Feb. 11, 2013
THE OPENING TIP
The Last Meeting
February 5, 2012
East Lansing, Mich.
Michigan State hosts Michigan in the first of two meetings between the intra-state rivals in the last four weeks of the season. This marks the third straight meeting between the Spartans and Wolverines with both squads ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. MSU is tied with Indiana for first place in the Big Ten, with Michigan and Wisconsin just one game back.
THE STARTING FIVE
1. Balanced Scoring
Michigan State presents a balanced scoring attack, especially in Big Ten games, where four Spartans average double-figures in scoring, and five average 9.5 points or more. Keith Appling, Branden Dawson, Gary Harris, Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne have all led the Spartans in scoring during Big Ten play, and all five have scored 20 points in at least one game this season, including four of them doing it in Big Ten games.
2. Limiting Turnovers In Conference Play
One area of concern for Michigan State is the number of turnovers, as the Spartans are averaging 13.7 per game, including five games with 19 or more. In Big Ten play, however, MSU has done a much better job, averaging 11.5 per conference game, including four games with 10 or fewer. MSU has recorded 14 or fewer turnovers in nine of 11 Big Ten games, winning all nine. On the season, MSU is 11-1 when committing the same number or fewer turnovers than its opponent.
3. Success At Breslin
Michigan State is 324-45 (.878) at home all-time since Breslin Center opened in 1989, including 168-34 (.832) in Big Ten play. Under Tom Izzo, the Spartans are 250-30 (.893) at Breslin, including a 127-21 (.858) conference record. MSU has won 31 of the last 32 games at Breslin.
4. Improved 3-Point Shooting
Since the start of Big Ten play, Michigan State has been shooting better from 3-point range. Over the last 11 games, the Spartans are shooting .410 (64-of-156) from behind the arc, ranking second in the Big Ten. The high percentage can be directly attributed to prolific shooting from Adreian Payne (.583; 7-of-12), Gary Harris (.519; 28-of-54) and Travis Trice (.385; 10-of-26) in conference action. Keith Appling has also been on target lately, hitting 11-of-21 in the last five games (.361; 13-36 in Big Ten play).
5. Ranked Rivals
Tuesday's game marks the 170th meeting between Michigan State and Michigan, but just the ninth when both squads enter the game ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. However, this is the third straight contest where both teams are ranked. MSU owns a 5-3 advantage in the previous eight meetings.
MSU VS. MICHIGAN NOTES
Michigan leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 94-75. The Spartans, however, own a 46-36 advantage in games played in East Lansing. MSU has won 19 of the last 25 games overall, and 12 of the last 13 at Breslin Center. Tom Izzo is 19-11 in his career against the Wolverines.
John Beilein (Butler, `90) is 662-398 in his 35th season as a collegiate head coach, including 111-80 in his sixth season at Michigan. His coaching career also includes stints at West Virginia, Richmond, Canisius, LaMoyne, Nazareth and Erie Community College.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Michigan, 64-54, on Feb. 5, 2012, in East Lansing. The Spartans used an early 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 halftime lead, 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, finishing with as many rebounds as the entire Michigan squad. For the game, MSU held a 40-16 edge on the glass, and a 16-3 margin in second-chance points. The Spartan defense was also strong, holding Michigan to 39.6 percent shooting for the contest. Zack Novak led the Wolverines with 14 points.
Michigan is one of the top offensive teams in the Big Ten, ranking second in scoring offense (77.0), field-goal percentage (.498) and 3-point field-goal percentage (.407) ... The Wolverines lead the conference in turnover margin (+3.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6) ... Three different Wolverines (Nik Stauskas-59, Tim Hardaway Jr.-49, and Trey Burke-46) have made 46 or more 3-pointers on the season, each shooting better than 37 percent from behind the arc.
GM. 24 RECAP MICHIGAN STATE 78 - PURDUE 65
Michigan State defeated Purdue, 78-65, on Feb. 9, in West Lafayette, Ind. An early 14-4 run gave the Spartans a 21-12 lead midway through the first half. At the 3:04 mark, MSU had extended its advantage out to 13 points at 31-18. But with Keith Appling on the bench in foul trouble, the Boilermakers scored the final five points of the half. Purdue scored the first basket of the second half to pull within six. MSU answered with a 10-1 run to extend its lead out to 41-26. Branden Dawson scored eight of his career-high 20 points during the run. After that, Purdue never got closer than 10 points. The Spartans were efficient on the offensive end, shooting .491 from the field and .833 from the foul line, while committing just nine turnovers. MSU also out-rebounded Purdue, 31-27, and held a 12-7 edge in second-chance points.
MSU VS. PURDUE NOTES
* Gary, Ind., native Branden Dawson scored a career-high 20 points, hitting 7-of-9 shots from the field, and 6-of-6 from the foul line.
* Keith Appling scored 14 of his 17 points, and Derrick Nix scored 11 of his 17 in the second half.
* MSU posted single-digit turnovers (9) for the second straight game, committing just three in the second half.
* With its fifth straight win over Purdue, Michigan State equaled its longest win streak in the series.
* Michigan State recorded 13 steals, its season high in a Big Ten game.
* Matt Costello played a season-high 13 minutes.
MSU BASKETBALL NOTES
Harris Ranks Among Best MSU Freshmen Ever
Gary Harris is on his way to turning in one of the best freshman campaigns in Michigan State history. His 12.7 ppg overall scoring average ranks third in school history behind just Earvin Johnson (17.0) and Shawn Respert (15.8). With 43 made three-pointers he also ranks third, trailing Chris Hill (66) and Shawn Respert (60), while ranking third with 101 3-point attempts. As the season progresses, look for Harris to move into the top five in other MSU freshman records.
Michigan State's 20-4 start is among the best starts of the Tom Izzo era. Only the 2000-01 squad had a better 24-game record at 21-3. The 1998-99, 2004-05, 2007-08, and 2008-09 teams also started 20-4. In fact, the 1994-95 and 1977-78 squads are the only other MSU teams to open at 20-4.
Appling Approaches 1,000 Points
With 976 points, Keith Appling is just 24 points shy from becoming the 43rd player in Michigan State history to record 1,000 career points. He would also become just the 29th player to reach the milestone in three seasons.
Strong Second Halves
Recently, Michigan State has made a habit of very strong second halves. Over the last three games, the Spartans are averaging 47.7 points on .656 shooting in the second half, after averaging 25.3 points on .380 shooting in the first half. MSU is also averaging 23.3 free throw attempts in the second half, compared to 2.3 in the first half.
Harris Paces Big Ten Freshmen
In Big Ten games, Gary Harris ranks second among conference freshmen in scoring, averaging 13.0 points per contest. Harris leads Big Ten freshmen in 3-point percentage in conference games at .519 (28-of-54), ranking fourth among all players, and 3-point field goals made (2.5), ranking tied for second among all players. Defensively, he is tied for the lead among Big Ten freshmen with 1.5 steals per game. He also leads conference freshmen in overall scoring at 12.7 ppg.
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 play eight games against opponents currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 (Feb. 11) in a span of 12 games, and nine in the top 26 in the next 12 contests. The Michigan game is the seventh in a string of 12 games that will see the Spartans play eight games against teams that currently own a .500 or better conference record.
There's An App For That
Keith Appling leads the Spartans in scoring (14.1 ppg - 10th Big Ten) and assists (4.1 apg - 5th Big Ten), having led MSU in scoring in 12 games, and scoring 20 or more points four times, all coming in Spartan wins. He's also shown a knack to elevate his play in the final minutes of games. 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." He was named captain on Jan. 20. Following his 24-point, 8-rebound, 7-assist game against Illinois, he was named Co-Big Ten Player of the Week on Feb. 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 7-2 in games decided by five points or less, including 3-1 in conference games. In the last three minutes of conference games, MSU is shooting .486 (18-37) from the field, and .797 (47-59) from the foul line, averaging just 0.6 turnovers per game (seven in 11 games).
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 466 of 605 opponents (.770), posting a 371-95 (.796) mark in those games. The Spartans have out-rebounded 21 of 24 opponents this season, having been out-rebounded just twice (Minnesota both times). They rank 3rd in the Big Ten and 21st in the nation with a +6.5 rebounding margin.
Payne's Improved Play
Over the last nine games, Adreian Payne is averaging 12.1 points, shooting 40-of-64 (.625) from the field, including 7-of-12 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 tied for sixth in the conference in rebounding (6.8 rpg), third in field-goal percentage (.590) and ninth in blocks (1.2 bpg). He also ranks fourth on the Spartans in scoring at 9.5 points per contest. The main thing limiting Payne's production is foul trouble, as he's played 20 minutes or more in just 15 games. He's recorded three double-doubles this season, each one of them in 22 minutes or less. However, he is averaging 31.5 minutes over the last six games, recording four of the five 30-minute games of his career.
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 10 games, he seems to have elevated his play to another level, averaging 12.6 points and 7.2 rebounds, including career highs in both scoring (20 points at Purdue) and rebounding (13 rebounds at Wisconsin). On the season, he ranks third on the team in scoring (10.9 ppg), second in rebounding (6.5 rpg), and third in minutes played (27.4 mpg).
Payne's Block Party
Junior center Adreian Payne ranks sixth in Michigan State history with 95 career blocks. Ken Johnson ranks fifth with 96, while Matt Steigenga ranks fourth with 97. Earlier this season, Payne equaled his career high with four blocks against Kansas.
Appling On Cousy List
On Feb. 7, Keith Appling made the cut to one of 12 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, honoring the nation's top point guard. Appling is one of three Big Ten point guards on the list as he is joined by Michigan's Trey Burke and Ohio State's Aaron Craft. In conference games, Appling ranks tied for fourth in the Big Ten in assists (4.1 apg), third in steals (1.8 spg), and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9). Overall, he ranks fifth in assists (4.2 apg) and seventh in steals (1.6 spg).
With its victory at Purdue, Michigan State recorded its 13th 20-win season in the last 16 years, all under head coach Tom Izzo. Of the 21 20-win seasons in Spartan history, Izzo has been involved in 18 of them, 13 as a head coach and five as an assistant.
Dawson Gets Defensive
Branden Dawson has recorded a team-best 44 steals (1.8 spg), ranking fourth in the Big Ten, and 24 blocks (1.0 bpg), ranking second on the team and tied for 12th 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 seventh in the Big Ten with 38 steals (1.6 spg), while Adreian Payne leads the team and ranks ninth in the Big Ten with 28 blocks (1.2 bpg).
In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of +10.6 points (34.4-24.5), out-scoring 19 of its 24 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). On the season, the Spartans have scored 49.4 percent of their points in the paint (826 of 1673).
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 205 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 563-452 (.555) in league play, including 205-92 (.690) under Tom Izzo, who ranks sixth in league history with 205 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 205-92, 17 games better than second-place Wisconsin (188-109).
Harris' Immediate Impact
Gary Harris ranks second on the team and leads Big Ten freshmen in scoring at 12.7 points per contest. If you only consider games in which he played more than a minute, he's averaging 13.3 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 13.0 ppg in Big Ten play, ranking second among conference freshmen. Harris leads MSU in 3-pointers made (43) and attempted (101), and has made 51.9 percent (28-of-54) 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 168 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 (154), Kentucky (149), Duke (147) and Connecticut (140). (Through Feb. 10)
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 18.7 ppg and 13.1 rpg. Both of them are also shooting 52 percent or better from the field.
Four different Spartans have posted a double-double this season. Adreian Payne (Nicholls State, Loyola, Tuskegee) and Branden Dawson (Connecticut, Purdue, Wisconsin) lead the way with three. Derrick Nix (Tuskegee and Texas) has two, while Denzel Valentine (Oakland) has one.
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 .390 from the field, ranking fourth in the Big Ten, including .313 from 3-point range, ranking fourth. MSU also ranks third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 59.2 points per contest. In MSU's two conference losses, the Spartans have allowed 75.5 points on .538 shooting, as Minnesota and Indiana are the only two Big Ten teams to shoot over 50 percent from the field.
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 46 halves of basketball that have followed, the Spartans have shot 50 percent or better 19 times. On the season, MSU is shooting .468 from the field, ranking third in the Big Ten.
Nix Attacks The Glass
Derrick 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. Eight current Spartans are averaging 9.0 minutes or more per game, and 10 are averaging 5.0 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." Against Illinois, Appling scored 19 of his game-high 24 points in the second half, scoring or assisting on 11 of MSU's 14 second-half field goals. He scored nine points in the game's final 4:22.
Another Izzo Milestone
Tom Izzo became the third-winningest coach in Big Ten history with Michigan State's win vs. Purdue on Jan. 5. The victory was win No. 424, passing Lou Henson (423 wins; 1975-96). Izzo (432 wins) now trails just Bob Knight (662; 1971-2000) and Gene Keady (512; 1980-2005).
Freshmen Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine have made key contributions early in their Spartan careers. Harris ranks second on the squad in scoring (12.7 ppg) and minutes (28.6 mpg). Valentine also has made his mark, ranking second in assists (2.5 apg), fourth in rebounds (4.0 rpg) and sixth in minutes (21.0 mpg). Matt Costello has seen limited action, averaging 5.2 minutes in the 18 games in which he's played.
Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 272-212, in second-chance points for the season. That's an average of +2.5 points per game (11.3-8.8). The Spartans are averaging 11.0 offensive boards per game, with an offensive rebound percentage of .347.
Big Ten Strength
Once again, the Big Ten makes a strong claim as the toughest conference in college basketball. Indiana (No. 1), Michigan (No. 4), Michigan State (No. 8), Ohio State (No. 13), and Wisconsin (No. 20) are all ranked in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 (Feb. 11). To make matters more difficult for MSU, the Spartans will play a combined eight games against those four 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.
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. On Jan. 20, Izzo announced that Keith Appling was added as a team captain.
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.
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").
THE BOOK ON TOM IZZO
In his 18th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 432-173 (.714), and 205-92 (.690) 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 CBSSports.com 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 .690 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 (.711), 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 (.725), Izzo (.714), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), and Lambert (.709). With 205 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.