Feb. 7, 2012
The Opening Tip
Michigan State welcomes Penn State to Breslin Center Wednesday for the only meeting of the regular-season between the Spartans and Nittany Lions. MSU is coming off a 10-point win over Michigan, while PSU fell at Iowa on Saturday. The Spartans are looking to maintain their perfect 14-0 home record, while the Nittany Lions are looking for their first conference road win.
The Starting Five
1. Success At Breslin
Michigan State is 308-44 (.875) all-time since Breslin Center opened in 1989, including 160-33 (.829) in Big Ten play. Under Tom Izzo, the Spartans are 234-29 (.890) at Breslin, including a 119-20 (.856) conference record. MSU is 14-0 at Breslin Center this season and has won 15 straight home games.
2. Dawson's Emergence
Branden Dawson scored in single digits in his first six Big Ten games. He's become a much more effective scorer in the last four games, averaging a team-best 13.0 ppg and grabbing 6.0 boards per contest. He started with a 14-point effort vs. Purdue, followed with a career-high tying 16-point game vs. Minnesota, and posted a 12-point, career-high 13-rebound double-double at Illinois. He's shooting .618 (21-of-34) from the field over the last four games. He's scored in double-figures 10 times this season, and ranks fourth in the team in scoring at 8.8 ppg. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Jan. 30.
3. Green Attacks The Glass
Draymond Green leads the Big Ten at 10.5 rebounds per game, ranking 13th in the nation (through Feb. 5), including a conference-best 11.4 rebounds per game in league contests. His 10.5 average is the best for a Spartan since Antonio Smith averaged 10.6 rpg as a sophomore in 1996-97. Goran Suton led the Big Ten in rebounding in 2009, and prior to that, the last Spartan to pace the conference was Smith in 1997. Green has grabbed double-figure rebounds in 15 games, including seven of the last eight and 10 of the last 13. He has led MSU in rebounding in 18 of 23 games this season. He's recorded 14 or more boards in four of the last eight games.
4. Spartan Double-Doubles
Four different Spartans have recorded a double-double this season. Draymond Green leads the way with 12 double-doubles, pacing the Big Ten and ranking 15th in the nation (through Feb. 5). Green has posted a double-double in eight of the last 13 games. Branden Dawson has posted two double-doubles, and Adreian Payne and Brandon Wood have each recorded one double-double. Green has tallied 30 career double-doubles. He (14.8 ppg, 10.5 rpg) is looking to become the first Spartan to average a double-double since Mike Peplowski in 1993 (14.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg).
5. Strength of Schedule
According to ESPN.com's InsideRPI Daily (Feb. 6), Michigan State's strength of schedule ranks No. 2 in the country, trailing only Colorado State. The Spartans have played 12 of 23 games vs. the RPI Top 100 and 15 of 23 vs. the RPI Top 150.
MSU vs. Penn State Notes
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Penn State, 29-7, including an 18-1 advantage in East Lansing. The Spartans have won 13 of the last 17 games in the series. Tom Izzo is 22-6 in his career against Penn State.
Patrick Chambers (Philadelphia University, '94) is 52-42 in his third season as a collegiate head coach, including 10-14 in his first season at Penn State. Before his arrival in University Park, Chambers spent two seasons at Boston University, making the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
The Last Meeting
Penn State defeated Michigan State, 61-48, on March 12, 2011, in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. MSU got off to a quick start, taking a 14-4 lead less than five minutes into the game, but PSU battled back and the game was tied at 26 at the half. Early in the second half, the Nittany Lions used an 8-0 run, including back-to-back 3-pointers from Talor Battle, to take a 36-29 lead. The Spartans were never closer than 10 points in the game's final 10 minutes. Battle led all scorers with 25 points, and Tim Frazier added 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Nittany Lions. Kalin Lucas led MSU with 16 points, but the Spartans shot just 32.1 percent from the field. PSU held a 38-32 advantage on the glass.
The Last Meeting In East Lansing
Michigan State defeated Penn State, 75-57, on Feb. 10, 2011, in East Lansing. Draymond Green was the story of the game as he became just the third player in MSU history to record a triple-double with 15 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. The Spartans jumped out to a quick 15-3 lead, hitting their first six shots of the game. MSU led 41-21 at the half, shooting 59.3 percent, while PSU shot 34.6 percent. For the game, MSU shot 52.4 percent, holding PSU to 41.1 percent. MSU held a 38-23 advantage on the glass. Kalin Lucas led all scorers with 24 points, while Delvon Roe added 15 points. Talor Battle led PSU with 19 points but shot 7-of-20 from the field and 3-of-11 from 3-point range.
Nittany Lion Notes
Penn State leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds (13.5 orpg) ... Tim Frazier leads Penn State in scoring (18.3 ppg), rebounding (4.8 rpg) and assists (6.3 apg). He leads the conference in assists per game and minutes played, and ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring and steals ... The game against Michigan State will be Penn State's fifth against a ranked opponent in the last six contests ... The Nittany Lions have struggled shooting, connecting on just .383 of their shots, including .308 from 3-point range ... Ten players average 11 minutes per game or more, but just four players have appeared in all 24 contests.
Gm. 23 Recap
Michigan St. 64 - Michigan 54
The contest was tied at 5 more than six minutes in, when MSU used a 20-6 run to claim a 25-11 lead. Sixteen of MSU's 20 points during the run were scored in the paint. After that, MSU's lead never dipped below eight points and remained in double figures for much of the game. MSU held a 30-22 lead at the half, shooting 59.1 percent from the field and holding a 16-7 edge on the glass. In the second half, MSU extended its lead to 16 just over seven minutes in. Every time Michigan tried to make a run, the Spartans had an answer, led by Draymond Green who posted eight points and 10 rebounds in the second half alone, en route to a 14-point, 16-rebound double-double. MSU held a 24-9 edge in second-half rebounds, finishing with a final margin of 40-16. The Spartan defense was also strong, holding Michigan to 39.6 percent shooting for the contest.
MSU vs. Michigan Notes
* Draymond Green became just the fourth Big Ten player since 1996-97 to have as many rebounds (16) as the opponent totaled. (Courtesy of STATS, LLC)
* With 14 points and 16 rebounds, Green recorded his 30th career double-double, tops among current Big Ten players.
* Green played 38 minutes after leaving the game at Illinois on crutches with a knee injury five days earlier.
* MSU recorded its 19th win over Michigan in the last 25 games in the series.
* After allowing Michigan to shoot .511 in Ann Arbor (season high for Spartan opponent), MSU's defense held UM to .396 from the field.
* MSU's +24 rebounding margin (40-16) was the second largest of the season and the largest in Big Ten play.
* Michigan State held a 16-3 edge in second-chance points, including a 10-0 margin in the second half.
* In two games this season, Michigan has grabbed five total offensive rebounds.
* MSU held a 36-20 advantage in points in the paint.
* For the first time all season, Brandon Wood came off the bench, responding with nine points, four rebounds and four assists.
* Branden Dawson scored 10 points, after tallying just four in Ann Arbor. He's scored in double figures in four straight games since that contest at Michigan.
MSU Basketball Notes
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 .293 from behind the arc (.288 in conference games). MSU has held eight opponents to a .250 or lower shooting percentage from behind the arc. That happened just four times all of last season. Twelve opponents have shot under .300, including five of the last eight.
Strong Spartan Defense
MSU's defensive effort has been impressive this season. The Spartans are allowing just 59.1 points (ranking 19th in the nation through Feb. 5) on .379 shooting (9th in nation), including .293 from 3-point range (19th in nation). MSU also ranks 49th in the nation in blocks (4.6 bpg) and 59th in steals (7.9 spg). The Spartans rank third in the Big Ten in scoring defense, second in field-goal percentage defense and second in 3-point field-goal percentage defense. Only two teams have shot 50 percent or better from the field, while 16 have shot under 40 percent, including three below 30 percent.
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 17 games, however, the Spartans have been on target, connecting on .411 of their shots (97-236) from behind the arc. In league games, MSU ranks third in the conference at .382.
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 548-447 (.551) in league play, including 190-88 (.683) under Tom Izzo, who ranks sixth in league history with 190 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 190-88, 15.5 games better than second place Wisconsin (175-104).
Spartans Earn Weekly Big Ten Honors
Two Spartans were honored by the Big Ten office on Jan. 30. Draymond Green was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the second time this season, sharing the award with Nebraska's Brandon Richardson. Green was also honored on Dec. 12. Branden Dawson becomes the first Spartan to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors. Keith Appling has been named player of the week twice this season.
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 (14.8 ppg), rebounding (10.5 rpg), minutes (32.6 mpg), steals (34) and blocks (24), while ranking second in assists (3.5 apg). He leads the Big Ten in rebounding and defensive rebounds (7.9 drpg), while ranking tied for third in offensive rebounds (2.3 orpg), ninth in blocks, 10th in steals, 10th in scoring, tied for 10th in assists, and 13th in assist/turnover ratio.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo recorded his 400th win at MSU with the Spartans' 68-52 win over Minnesota. The school's all-time winningest coach with 401 wins, he is just the fourth coach to win 400 games at a Big Ten institution, joining Bob Knight (661 wins), Gene Keady (512) and Lou Henson (423).
Lending A Helping Hand
Michigan State ranks 18th in the nation and lead the Big Ten in assists with 16.2 per game (NCAA ranking through Feb. 5). The Spartans have recorded an assist on 60.6 percent of their baskets. Over the last 16 games, the Spartans are averaging 17.5 assists. Individually, Keith Appling is averaging 4.6 assists in the last 16 contests.
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 17 games, however, MSU has shown dramatic improvement, hitting .496 from the field and .411 from 3-point range. The Spartans have shot over 50 percent in nine of the last 16 games, including four contests at 60 percent or better. In Big Ten games, MSU leads the conference at .484.
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 21 of 23 opponents by a +10.5 margin, including seven by 15 or more, leading the Big Ten and ranking third in the nation (through Feb. 5). 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 437 of 567 opponents (.771), posting a 344-93 (.787) 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 20 of its 23 games. Appling and Dawson have started all 23 games, while Green, Payne and Wood have started 22.
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 4.1 assists in his last 21 games with a 1.8-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 4.6 assists in the last 16 games, including a career-best 9 vs. Iowa, and has seven or more assists in five of the last 16 games. He owns a 2.0-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in the last 16 contests. In conference games, he ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 4.3 assists per game and eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6).
Three-Headed Scoring Attack
Three Spartans have emerged as Michigan State's leading scorers, as Draymond Green (14.8 ppg), Keith Appling (11.9 ppg) and Brandon Wood (8.9 ppg) are all averaging at least 8.9 ppg. It's been more pronounced over the last 17 games as the trio is averaging a combined 37.0 points (Green-15.6, Appling-12.3, Wood-9.1). As a group, they outscored Florida State, 56-49.
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 (3.2 rpg), Brandon Wood (2.8 rpg) and Branden Dawson (4.6 rpg) averages 10.6 boards per contest.
Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 316-216, in second chance points for the season. That's an average of +4.3 points per game (13.7-9.4). The Spartans are averaging 12.9 offensive boards per game, ranking second in the Big Ten. MSU has 297 offensive rebounds on the year compared to 449 defensive rebounds for its opponents, good for an offensive rebound percentage of .398, ranking first in the conference. The Spartans have grabbed 20 or more offensive boards four times this season.
What A Difference A Year Makes
Derrick Nix is averaging 7.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 18.9 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 9.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in the last 16 games. In the first 73 games of his career, Nix scored in double figures just three times; he's done it seven times in the last 16 contests, scoring eight or more points in 11 of the last 16 games. He's been MSU's first sub in 20 of the 22 games in which he's come off the bench.
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 37.4 percent of the scoring and 40.7 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 944 career rebounds, Draymond Green ranks fourth in MSU history, 72 behind Antonio Smith (1,016) in third place. He 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 (10.5 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 13th in the nation in rebounding (through Feb. 5). He also ranks 15th in the nation with 12 double-doubles.
Seven different Spartans have led Michigan State in scoring this season. Draymond Green (10 times), Keith Appling (five times), Branden Dawson (four times), Brandon Wood (twice), Derrick Nix, Austin Thornton and Travis Trice have each paced MSU. Adreian Payne also has 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 13.7 per game (although just 12.6 in the last 16 games), while forcing 13.8 by its opponents. The Spartans are averaging 16.0 points per game off opponent turnovers, compared to 12.0 points by opponents off MSU turnovers. The Spartans are 10-0 when committing fewer turnovers than their opponent, but 6-5 when they have more (2-0 when turnovers are equal).
In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of 35.7-23.3, out-scoring 19 of its 23 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 .720 over the last 18 games. For the season, MSU is shooting .697 from the foul line, averaging 21.5 attempts per game.
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 1,257 points, he ranks 25th in MSU history, needing 19 to move past Quinton Brooks (1,275 points).
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 ESPN.com's Andy Katz and ESPN's Dick Vitale. He earned his second Big Ten weekly honor on Jan. 30.
Playing The Best
Since the 1997-98 season (including 2011-12 - through Feb. 6), the year of Michigan State's first of 14 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans have played 152 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 (141), Kentucky (139) and Duke (137).
Toughest Start Ever
Michigan State opened 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.
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 Midseason Top 25 and the Naismith Award Watch lists. He's also one of 10 finalists 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 has started 22 of 23 games for MSU, ranking third on the team in scoring at 8.9 ppg.
In The Rankings
Seven different Spartan opponents are ranked in at least one of the two polls, including Ohio State (3 AP/3 USA Today), North Carolina (5/5), Duke (10/9), Florida State (15/17), Wisconsin (21/22), Michigan (22/25), and Indiana (23/t-23). MSU is ranked No. 11 by the AP and No. 12 by ESPN/USA Today.
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
In his 17th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 401-166 (.707), and 190-88 (.683) 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 .683 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks fourth all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind Wisconsin's Bo Ryan (.709), former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700), and 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 (.707). With 189 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.