Men's Basketball Looks For Seventh Win In Last Eight Games
Feb. 10, 2006
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
#12/11 Michigan State (18-5, 6-3) vs. Minnesota (11-9, 2-7)
Radio: Spartan Sports Network - Will Tieman (Play by Play), Gus Ganakas (Color). Flagship - WMMQ 94.9 FM/WJIM 1240 AM
In addition, the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.
For a complete listing of television clearances, visit the official Big Ten Conference web site: http://bigten.collegesports.com/multimedia/big10-television.html
The Opening Tip
The Starting Five
Cracking The Top Ten - Entering the Minnesota contest with 1,540 points, tied for 11th place all-time at MSU, Paul Davis needs just two points to pass Mateen Cleaves (1,541 points) for 10th place on the all-time scoring chart. Davis also ranks in the Michigan State top-10 in several other career statistical categories, including free throws (5th, 421), free throws attempted (4th, 558), rebounds (6th, 819) and blocked shots (4th, 79). (For complete charts, see sidebars on pages 5-6.)
Better On The Boards - Prior to the Michigan State's victory at Northwestern, Tom Izzo publicly challenged his team to become a better rebounding squad. The Spartans have responded, out-rebounding Northwestern and Purdue by a +18.0 margin, including a 38-18 advantage against the Boilermakers. This season, Michigan State ranks second in the Big Ten in rebounding margin (+6.5). The Spartans have out-rebounded 14 of 23 opponents, but just five of nine league opponents. MSU is 13-1 when out-rebounding its opponent, but just 5-4 when not out-rebounding the opposition. In Big Ten games, MSU ranks second with a +4.3 margin. Michigan State has led the league in rebound margin in conference games in eight of Tom Izzo's 10 years as head coach.
Guards Hit The Glass - The Spartans' +18.0 rebounding margin over the last two games can be attributed to some improved rebounding from the perimeter players. Shannon Brown has been the best rebounder at 7.5 rpg, while Maurice Ager is averaging 6.0 rpg, including grabbing 11 against Northwestern. Travis Walton has averaged 5.5 rpg in just 17.0 minutes in the last two games.
MSU In The RPI - Michigan State is ranked No. 6 in the most recent official NCAA RPI, released Feb. 7. Four Big Ten teams are in the top 13 and seven are in the top 25, including No. 7 Iowa, No. 12 Ohio State, No. 13 Illinois, No. 17 Michigan, No. 24 Indiana and No. 25 Wisconsin.
Gopher Notes - After opening Big Ten play with six straight losses, Minnesota has won two of the last three ... Minnesota leads the Big Ten with 9.1 steals per game, led by Adam Boone, who ranks third in the conference (1.95 spg) ... Freshman guard Jamal Abu-Shamala ranks tied for third in the league in 3-point field-goal percentage (.500) ... Vincent Grier is tied for the league lead in minutes played in Big Ten games, averaging 38.78 minutes per contest.
Series History - Minnesota leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 55-51, including a 34-18 advantage in Minneapolis. MSU has won five in a row, including two straight at Williams Arena, and 10 of the last 12. Tom Izzo has a 13-6 all-time record against the Golden Gophers, including a 6-3 mark in Minneapolis.
The Last Meeting - Michigan State defeated Minnesota, 81-62, on Feb. 16, 2005, in East Lansing. The Spartans led 45-31 at the half and opened the second half on a 6-0 run, and Minnesota never got closer than 16 points after that. Shannon Brown led MSU with 18 points, while Maurice Ager added 16. Paul Davis recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, recording his 1,000th-career point in the process. The Spartans shot 57.1 percent from the field and out-rebounded Minnesota, 36-25. Vincent Grier led Minnesota with 19 points.
The Last Meeting In Minneapolis - Michigan State defeated Minnesota, 69-55, on Jan. 22, 2005. Leading 39-34 at the half, Michigan State opened the second half scoring seven of the first nine points to extend its lead to 46-36 with 18:04 left in the game. Minnesota tried to narrow the deficit, but MSU was able to keep its lead between six and 11 points for much of the half. The Gophers made one last surge, pulling to within five points at 58-53. Chris Hill missed a three, but Alan Anderson jumped above everyone to grab the rebound and put back the miss to give MSU a 60-53 lead. The Spartans sealed the win by making 7-of-8 free throw attempts in the final 1:02. Michigan State out-rebounded Minnesota by 15 (40-25). Anderson led MSU with 13 points, shooting 11-of-12 at the foul line, as the Spartans made a season-high 26 free throws.
Game 23 Notes - Michigan State 77 - Purdue 52
The Book On Tom Izzo
Big Ten Best - Tom Izzo's .711 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks first all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service. Former Indiana coach Bob Knight ranks second at .700. In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712) and Izzo (.711). With 123 conference victories, Izzo currently ranks 14th all-time.
Izzo Among Best Ever - Through his first 10 seasons, Tom Izzo won 233 games, ranking seventh in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 10 years.
Graduating Student-Athletes - In Tom Izzo's 10 full years directing the Spartan program, 77 percent of his players who completed their eligibility also left with a degree. In the last six years, 17 Spartans have received their undergraduate degrees, including five each in 2001 and 2003.
Izzo's Coaching Tree - Six current Division I head coaches all served as assistants to Tom Izzo, including Tom Crean (Marquette), Brian Gregory (Dayton), Mike Garland (Cleveland State), Stan Heath (Arkansas), Stan Joplin (Toledo) and Doug Wojcik (Tulsa). Gregory and Garland are in their third years as head coaches, after leaving MSU in the spring of 2003. Crean directed Marquette to the 2003 Final Four, while Heath directed Kent State to the Elite Eight in the 2002 NCAA Tournament. Wojcik is in his first season at Tulsa.
Safe At Home - Tom Izzo owns a career record of 144-19 (.883) in the Breslin Center, including a 109-7 (.940) mark over the last eight seasons. In Big Ten play, Izzo is 75-11 (.872) in Breslin, 56-4 (.933) over the last eight years.
Vs. Ranked Opponents - Tom Izzo has a career record of 58-50 against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. This includes a 51-39 record since 1997-98.
At His Best When It Counts - Tom Izzo ranks second among active coaches for the best NCAA Tournament winning percentage at .767 (23-7). Duke's Mike Krzyzewski ranks first at .786 (66-18), while Louisville's Rick Pitino ranks third at .756 (31-10).
MSU Basketball Notes
Lending A Helping Hand - Michigan State leads the Big Ten in assists, averaging 17.96 per game, while ranking 14th in the nation according to the most recent NCAA statistics (Feb. 7). The Spartans have recorded assists on 65.0 percent (413 assists, 635 field goals) of their field goals this season. In conference games, the Spartans lead the Big Ten, averaging 16.78 assists per game.
1,000-Point Spartans - With 22 points against Northwestern, Shannon Brown (1,001 points) became the 36th player in Michigan State history to score 1,000 career points. He joins Maurice Ager (1,346 points) and Paul Davis (1,540 points) as current Spartans with 1,000 points. Davis ranks tied for 11th in career scoring, Ager ranks 18th and Brown ranks 36th. Ager needs 32 points to pass Julius McCoy (1,377 points) while Davis needs one points to pass Chris Hill (1,540 points) and two to pass Mateen Cleaves (1,541 points). Brown needs 14 points to pass Kevin Smith (1,028 points). Three members of last year's team, Alan Anderson, Chris Hill and Kelvin Torbert, were all 1,000-point scorers.
What Brown Can Do For MSU - Shannon Brown has elevated his play during Big Ten action. He ranks third in the conference in scoring in league games, averaging 19.0 points per contest. Overall, he ranks sixth in the league in scoring at 18.1 ppg. He has topped the 20-point mark in eight of his last 13 games and has led the team in scoring in five of the nine Big Ten contests. Leading into the conference schedule, he was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Dec. 26.
The Big Three - Spartan seniors Maurice Ager and Paul Davis and junior Shannon Brown make up the most dynamic offensive trio in the nation. They are the only trio in which all three members average more than 17 points per game. Through 23 games, they are averaging a combined 55.8 points, or 71.4 percent, of MSU's 78.1 points per game. The trio has each scored 20 points or more in two games (vs. Cleveland State and UW-Green Bay), accomplishing a feat that had not been done at MSU since Feb. 15, 2000. The 1964-65 trio of Bill Washington (21.3), Bill Curtis (19.4) and Marcus Sanders (18.5) is the only other trio in MSU history where each player averaged at least 17 points per game.
Mr. Double-Double - With 11 double-doubles in 22 games this season, Paul Davis has now recorded a double-double in 19 of his last 37 games. Davis elevated his level of play over the last two months of last season, recording a double-double in eight of the final 15 games, including the last four NCAA Tournament contests. His best effort might have come in the Sweet 16 when he out-scored (20 to 19) and out-rebounded (12 to 8) Duke's Shelden Williams. In the Final Four, against North Carolina's Sean May, Davis recorded a career-best 15 rebounds. For his career, he has posted 24 double-doubles.
Ager Challenges For Scoring Title - Maurice Ager ranks second in the Big Ten in overall scoring, averaging 19.5 points per game. Northwestern's Vedran Vukusic leads the league at 20.8 ppg, while Ager's teammates, Paul Davis (18.2 ppg) and Shannon Brown (18.1 ppg), rank fifth and sixth, respectively. A Spartan has not led the league in overall scoring since Shawn Respert's 25.6 ppg paced the conference in 1995.
1,500-800 Club - Paul Davis (1,540 points, 819 rebounds) is just the second player in MSU history to record 1,500 career points and 800 career rebounds, joining Greg Kelser (2,014 points, 1,092 rebounds). Davis is also the 31st player in Big Ten history to reach this milestone.
Tough Starts - Michigan State opened the Big Ten season with five straight games against teams ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll at the time of the game, including three games on the road (at No. 6 Illinois, at No. 24 Wisconsin, No. 8 Indiana, at No. 16 Ohio State and No. 25 Iowa). The Spartans are the only team in the nation to open conference play with as many as four games against ranked opponents. Prior to this season, the Spartans had never played five straight conference games against ranked teams.
Chairman Of The Boards - Paul Davis ranks second in the Big Ten in rebounding, averaging 9.5 boards per contest. Iowa's Greg Brunner (10.2 rpg) leads the league. A Spartan has not led the Big Ten in rebounding since Antonio Smith in 1996-97 (10.6 rpg). With 819 rebounds, he now ranks sixth all-time in MSU history. He needs 16 boards to tie Andre Hutson for fifth place.
All-Around Stars - While Maurice Ager and Shannon Brown give Michigan State the most athletic wing duo in the nation, they have worked to become better all-around players. Besides ranking second in the Big Ten in scoring at 19.5 points per game, Ager is averaging career bests in rebounding (4.3 rpg), assists (3.1 apg) and steals (0.8 spg). The same can be said for Brown, who is averaging career bests in scoring (18.1 ppg), rebounds (3.9 rpg), assists (2.8 apg) and steals (1.6 spg).
Lending A Helping Hand - Drew Neitzel ranks third in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.58-to-1 and fourth in assists, averaging 5.61 per game. Over the last 17 games, he has a 3.10-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. His best effort in that stretch was a nine assist, one turnover effort against Arkansas-Little Rock. In his last game, he recorded six assists and one turnover against Purdue.
Trannon As A Starter - Matt Trannon has started the last seven games, averaging 5.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 26.1 minutes. In 15 games this season, he is averaging 4.5 points and 4.2 boards. The ultimate "glue-guy," Trannon adds toughness, defensive skills and athleticism to the lineup since joining the team after the conclusion of the football season. As a wide receiver on the football team, he ranked second on the squad in receptions, with 40 for 573 yards and four touchdowns.
Davis Earns Big Ten Honor - Paul Davis was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Jan. 16 after averaging 20.5 points and 11.0 rebounds in a pair of Spartan victories over No. 9/8 Indiana and No. 19/16 Ohio State. He scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against the Hoosiers, and recorded 18 points and 12 rebounds at Columbus. This marked the second time this season and the fifth time in his career that Davis earned the weekly league honor. On Nov. 28, Davis was recognized after averaging 22.5 points and 12.3 rebounds in four games, including the Maui Invitational.
Free Basketball - Michigan State has played three overtime games this season, including a triple-overtime game with Gonzaga and a double-overtime win at Ohio State, along with an overtime win over Arizona. The six overtime periods tie the school record, equalling the 1987-88 Spartans who played five overtime games, including one double-overtime contest.
Midseason All-Americans - As conference play gets underway, some analysts are releasing midseason All-America teams. ESPN's Jay Bilas put Maurice Ager on his Preconference All-America First Team, along with Kentucky's Rajon Rondo, Duke's J.J. Redick, Gonzaga's Adam Morrison and Texas' LeMarcus Aldridge. Paul Davis earned a spot on Bilas' second team. Shannon Brown earned a spot on Bilas' Preconference All-Defensive Team. CBS Sportsline's Gregg Doyel put both Ager and Davis on his All-America team with Morrison, Redick and Villanova's Randy Foye. Ager was also named second-team All-America by SI.com.
A High Octane Offense - Michigan State ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring offense, averaging 78.1 points per game. Last season, MSU led the Big Ten and ranked 13th nationally in scoring offense, averaging 78.5 points per game.
Non-Conference Victories - Michigan State won 12 non-conference games this season, establishing a school record since joining the Big Ten in 1950-51. The 1989-90, 1998-99 and 2000-01 squads won 11 non-conference games during the regular season.
Playing A Lot Of Minutes - Shannon Brown (34.7 mpg), Maurice Ager (34.6 minutes), Drew Neitzel (32.1 mpg) and Paul Davis (31.0 mpg) are all averaging more than 30 minutes per game. By comparison, Michigan State was the only Big Ten team last season without a single player averaging 30 minutes per game. In fact, Davis led MSU in minutes played at 26.9 per game.
Ager Hits The Boards - Through the first 99 games of his career, Maurice Ager had never grabbed more than nine rebounds. In his 100th career game, Ager grabbed 10 boards against Cleveland State. He bettered that effort in game No. 101, recording 14 boards against Florida International. Recently, he grabbed 11 rebounds at Northwestern.
Impressive Figures - Maurice Ager is currently averaging 19.5 points per game. It's the best scoring average by a Spartan since Shawn Respert averaged 25.6 points as a senior in 1994-95. Paul Davis is currently averaging 9.5 rebounds, the best mark by a Spartan since Antonio Smith averaged 10.6 boards in 1996-97.
Ager's Improved Decision Making - One of the biggest improvements in Maurice Ager's game is his decision making. Recently, it can be seen in his assist-to-turnover ratio. After opening the season with eight assists and 15 turnovers in the first five games, he has totaled 64 assists and 41 turnovers in the last 18 contests. In fact, he recorded a career-best six assists against Boston College. He has recorded five assists or more in seven of the last 18 games, after having never tallied more than four in the first 95 games of his career. This is the first time in his career he has more assists than turnovers.
Freshmen Contributions - Eight active Spartans are currently averaging more than 10 minutes per game (Drew Naymick averaged 10.6 minutes in the first seven games, but will apply for a medical redshirt after the season). Of those eight, three are freshmen in Marquise Gray, Goran Suton and Travis Walton. A true freshman, Walton is the primary reserve in the backcourt averaging 18.2 minutes, 2.1 points and 2.5 assists, while playing strong defense. Gray and Suton are redshirt freshmen getting their first taste of college basketball. Suton is averaging 3.0 points and 3.0 boards in 15.0 minutes per contest, while Gray is averaging 3.5 points and 3.8 boards per game and has started seven contests.
An Offensive Threat - By his own admission, Drew Neitzel just tried to run the offense last season as a true freshman point guard and get the ball to the other weapons on the team. He recorded an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.1-to-1, but averaged just 3.5 points per game and attempted just 3.4 shots per contest. A prolific scorer in high school, Neitzel is looking to score more this season. He is averaging 9.2 points and 6.9 shots per game, while maintaining a 2.58-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Winning The Right Way - In addition to excelling on the court, the Spartans are standouts in the classroom. Seventeen Spartans have received their undergraduate degrees over the last six years, including five each in 2001 and 2003.
Spartans In The NBA - Listed below is an update on seven former Spartans currently on NBA rosters: (Stats through Jan. 30)
Alan Anderson (Charlotte): 16 GP, 12.8 mpg, 4.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 0.8 apg Charlie Bell (Milwaukee): 20 GP, 13.4 mpg, 4.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.0 apg Mateen Cleaves (Seattle): 19 GP, 9.3 mpg, 3.4 ppg, 0.5 rpg, 1.7 apg Morris Peterson (Toronto): 44 GP, 39 GS, 34.5 mpg, 13.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.0 apg Zach Randolph (Portland): 41 GP, 39 GS, 35.6 mpg, 17.6 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.0 apg Jason Richardson (Golden State): 41 GP, 41 GS, 38.8 mpg, 22.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.8 apg Eric Snow (Cleveland): 42 GP, 42 GS, 28.5 mpg, 5.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 4.3 apg
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