Feb. 15, 2012
|#7/8 Michigan State (20-5, 9-3) vs. #15/17 Wisconsin (19-6, 8-4)|
|Date||Thursday, Feb. 16|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Location||East Lansing, Mich. | Breslin Center|
|Television||ESPN (Dave O'Brien, Stephen Bardo) | Watch Online|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network (Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Wisconsin|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Wisconsin|
|Internet Coverage||Gametracker | Live Stats (Mobile Users)|
|Social Media||@MSU_Basketball | Facebook|
The Opening Tip
Michigan State hosts Wisconsin on Thursday to open a stretch of five games in 13 days. The Spartans are coming off a big road win at No. 3 Ohio State, but there is no time to let up as they are facing a Badger team that might be the hottest team in the conference, having won seven of its last eight. The game features the top two defenses in the conference.
The Starting Five
1. Spartan Staples
Tom Izzo has built the Michigan State program on rebounding and defense, two elements at which the Spartans are exceling this season. MSU is holding teams to a .374 field-goal percentage, the lowest total of the Tom Izzo era. The previous low was .384 in 2006-07. MSU's rebounding margin of +10.2 is the third-best margin of the Izzo era, and the best since posting a +15.4 margin in 2001. MSU currently ranks fifth in the nation in field-goal percentage defense and third in rebounding margin, as the only team in the nation to rank in the Top 5 in both categories (Through Feb. 12).
2. Success At Breslin
Michigan State is 309-44 (.875) all-time since Breslin Center opened in 1989, including 161-33 (.830) in Big Ten play. Under Tom Izzo, the Spartans are 235-29 (.890) at Breslin, including a 120-20 (.857) conference record. MSU is 15-0 at Breslin Center this season and has won 16 straight home games.
3. How Valuable Is Draymond?
Draymond Green has led MSU in rebounding in 20 of 25 games, including 11 of 12 Big Ten contests. In fact, the only one he didn't lead in was at Illinois where he played just 16 minutes due to foul trouble and injury. He's led MSU in scoring in 11 games, and paced the Spartans in assists in seven contests. He's the only player in the Big Ten to rank in the top 10 in scoring (9th), rebounding (1st) and assists (10th). In fact, no other player in the Big Ten ranks in the Top 15 in all three categories.
4. Versus Ranked Opponents
Michigan State is 5-3 against ranked opponents this season, including road wins over #23 Gonzaga, #18 Wisconsin, and #3 Ohio State and a home wins over #13 Indiana and #23 Michigan. In MSU's five wins over ranked opponents, the Spartan defense has been outstanding, holding opponents to 58.8 points on .369 shooting. Offensively, Draymond Green (17.8 ppg) and Keith Appling (14.6 ppg) pace the Spartans in wins over ranked opponents. The five wins over ranked opponents tie MSU with Missouri, Ohio State and Notre Dame for the most in the nation.
5. Strength of Schedule
According to ESPN.com's InsideRPI Daily (Feb. 15), Michigan State's strength of schedule ranks No. 4 in the country. The Spartans have played 13 of 25 games vs. the RPI Top 100 and 18 of 25 vs. the RPI Top 150. Five of MSU's final six games will be against teams with an RPI of 60 or better, including three in the Top 25.
MSU vs. Wisconsin Notes
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Wisconsin, 70-60, including a 44-14 advantage in games played in East Lansing. The home team has won 12 of the last 13 games played on a college campus, with the lone exception being MSU's win at Madison this January.
Bo Ryan (Wilkes, `69) is 644-200 in his 28th season as a collegiate head coach, including 261-97 in his 11th 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.
The Last Meeting
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.
The Last Meeting In East Lansing
Michigan State rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final three minutes to force overtime and emerge with a 64-61 victory over Wisconsin on Jan. 11, 2011, in East Lansing. Wisconsin led by as many as 12 points in the first half, and held a 53-44 advantage with 2:37 remaining. The Spartan spurt started with a Draymond Green 3-pointer and a Kalin Lucas free throw. Delvon Roe then stole the ball at midcourt and Keith Appling scored on a dunk in transition to pull within three points. Korie Lucious capped the comeback with a 3-pointer from in front of the Spartan bench. During the stretch, MSU's defense forced three missed shots and four Badger turnovers. Draymond Green then scored MSU's first eight points in overtime. With the score tied at 61, Lucas made one of two free throws with 29 seconds remaining. Jordan Taylor then missed a potential game winner and Lucas sealed the win with two free throws with two seconds left. Green led MSU with 26 points and nine rebounds, while Lucas added 17 points and six assists. Taylor led Wisconsin with 21 points, while Keaton Nankivil hit 5-of-6 3-pointers en route to 17 points.
Wisconsin leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 50.3 points per game ... The Badgers also pace the nation in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (.267) and rank second in field-goal percentage defense (.368) ... In Big Ten games, Jordan Taylor ranks fifth in the conference in scoring (17.0 ppg) ... Wisconsin has won four straight Big Ten road games ... Under Bo Ryan, the Badgers are 71-2 when holding teams below 50 points.
Gm. 25 Recap
Michigan St. 58 - Ohio State 48
Michigan State pulled even with Ohio State in the Big Ten Conference standings with a 58-48 win in Columbus. The Buckeyes jumped to out to a 9-4 lead, but a 3-pointer and two layups from Draymond Green put the Spartans in front 11-10. OSU took a 12-11 lead, but an Adreian Payne jumper put the Spartans ahead 13-12 at 11:22, and MSU would not trail again. Payne (8) and Green (7) combined to score MSU's first 15 points until Keith Appling hit a 3-pointer at the 9:12 mark of the first half. MSU took a 35-25 lead into the break, turning eight Buckeye turnovers into 14 points.
In the second half, the Spartans pushed their lead up to 12 at 41-29. MSU stalled on offense, but its defense allowed it to stay in front. With 6:24 remaining, a Jared Sullinger jumper pulled OSU within four points at 44-40. On MSU's next possession, Appling hit two free throws. Ohio State had four shots on its next trip, but could not score. MSU answered with a Derrick Nix jump hook and the lead never dropped below six after that. Jared Sullinger led all players with 17 points and 16 rebounds, but also added 10 turnovers. Payne led MSU with a career-high 15 points. MSU shot 40.4 percent from the field, and held OSU to 26.4 percent, including 13.3 percent from 3-point range.
MSU vs. Ohio State Notes
* MSU's win at No. 3 Ohio State ties the highest-ranked Big Ten team the Spartans have ever beaten on the road (at Purdue, 2010).
* Michigan State snapped Ohio State's 39-game homecourt win streak.
* The Spartans won for the sixth time in the last nine games at Value City Arena.
* MSU recorded its third road win over a ranked opponent and its fifth win overall against a ranked opponent - both of which are tied for the most in the nation.
* Adreian Payne scored a career-high 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting. In two career games at Value City Arena, Payne is averaging 12.5 ppg on 10-of-13 shooting.
* Michigan State dominated the paint, out-scoring the Buckeyes, 30-12.
* In 39 minutes, MSU's two centers, Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix, out-scored Jared Sullinger in his 40 minutes, 21-17.
* MSU held Ohio State to 26.4 percent shooting, including 21.9 percent in the second half, a season-low for the Buckeyes.
* MSU's defense held Ohio State to 13.3 percent 3-point shooting, a season-low for a Spartan opponent.
* Branden Dawson (8), Brandon Wood (7) and Travis Trice (4) combined for 19 rebounds from the guard position.
MSU Basketball Notes
Strong Spartan Defense
MSU's defensive effort has been impressive this season. The Spartans are allowing just 58.6 points (ranking 15th in the nation through Feb. 12) on .374 shooting (5th in nation), including .289 from 3-point range (12th in nation). MSU also ranks 48th in the nation in blocks (4.5 bpg) and 60th in steals (7.8 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 18 have shot under 41 percent, including four below 30 percent.
Branden Dawson scored in single digits in his first six Big Ten games. He's become a much more effective scorer in the last six games, averaging 11.2 ppg, scoring in double figures in five of the last six, and grabbing 6.5 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 .600 (27-of-45) from the field over the last six games. He's scored in double-figures 11 times this season, and ranks third on the team in scoring at 8.7 ppg. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Jan. 30. In conference games, he ranks third in the Big Ten in field-goal percentage (.577) and second in offensive rebounds (2.8 orpg).
Draymond In Position For Individual Honors
With an outstanding senior season, Draymond Green has put himself in position to earn a nice collection of individual accolades. One of the leading contenders for Big Ten Player of the Year, he is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. He's on the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25, and was recently named one of 20 players on Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Watch List, presented by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Green is also on the Naismith Award Watch list. Fans can vote for Green to win the Senior CLASS Award at www.seniorclassaward.com.
Harris Named McDonald's All-American
Michigan State men's basketball signee Gary Harris was named a McDonald's All-American on Thursday, Feb. 9. The prep senior at Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Ind., is the 11th recruit under MSU head coach Tom Izzo to earn McDonald's All-America honors. Harris will suit up for the East squad in the game at Chicago's United Center on March 28, becoming the 15th McDonald's All-American to play for Michigan State dating back to 1977. Current Spartans Keith Appling (2010) and Branden Dawson (2011) were also McDonald's All-Americans.
Green Attacks The Glass
Draymond Green leads the Big Ten at 10.5 rebounds per game, ranking 12th in the nation (through Feb. 12), including a conference-best 11.3 rebounds per game in league contests. His 10.5 overall 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 16 games, including eight of the last 10 and 11 of the last 15. He has led MSU in rebounding in 20 of 25 games this season. He's recorded 14 or more boards in four of the last 10 games.
With a 58-48 win at Ohio State, Michigan State recorded its 12th 20-win season in the last 15 years, all under head coach Tom Izzo. Of the 20 20-win seasons in Spartan history, Izzo has been involved in 17 of them, 12 as a head coach and five as an assistant.
Four different Spartans have recorded a double-double this season. Draymond Green leads the way with 13 double-doubles, pacing the Big Ten and ranking 12th in the nation (through Feb. 12). Green has posted a double-double in nine of the last 14 games. Branden Dawson has posted two double-doubles, and Adreian Payne and Brandon Wood have each recorded one double-double. Green has tallied 31 career double-doubles. He (15.0 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).
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 returned to their dominant ways in 2011-12, out-rebounding 23 of 25 opponents by a +10.5 margin, including eight by 15 or more, leading the Big Ten and ranking third in the nation (through Feb. 12). 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 439 of 569 opponents (.772), posting a 346-93 (.788) mark in those games.
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 .289 from behind the arc, while ranking first in conference games (.279). MSU has held nine opponents to a .250 or lower shooting percentage from behind the arc. That happened just four times all of last season. Fifteen opponents have shot .300 or lower, including eight of the last 11.
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 19 games, however, the Spartans have been on target, connecting on .399 of their shots (109-273) from behind the arc. In league games, MSU ranks third in the conference at .369.
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 550-447 (.552) in league play, including 192-88 (.686) under Tom Izzo, who ranks sixth in league history with 192 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 192-88, 16 games better than second place Wisconsin (176-104).
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 (15.0 ppg), rebounding (10.5 rpg), minutes (32.8 mpg), steals (36) and blocks (24-tied), while ranking second in assists (3.5 apg). He leads the Big Ten in rebounding and defensive rebounds (8.2 drpg), while ranking fifth in offensive rebounds (2.3 orpg), ninth in scoring, 10th in steals, 10th in assists, tied for 10th in blocks, 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 403 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).
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."
Lending A Helping Hand
Michigan State ranks 20th in the nation and second in the Big Ten in assists with 15.8 per game (NCAA ranking through Feb. 12). The Spartans have recorded an assist on 60.2 percent of their baskets. Over the last 18 games, the Spartans are averaging 16.9 assists. Individually, Keith Appling is averaging 44 assists in the last 18 contests.
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 better 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 19 games, however, MSU has shown dramatic improvement, hitting .489 from the field and .399 from 3-point range. The Spartans have shot over 50 percent in nine of the last 18 games, including four contests at 60 percent or better. In Big Ten games, MSU ranks second in the conference at .473.
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 25 games. Appling and Dawson have started all 25 games, while Green and Payne have started 24. Appling, Dawson, Green, Payne and Austin Thornton have started the last three.
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 23 games with a 1.7-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 4.4 assists in the last 18 games, including a career-best 9 vs. Iowa, and has seven or more assists in six of the last 18 games. He owns a 1.8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in the last 18 contests. In conference games, he ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 4.2 assists per game and eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).
Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 345-225, in second chance points for the season. That's an average of +4.8 points per game (13.8-9.0). The Spartans are averaging 13.0 offensive boards per game, leading the Big Ten. MSU has 326 offensive rebounds on the year compared to 488 defensive rebounds for its opponents, good for an offensive rebound percentage of .400, 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 7.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 18.7 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 8.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in the last 18 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 18 contests, scoring eight or more points in 11 of the last 18 games. He's been MSU's first sub in 21 of the 24 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 36.3 percent of the scoring and 40.5 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.
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 (3.0 rpg) and Branden Dawson (4.8 rpg) averages 11.0 boards per contest.
Climbing The Rebounding Charts
With 965 career rebounds, Draymond Green ranks fourth in MSU history, 51 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 (10.6 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 12th in the nation in rebounding (through Feb. 12). He also ranks 12th in the nation with 13 double-doubles.
Eight different Spartans have led Michigan State in scoring this season. Draymond Green (11 times), Keith Appling (five times), Branden Dawson (four times), Brandon Wood (twice), Derrick Nix, Adreian Payne, Austin Thornton and Travis Trice also have each paced MSU.
The Turnover Story
One area of concern for the Spartans has been the turnovers. MSU is committing 13.8 per game (although just 12.8 in the last 18 games), while forcing 13.8 by its opponents. The Spartans are averaging 16.0 points per game off opponent turnovers, compared to 11.9 points by opponents off MSU turnovers. The Spartans are 10-0 when committing fewer turnovers than their opponent, but 8-5 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 35.0-22.8, out-scoring 21 of its 25 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 .717 over the last 20 games. For the season, MSU is shooting .697 from the foul line, averaging 21.8 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 1,292 points, he ranks 24th in MSU history, needing five to move past Matt Steigenga (1,296 points) and 23 to move past Durrell Summers (1,314 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. 14), the year of Michigan State's first of 14 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans have played 153 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 (147), Connecticut (142), Kentucky (140) and Duke (138).
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.
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 25 games for MSU, ranking fourth on the team in scoring at 8.7 ppg.
In The Rankings
Eight different Spartan opponents are ranked in at least one of the two polls, including Duke (5 AP/4 USA Today), Ohio State (6/6), North Carolina (8/7), Wisconsin (15/17), Michigan (17/19), Indiana (18/20), Florida State (20/21), and Gonzaga (24/24). MSU is ranked No. 7 by the AP and No. 8 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 403-166 (.708), and 192-88 (.686) 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 .686 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), 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 (.729), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Lambert (.709) and Izzo (.708). With 192 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.