First-Place Spartans Travel To Nebraska
Spartans look to improve on four-game winning streak.
Feb. 15, 2013
|#8/8 Michigan State (21-4, 10-2) vs. Nebraska (12-13, 3-9)|
|Date||Saturday, Feb. 16|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Location||Lincoln, Neb. | Devaney Center|
|Television||BTN (Kevin Kugler, Tim Doyle)|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network (Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)|
|Tickets||Available at Huskers.com.|
|Game Notes||Michigan State|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Nebraska|
|Social Media||@MSU_Basketball | Facebook|
THE OPENING TIP
Michigan State looks to remain atop the Big Ten standings as it travels to Nebraska for the second meeting of the season between the Spartans and Cornhuskers. In the first meeting of the season, MSU pulled away late for a 66-56 victory in East Lansing. The Cornhuskers have won two of their last three home games, while also dropping close contests this year against Wisconsin and Ohio State.
THE STARTING FIVE
1. Great Starts
Michigan State's 21-4 start is among the best starts of the Tom Izzo era. Only the 2000-01 squad had a better 25-game record at 22-3. The 1998-99 is the only other team that started 21-4. In fact, the 1994-95 and 1977-78 squads are the only other MSU teams to open at 21-4.
2. Appling Approaches 1,000 Points
With 987 points, Keith Appling is just 13 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.
3. Improved 3-Point Shooting
Since the start of Big Ten play, Michigan State has been shooting better from 3-point range. Over the last 12 games, the Spartans are shooting .403 (71-of-176) 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 (.524; 33-of-63) and Travis Trice (.385; 10-of-26) in conference action. Keith Appling has also been on target lately, hitting 12-of-27 in the last six games (.333; 14-42 in Big Ten play).
4. Limiting Turnovers In Conference Play
One area of concern for Michigan State is the number of turnovers, as the Spartans are averaging 13.5 per game, including five games with 19 or more. In Big Ten play, however, MSU has done a much better job, averaging 11.2 per conference game, including five games with 10 or fewer. MSU has recorded 14 or fewer turnovers in 10 of 12 Big Ten games, winning all 10. On the season, MSU is 12-1 when committing the same number or fewer turnovers than its opponent. The Spartans are averaging 7.3 turnovers over the last three games, recording single-digits in each game.
5. Takeaway Kings
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in steals both overall (8.6 spg) and in Big Ten games (8.7 spg). The Spartans have led the conference in steals just once since the Big Ten first started crowning a steals champion in 1986 (conference games only), recording 8.3 per game in 1998.
MSU VS. NEBRASKA NOTES
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 11-6, although the Cornhuskers own a 5-3 advantage in games played in Lincoln. The two teams met six times between 1988 and 1994, but did not meet again until the 2011-12 season. MSU has won all three meetings as Big Ten foes.
Tim Miles (University of Mary, '89) is 295-233 in his 18th season as a collegiate head coach, including 12-13 in his first season at Nebraska. Prior to his arrival in East Lansing, Miles spent two seasons at Mayville State, four seasons at SW Minnesota State, six seasons at North Dakota State, and most recently, five seasons at Colorado State. In 2011-12, he led the Rams to a 20-12 record, CSU's first 20-win season since 1997-98. He is believed to be the only active coach who has made national tournament appearances at four-year schools at the Division I, Division II and NAIA levels.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Nebraska, 66-56, on Jan. 13, 2013 in East Lansing. The first half was tightly contested with neither team leading by more than five points in the stanza. The second half was much of the same as the Spartans took a five-point lead on a couple of occasions, but couldn't find more separation. With 2:36 remaining, Nebraska cut MSU's lead to 55-54. The Spartans then turned the ball over but the Huskers couldn't convert. On MSU's next possession, Gary Harris broke out of a 0-of-10 slump with a 3-pointer to give the Spartans a 58-54 lead with 1:49 left. MSU then forced two straight turnovers on the defensive end and hit all six free throws in the last 1:03 to pull away. Derrick Nix led MSU with 17 points, while David Rivers led NU with 18 points on 8-of-8 shooting, including 1-of-1 from 3-point range.
The Last Meeting In Lincoln
Michigan State defeated Nebraska, 68-55, on Dec. 31, 2011, in Lincoln. Nebraska jumped out to a 12-4 lead just over five minutes into the contest by hitting three straight 3-pointers. MSU managed to pull even at 19-19, but a 9-2 run gave the Cornhuskers a 28-21 lead with 5:08 left in the half. MSU closed the period on an 8-2 run to trail by just a single point at the break, 30-29. MSU opened the second half on a 20-4 run, exploding to a 49-34 lead. The Huskers, however, pulled within three points at 53-50 with 8:43 remaining. Keith Appling then scored six straight points to push the Spartan lead back up to nine. MSU sealed the win by shooting 6-of-6 from the foul line in the final 1:07 and did not allow a Nebraska field goal in the final 4:22 or a point in the final 4:00.
Freshman Shavon Shields has started the last two games for Nebraska; he is the son of former Nebraska offensive lineman Will Shields, a finalist for the NFL Hall of Fame in 2012 and 2013 ... Six different Huskers (Brandon Ubel, Dylan Talley, Ray Gallegos, Andre Almeida, David Rivers and Shavon Shields) have all scored at least 20 points at least once this season ... Ray Gallegos averages a Big Ten-best 39.1 minutes per conference game.
GM. 25 RECAP MICHIGAN STATE 75 - MICHIGAN 52
Michigan State defeated Michigan, 75-52, on Feb. 12, in East Lansing. The Spartans scored the game's first four points and never trailed or were even tied. Leading 15-12 midway through the first half, the Spartans used a 20-7 run over nearly 10 minutes to take a commanding 35-19 lead. The lead never dipped below 12 points in the second half as a 10-2 run early in the stanza gave MSU a 52-31 lead, putting the game out of reach. At one point in the second half, the Spartans led by as many as 31 points.
MSU VS. MICHIGAN NOTES
* This was the first time in 170 meetings where both Michigan State (#8) and Michigan (#4) were ranked in the Top 10.
* The 23-point margin of victory was the largest for the Spartans in the series since Jan. 30, 2002 (71-44, 27 points).
* Michigan State held Michigan to a season-low 52 points.
* MSU held a 41-30 advantage on the glass and an 18-4 edge in second-chance points.
* At #4 in The Associated Press Top 25, this was the highest ranked Michigan squad Michigan State had ever defeated, having previously defeated #6 Michigan in 1986.
* Michigan State was led in rebounding by its two point guards as reserve Denzel Valentine had nine and Keith Appling had seven.
* MSU committed just eight turnovers compared to 16 for Michigan. The Wolverines entered the game with a conference-best +3.0 turnover margin.
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 12.9 ppg overall scoring average ranks third in school history behind just Earvin Johnson (17.0) and Shawn Respert (15.8). With 48 made three-pointers he also ranks third, trailing Chris Hill (66) and Shawn Respert (60), while ranking third with 110 3-point attempts. As the season progresses, look for Harris to move into the top five in other MSU freshman records.
Michigan State presents a balanced scoring attack, especially in Big Ten games, where four Spartans average double-figures in scoring, and five average 9.9 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.
Valentine Bounces Back
After appearing to have hit a "freshman wall" in mid-late January, Denzel Valentine has bounced back recently, averaging 7.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists over the last four games. He's also shooting .579 from the field and .429 from 3-point range during this stretch. His play has been needed as Travis Trice has missed the last three games with concussion-like symptoms.
Assists From The Post
One of the reasons Michigan State has been shooting well from the perimeter in conference play has been the inside-outside combination, and many well placed passes from the post hitting the Spartan shooters at the right time. Among the best at it is senior center Derrick Nix. In conference games, he ranks third on the team with 21 assists. He's been especially effective lately, totaling 20 assists and just eight turnovers in the last eight games, including collecting a career-best six assists at Indiana.
Harris Paces Big Ten Freshmen
In Big Ten games, Gary Harris leads conference freshmen in scoring, averaging 13.3 points per contest. Harris leads Big Ten freshmen in 3-point percentage in conference games at .524 (33-of-63), ranking third among all players, and 3-point field goals made (2.8), which leads all players. Defensively, he leads Big Ten freshmen with 1.6 steals per game. He also leads conference freshmen in overall scoring at 12.9 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 Nebraska game is the eighth in a string of 12 games that will see the Spartans play nine 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 (14.0 ppg - 11th Big Ten) and assists (4.0 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 .452 (19-42) from the field, and .769 (50-65) from the foul line, averaging just 0.7 turnovers per game (eight in 12 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 467 of 606 opponents (.771), posting a 372-95 (.797) mark in those games. The Spartans have out-rebounded 22 of 25 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 +6.7 rebounding margin.
Payne's Improved Play
Over the last 10 games, Adreian Payne is averaging 11.3 points, shooting 42-of-69 (.609) 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 eighth in the conference in rebounding (6.7 rpg), third in field-goal percentage (.584) and 10th in blocks (1.2 bpg). He also ranks fifth on the Spartans in scoring at 9.3 points per contest. The main thing limiting Payne's production is foul trouble, as he's played 20 minutes or more in just 16 games. He's recorded three double-doubles this season, each one of them in 22 minutes or less. However, he is averaging 31.3 minutes over the last seven games, recording five of the six 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 11 games, he seems to have elevated his play to another level, averaging 12.4 points and 6.8 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 (10.8 ppg), second in rebounding (6.3 rpg), and third in minutes played (27.4 mpg).
Payne's Block Party
Junior center Adreian Payne ranks tied for fifth in Michigan State history with 96 career blocks, matching Ken Johnson. Matt Steigenga ranks fourth with 97. Earlier this season, Payne equaled his career high with four blocks against Kansas.
Strong Second Halves
Recently, Michigan State has made a habit of very strong second halves. Over the last three games, the Spartans are averaging 45.0 points on .583 shooting in the second half, after averaging 28.5 points on .422 shooting in the first half. MSU is also averaging 20.3 free throw attempts in the second half, compared to 3.5 in the first half.
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 seventh in the Big Ten in assists (3.8 apg), tied for sixth in steals (1.7 spg), and sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8). Overall, he ranks fifth in assists (4.0 apg) and eighth in steals (1.5 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 46 steals (1.8 spg), ranking fourth in the Big Ten, and 25 blocks (1.0 bpg), ranking second on the team and 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 eighth in the Big Ten with 38 steals (1.5 spg), while Adreian Payne leads the team and ranks 10th in the Big Ten with 29 blocks (1.2 bpg).
In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of +10.1 points (34.5-24.4), out-scoring 20 of its 25 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), Ohio State (34-14), and Michigan (36-22). On the season, the Spartans have scored 49.3 percent of their points in the paint (862 of 1748).
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 206 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 564-452 (.555) in league play, including 206-92 (.691) under Tom Izzo, who ranks sixth in league history with 206 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 206-92, 18 games better than second-place Wisconsin (188-110).
Harris' Immediate Impact
Gary Harris ranks second on the team and leads Big Ten freshmen in scoring at 12.9 points per contest. If you only consider games in which he played more than a minute, he's averaging 13.5 ppg. He opened his Spartan career by becoming just the third freshman in MSU history to score in double figures in each of his first three games. He suffered a shoulder sprain in the first defensive possession of the fourth game of the season against Boise State, and missed the two games following that one. He is a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, earning the honor on Nov. 19 and Dec. 10. He's averaging a team-best 13.3 ppg in Big Ten play, leading conference freshmen. Harris leads MSU in 3-pointers made (48) and attempted (110), and has made 52.4 percent (33-of-63) 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 169 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 (155), Kentucky (150), Duke (147) and Connecticut (141). (Through Feb. 15)
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 13.0 rpg. Both of them are also shooting better than 52 percent 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 second in the Big Ten, including .313 from 3-point range, ranking fourth. MSU also ranks second in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 58.9 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 48 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. In conference games, the Spartans rank third, shooting .458.
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 8.8 minutes or more per game, and 10 are averaging 5.5 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.
Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 290-216, in second-chance points for the season. That's an average of +3.0 points per game (11.6-8.6). The Spartans are averaging 11.2 offensive boards per game, with an offensive rebound percentage of .348.
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 (433 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 (12.9 ppg) and minutes (28.6 mpg). Valentine also has made his mark, ranking second in assists (2.6 apg), fourth in rebounds (4.2 rpg) and sixth in minutes (21.2 mpg). Matt Costello has seen limited action, averaging 5.5 minutes in the 19 games in which he's played. In the most recent game, the trio scored 32 points against Michigan.
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 433-173 (.715), and 206-92 (.691) 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 .691 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 (.715), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), and Lambert (.709). With 206 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.