Top No. 14 Badgers, 65-52
Draymond Green scored 14 points and had 16 rebounds Saturday to lead No. 8 Michigan State past No. 14 Wisconsin 65-52 in the Big Ten tournament semifinals. It's the first time the Spartans (26-7) will play for the league's postseason title since 2000.

Three weeks into the Big Ten season, the Spartans find themselves as part of a virtual four-way tie for first place, with MSU, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin all having one conference loss. Tuesday's game marks the fifth in 13 days for the Spartans, while it is second game of a stretch that will see Michigan State play 10 of its next 12 games against teams that currently own a winning conference record.

1. Spartans In Tough Stretch
Michigan State is in the early stages of a tough stretch of games. Beginning with the home game vs. Ohio State, Michigan State will face seven opponents currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 (Jan. 21) in a span of 11 games, and nine in the top 27 in the next 12 contests. The Wisconsin game is just the second in a string of 12 games that will see the Spartans play 10 games against teams that currently own a winning conference record.

2. Payne's Improved Play
Over the last four games, Adreian Payne is averaging 14.5 points, shooting 22-of-28 (.786) from the field, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range. A look at the Big Ten stats shows that Payne is one of the premier big men in the Big Ten, ranking fifth in the conference in rebounding (7.1 rpg), fourth in field-goal percentage (.620) and 10th in blocks (1.2 bpg). He also ranks fifth on the Spartans in scoring at 9.4 points per contest. The main thing limiting Payne's production is foul trouble, as he's played 20 minutes or more in just 10 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. He recently played a career-high 32 minutes against Ohio State.

3. Limiting Turnovers In Conference Play
One area of concern for Michigan State is the number of turnovers, as the Spartans are averaging 14.3 per game, including four games with 19 or more. In Big Ten play, however, MSU has done a much better job, averaging 11.5 per conference game, including 11.0 in the last five games.

4. Winning the Close Ones
In the Big Ten where the margin between winning and losing can be so slim, it's important to come through in late game situations. That's been a strength for a Spartan team that is 5-1 in games decided by five points or less, including 2-0 in conference games. In the last three minutes of conference games, MSU is shooting .542 (13-24) from the field, and a remarkable .889 (24-27) from the foul line, averaging just 0.8 turnovers per game.

5. Dawson Gets Defensive
Branden Dawson has recorded a team-best 35 steals (1.8 spg), ranking fifth in the Big Ten, and 21 blocks (1.1 bpg), ranking second on the team and 13th 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 32 steals (1.7 spg), while Adreian Payne leads the team and ranks 10th in the Big Ten with 22 blocks (1.2 bpg).

Series History
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Wisconsin, 72-60, although the Badgers own a 43-23 advantage in games played in Madison. The home team has won 13 of the last 14 games played on a college campus, with the lone exception being MSU's win at Madison last January.

Coach Ryan
Bo Ryan (Wilkes, `69) is 664-209 in his 29th season as a collegiate head coach, including 281-106 in his 13th year at Wisconsin. Prior to his arrival in Madison, Ryan coached at UW-Milwaukee for two years (1999-2001) and at UW-Platteville for 15 seasons (1984-99), winning four Division III National Championships. Bo Ryan is tied for with the legendary John Wooden for 37th place on the NCAA all-time wins list.

The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Wisconsin, 65-52, on March 10, 2012, in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. The Badgers started strong, scoring the game's first nine points, and holding a 20-9 lead midway through the first half. Austin Thornton responded by hitting three straight 3-pointers to spark a 12-0 run. MSU would close the first half on a 26-5 run, and did not allow a field goal after the 10:13 mark. The Spartans then opened the second half on an 11-2 run, leading by as many as 19 points. The Badgers quickly cut the lead to six points at the 12:18 mark, but would not score again for 7:50 as MSU put the game away with an 11-0 spurt. Draymond Green scored 12 of his 14 points and grabbed 11 of his 16 rebounds in the second half. Thornton finished with 12 points, knocking down all four 3-point attempts. The Spartans shot 50.0 percent from the field, while holding the Badgers to 34.7 percent shooting. Jordan Taylor (19 points) and Ryan Evans (18 points) combined for 37 of Wisconsin's 52 points.

The Last Meeting In Madison
Michigan State defeated Wisconsin, 63-60, in overtime on Jan. 3, 2012, in Madison. Wisconsin held a slim 22-21 lead at the half, but the Spartans held a narrow lead for most of the second half. With 3:19 left, Keith Appling hit a driving layup to give MSU a 50-45 lead, but the Spartans wouldn't score again in regulation. When Jordan Taylor hit one of two free throws with 35 seconds left, the game went into overtime tied at 50. In the extra period, MSU held a 61-54 lead with 31 seconds left. Two Jordan Taylor 3-pointers pulled UW within three at 63-60. Draymond Green then missed two free throws after hitting the first six in overtime. Taylor missed a three and Ryan Evans grabbed the rebound, racing out to the 3-point arc, where he hit a turn-around bank shot as the horn sounded, tying the game. After a lengthy replay, officials ruled the shot came after the clock was at 0.0, giving MSU a 63-60 win. For the game, MSU shot 40.0 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from 3-point range, holding Wisconsin to 33.3 percent, including 22.7 percent from behind the arc. Taylor led all scorers with 28. Green paced MSU with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Appling added 16 points, 11 of which came after Green picked up his fourth foul.

Badger Notes
The Wisconsin frontline features three seniors, including two fifth-year seniors ... Jared Berggren ranks second in the Big Ten in blocked shots (1.9 bpg) ... Wisconsin leads the Big Ten in scoring defense (55.8 ppg), but ranks just seventh in field-goal percentage defense (.401) ... In conference games, Ryan Evans ranks third in rebounding (8.2 rpg).

Michigan State defeated Ohio State, 59-56, on Jan. 19, in East Lansing. The Spartans got off to a great start, leading 10-0 and 13-2. The Buckeyes responded with a 15-0 run, as Michigan State went 6:37 without a point. The Spartans would make another run and take a 30-26 lead into the half. MSU could never quite shake the Buckeyes in the second half, as its largest lead was seven points at 46-39. OSU quickly responded with a 6-0 run. The game was tied at 50 on Deshaun Thomas' sixth 3-pointer with 2:59 remaining. Following a turnover from each team, the Spartans got the ball into Adreian Payne who made a layup and was fouled, converting on a three-point play. OSU then hit three of four free throws on its next two possessions tying the game at 53 in the final minute. Keith Appling responded with a driving layup with 41 seconds left. Aaron Craft then missed an open 3-pointer from the corner. Branden Dawson then soared for the rebound and hit a streaking Appling for a breakaway dunk. OSU responded with a transition three, but Appling hit two free throws with 7.9 seconds left to give the Spartans a 59-56 lead. OSU missed its last second 3-pointer, giving MSU the victory.

* Tom Izzo coached his 600th career game.
* It was the 200th Big Ten game played in Breslin Center.
* MSU's 59 points tied a season low and were the fewest it had scored in a home game since Feb. 27, 2011 (47 vs. Purdue), and the fewest it had scored in a home victory since Feb. 6, 2010 (54 vs. Wisconsin).
* Keith Appling scored or assisted on MSU's final nine points, including scoring the final six in the last 41 seconds.
* MSU held a 34-14 edge in points in the paint.
* MSU held a 12-3 edge in second-chance points.
* MSU started Keith Appling, Gary Harris, Branden Dawson, Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix for the first time since the opening two games of the season.

Appling Against The Badgers
Keith Appling is averaging 12.0 points in five career games against the Badgers, shooting .514 from the field. Last season, he averaged 16.3 points in three games. In MSU's win at Madison, he scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and overtime, 11 of which came after Draymond Green picked up his fourth foul. He led MSU with 20 points against UW in East Lansing, and added 13 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals. He's been especially productive at the foul line, hitting 18-of-21 (.857) free throws, including 17-of-20 (.850) last season.

MSU's Center Tandem
Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne combine to give Michigan State a steady inside presence. Although they often will take the floor together, at least one of them is usually in the game. Combined, they average 18.8 ppg and 14.0 rpg, with both ranking among the top six in the Big Ten in rebounding. Both of them are also shooting over 52 percent from the field.

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 (5.2 apg), second in steals (2.3 spg), and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2). Overall, he ranks tied for fifth in assists (4.4 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 +11.3 points (35.7-24.4), out-scoring 16 of its 19 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), Texas (30-16), and Ohio State (34-14).

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 five games, he seems to have elevated his play to another level, averaging 11.4 points and 7.2 rebounds in five Spartan wins. Recently, he scored a career-high 17 points at Iowa. On the season, he ranks third on the team in scoring (10.1 ppg), third in rebounding (6.3 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 463 of 600 opponents (.772), posting a 369-94 (.797) mark in those games. The Spartans have out-rebounded 18 of 19 opponents this season, losing the only game in which they were out-rebounded (Minnesota). They rank 4th in the Big Ten and 16th in the nation with a +8.1 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 201 Big Ten wins, Izzo trails Bob Knight (353), Gene Keady (265), Ward Lambert (228), Lou Henson (214), and Branch McCracken (210).

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 559-451 (.553) in league play, including 201-91 (.688) 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 201-91, 16.5 games better than second-place Wisconsin (184-107).

Harris' Immediate Impact
Gary Harris ranks second on the team and leads all Big Ten freshmen in scoring at 12.6 points per contest. If you only consider games in which he played more than a minute, he's averaging 13.4 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 13.2 ppg in Big Ten play, leading all conference freshmen. Harris leads MSU in 3-pointers made (28) and attempted (74), and has made 48.1percent (13-of-27) 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 166 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. 20)

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 (428 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 .382 from the field, ranking third in the Big Ten, including .309 from 3-point range, ranking fifth. MSU also ranks third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 58.4 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 (13.8 ppg - 11th Big Ten) and assists (4.4 apg - t-5th Big Ten), having led MSU in scoring in 10 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."

Improved 3-Point Shooting
Since the start of Big Ten play, Michigan State has been shooting better from 3-point range. Over the last six games, the Spartans are shooting .375 (30-of-80) from behind the arc, ranking fifth in the Big Ten. The high percentage can be directly attributed to prolific shooting from Gary Harris (.481; 13-of-27) and Travis Trice (.400; 8-of-20) in conference action.

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 36 halves of basketball that have followed, the Spartans have shot 50 percent or better 16 times. Through 19 games, MSU is shooting .468 from the field, ranking fourth in the Big Ten.

Nix Attacks The Glass
Derrick Nix ranks sixth in the Big Ten in rebounding, averaging 6.9 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, as the Spartans returned to the lineup it used to open the season in the last game against Ohio State. Eight current Spartans are averaging more than nine minutes per game, and 10 are averaging 4.9 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 At Winning Time
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, this time converting on a three-point play to give MSU a 73-68 advantage. 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. Against Ohio State, he had a direct hand in MSU's final nine points, including scoring the Spartans final six points in the last 41 seconds; assisting on Adreian Payne's three-point play, driving past Aaron Craft for a go-ahead layup, scoring on a breakaway dunk and sealing the game with two free throws with 7.9 seconds left. After the OSU victory, Coach Tom Izzo remarked "Appling at winning time has been as good as anybody."

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 (12.6 ppg) and minutes (28.2 mpg). Valentine also has made his mark, ranking second in assists (2.7 apg), fourth in rebounds (4.2 rpg) and fifth in minutes (21.7 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, 230-155, in second-chance points for the season. That's an average of +3.9 points per game (12.1-8.2). The Spartans are averaging 11.6 offensive boards per game. MSU has 221 offensive rebounds on the year compared to 400 defensive rebounds for its opponents, good for an offensive rebound percentage of .356.

Big Ten Strength
Once again, the Big Ten makes a strong claim as the toughest conference in college basketball. Michigan (No. 2), Indiana (No. 7), Minnesota (No. 12), Michigan State (No. 13), and Ohio State (No. 14) are all ranked in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 (Jan. 21). 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 428-172 (.713), and 201-91 (.688) 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 .688 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 (.712), 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 (.726), Izzo (.713), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), and Lambert (.709). With 201 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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