Road-Tested Spartans Travel To Purdue
 
 
 
The Spartans play Purdue in a hostile Mackey Arena on Sunday.
 
The Spartans play Purdue in a hostile Mackey Arena on Sunday.
 
 

Feb. 18, 2012


#7/8 Michigan State (21-5, 10-3) vs. Purdue (17-9, 7-6)
 Date Sunday, Feb. 19
 Time 1 p.m. ET
 Location West Lafayette, Ind. | Mackey Arena
 Television CBS (Kevin Harlan, Clark Kellogg) | Watch Online
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)
 Tickets Not Available
 Game Notes Michigan State | Purdue
 Statistics  Michigan State | Purude
 Internet Coverage   Gametracker
 Social Media @MSU_Basketball   |  Facebook

The Opening Tip
Michigan State looks to stay atop the Big Ten Conference standings as it travels to Purdue. The Spartans have won five true road games this season, including a win at No. 3 Ohio State in their most recent road contest, relying on a strong defensive effort to get the victory. The Boilermakers have won their last two games, including a road win of their own at Illinois on Wednesday.

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 .373 field-goal percentage, the lowest total of the Tom Izzo era. The previous low was .384 in 2006-07. MSU's rebounding margin of +10.0 is the third-best margin of the Izzo era, and the best since posting a +15.4 margin in 2001. MSU currently ranks fourth 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. 16).

2. Spartans On The Road
Michigan State is 5-3 in true road games this season, including wins over #23 Gonzaga, #18 Wisconsin and #3 Ohio State - three of the toughest places to win in the country. One of the keys to the Spartans' road success has been their defense, holding opponents to .373 shooting, including .268 from 3-point range. In the five road wins, those numbers improve to .331 (.245 3FG%). In MSU's five road wins, Draymond Green is averaging 19.4 points. MSU's three wins over ranked opponents are tied with Cincinnati for most in the nation.

3. Big Ten Defense
Michigan State's defense has been great all season, but the effort in Big Ten play has been nothing short of phenomenal. The Spartans lead the conference in field-goal percentage defense (.373), .025 better than second place Ohio State, while also pacing the Big Ten in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (.272). Despite their up-tempo style, the Spartans rank second in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 57.5 points per game, just 0.2 ppg behind Wisconsin.

4. Draymond In Exclusive Company
Currently averaging 15.2 ppg, 10.5 rpg and 3.6 apg, Draymond Green is looking to become the first player from a power six conference to average 15 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists in a season since Tim Duncan accomplished the feat in 1996-97. Duncan averaged 20.8 points, 14.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a senior at Wake Forest. (Courtesy ESPN Research)

5. Strength of Schedule
According to ESPN.com's InsideRPI Daily (Feb. 18), Michigan State's strength of schedule ranks No. 3 in the country. The Spartans have played 14 of 26 games vs. the RPI Top 100 and 19 of 26 vs. the RPI Top 150. Four of MSU's final five games will be against teams with an RPI of 62 or better, including two in the Top 15. MSU leads the nation with seven wins against the RPI Top 25 and six wins over ranked opponents.

MSU vs. Purdue Notes
Series History

Purdue leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 65-47, including a 40-15 advantage in games played in West Lafayette. MSU has won 18 of the last 28 games in the series. Tom Izzo is 18-13 in his career against Purdue.

Coach Painter
Matt Painter (Purdue, `94) is 180-78 in his eighth season as a collegiate head coach, including 155-73 in his seventh season at Purdue. After one year as head coach at Southern Illinois, he served as associate head coach at Purdue in 2004-05 in Gene Keady's final year as Boilermaker coach.

The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Purdue, 83-58, on Jan. 21, 2012, in East Lansing. With 6:26 left, the score was tied at 20 when MSU started to surge ahead with a 7-0 run, taking a 31-24 lead into the half. In the second half, MSU opened with a 9-2 run to take a 40-26 lead. Leading 44-32 with 13:50 left, the Spartans put the game away with an 11-0 spurt. MSU's defense was outstanding, holding Purdue to 29.0 percent shooting, inlcuding 15.0 percent from 3-point range. Offensively, MSU shot 60.0 percent, including 53.8 percent from behind the arc. Freshman Branden Dawson led four Spartans in double-figures, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the second half. Draymond Green had a solid all-around game with eight points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Lewis Jackson and John Hart each scored 10 points to lead Purdue. The Boilermakers were one of just three teams to out-rebound MSU this season (34-33), including grabbing 18 offensive rebounds, resulting in 23 second-chance points.

The Last Meeting In West Lafayette
Purdue defeated Michigan State, 86-76, on Jan. 22, 2011, in West Lafayette. The score was tied at 26 with 5:56 left in the first half, but the Boilermakers ended the half on a 15-5 run as E'Twaun Moore scored 19 first-half points. Purdue extended the lead to 14 points early in the second. MSU cut the deficit to six points with just under 10 minutes remaining, but could not creep any closer. Moore finished with a game-high 26 points, while JaJuan Johnson added 20 and Lewis Jackson scored 19 for Purdue. Draymond Green led MSU with 21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Delvon Roe scored a career-high 16 points. Purdue shot 58.0 percent, including 62.1 percent in the first half.

Boilermaker Notes
Purdue is tied for the national lead, committing just 8.8 turnovers per game ... The Boilermakers are 29-of-58 (.500) from 3-point range in the last two games, and rank third in the Big Ten in conference games (.367) ... Robbie Hummel ranks fifth in the Big Ten in both scoring (15.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.6 rpg) ... The Boilermakers have struggled defensively, allowing Big Ten opponents to shoot .470 from the field (11th) and .390 from 3-point range (11th).

Gm. 26 Recap
Michigan St. 69 - Wisconsin 55

Michigan State scored the games's first six points over the first 2:57, but scored just two over the next seven plus minutes as Wisconsin took a 12-8 lead. The Spartans responded in strong fashion with a 14-0 run, taking a 22-12 lead at the 5:24 mark. Draymond Green scored the first seven points of the run, and 10 of the 14 points came in transition. Another mini 7-0 run right before halftime sent the Spartans into the break with a 31-19 lead. The Spartans shot 52.0 percent in the half, while holding the Badgers to 31.8 percent shooting, as MSU scored 15 points in transition. In the second half, MSU pushed its lead out to 56-35 with 7:44 remaining. Wisconsin cut the margin to nine at 60-51, but could not get any closer. The Spartans shot 52.2 percent for the game, while holding Wisconsin to 34.0 percent.

MSU vs. Wisconsin Notes
* Jordan Taylor was held to 13 points on 3-of-13 shooting. In his previous four games vs. MSU, he was averaging 24.3 points.
* Michigan State's 52.2 field-goal percentage was the highest by a Wisconsin opponent this season. The previous high was 49.2 percent by Iowa.
* Michigan State's 13 assists were also the most by a Badger opponent on the year.
* Michigan State recorded its first two-game regular-season series sweeep over Wisconsin since 2001.
* Keith Appling scored 20 points, marking the most he's scored in a game since scoring 25 in the Big Ten opener vs. Indiana on Dec. 28.
* Michigan State held a remarkable 15-0 advantage in fast-break points.
* Draymond Green recorded his sixth 20-point game of the season and his third in the last six games.
* The 14-point victory was the largest margin of victory for MSU over Wisconsin since Feb. 12, 2000 (61-44).

MSU Basketball Notes
A Well-Rounded Team

Michigan State's defense has rightfully garnered a lot of attention, as has its rebounding prowess. But the Spartans have also proven to be a talented offensive squad. In conference games, the Spartans rank third in the Big Ten in scoring offense (69.2 ppg), second in field-goal percentage (.476) and fourth in 3-point field-goal percentage (.362).

Strong Spartan Defense
MSU's defensive effort has been impressive this season. The Spartans are allowing just 58.5 points (ranking 12th in the nation through Feb. 16) on .373 shooting (4th in nation), including .285 from 3-point range (10th in nation). MSU also ranks 67th in the nation in blocks (4.3 bpg) and 67th in steals (7.7 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 19 have shot under 41 percent, including four below 30 percent.

How Valuable Is Draymond?
Draymond Green has led MSU in rebounding in 21 of 26 games, including 12 of 13 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 12 games, and paced the Spartans in assists in eight contests. In three of the last six games, he's lead in scoring, rebounding and assists. He's the only player in the Big Ten to rank in the top 10 in scoring (9th), rebounding (1st) and assists (9th). In fact, no other player in the Big Ten ranks in the Top 15 in all three categories.

Dawson's Emergence
Branden Dawson scored in single digits in his first six Big Ten games. He's become a much more effective scorer in the last seven games, averaging 10.6 ppg, scoring in double figures in five of the last seven, and grabbing 6.0 boards per contest. He started with a 14-point effort vs. Purdue, followed with a career-high tying 16-point game vs. Minnesota, and posted a 12-point, career-high 13-rebound double-double at Illinois. He's shooting .600 (30-of-50) from the field over the last seven games. He's scored in double-figures 11 times this season, and ranks third on the team in scoring at 8.6 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 (.579) and tied for second in offensive rebounds (2.5 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. To learn more about Draymond Green visit msuspartans.com/draymondgreen23.

Spartans From Hoosier State
Three players on the Michigan State roster are from the Hoosier state. Senior Brandon Wood is from Kokomo, Ind., and played two seasons at Valparaiso. Red-shirt freshman Russell Byrd earned 2010 second-team all-state honors becoming the first ever Indiana All-Star from Blackhawk Christian High School in Fort Wayne, Ind. Freshman Brandon Dawson was an all-state selection and McDonald's All-American from Gary's Lew Wallace High School. The Indiana pipeline will continue next season as the Spartans welcome McDonald's All-American Gary Harris from Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.) to the squad. Harris is ranked No. 10 on the ESPNU Top 100 list.

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 13th in the nation (through Feb. 16), including a conference-best 11.2 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 17 games, including nine of the last 11 and 12 of the last 16. He has led MSU in rebounding in 21 of 26 games this season. He's recorded 14 or more boards in four of the last 11 games.

20-Win Seasons
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.

Spartan Double-Doubles
Four different Spartans have recorded a double-double this season. Draymond Green leads the way with 14 double-doubles, pacing the Big Ten and ranking 10th in the nation (through Feb. 16). Green has posted a double-double in 10 of the last 15 games. Branden Dawson has posted two double-doubles, and Adreian Payne and Brandon Wood have each recorded one double-double. Green has tallied 32 career double-doubles. He (15.2 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 26 opponents by a +10.0 margin, including eight by 15 or more, leading the Big Ten and ranking third in the nation (through Feb. 16). 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 570 opponents (.770), 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 .285 from behind the arc, while ranking first in conference games (.272). MSU has held 10 opponents to a .250 or lower shooting percentage from behind the arc. That happened just four times all of last season. Sixteen opponents have shot .300 or lower, including nine of the last 12.

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 20 games, however, the Spartans have been on target, connecting on .394 of their shots (111-282) from behind the arc. In league games, MSU ranks fourth 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 551-447 (.552) in league play, including 193-88 (.687) 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 193-88, 17 games better than second place Wisconsin (176-105).

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 (15.2 ppg), rebounding (10.5 rpg), minutes (32.8 mpg), steals (37) and blocks (24-tied), while ranking second in assists (3.6 apg). He leads the Big Ten in rebounding and defensive rebounds (8.3 drpg), while ranking tied for fifth in offensive rebounds (2.2 orpg), ninth in scoring, 10th in steals, 10th in assists, tied for 11th in blocks, and 13th in assist/turnover ratio.

400 Wins
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 404 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).

Mr. Spartan
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 21st in the nation and tied for first in the Big Ten in assists with 15.7 per game (NCAA ranking through Feb. 16). The Spartans have recorded an assist on 60.0 percent of their baskets. Over the last 19 games, the Spartans are averaging 16.7 assists. Individually, Keith Appling is averaging 4.4 assists in the last 19 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 some 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. In the second game vs. Wisconsin, Appling held pre-season All-American Jordan Taylor to 13 points on 3-of-13 shooting.

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 20 games, however, MSU has shown dramatic improvement, hitting .490 from the field and .394 from 3-point range. The Spartans have shot over 50 percent in 10 of the last 19 games, including four contests at 60 percent or better. In Big Ten games, MSU ranks second in the conference at .476.

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 26 games. Appling and Dawson have started all 26 games, while Green and Payne have started 24. Appling, Dawson, Green, Payne and Austin Thornton have started the last four.

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 24 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 19 games, including a career-best 9 vs. Iowa, and has seven or more assists in six of the last 19 games. He owns a 1.8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in the last 19 contests. In conference games, he ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 4.2 assists per game and 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5).

Second-Chance Points
Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 358-233, 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 12.8 offensive boards per game, ranking second in the Big Ten. MSU has 334 offensive rebounds on the year compared to 509 defensive rebounds for its opponents, good for an offensive rebound percentage of .396, 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 7.7 points, 3.8 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 8.6 points and 4.0 rebounds in the last 19 games. In the first 73 games of his career, Nix scored in double figures just three times; he's done it eight times in the last 19 contests, scoring eight or more points in 12 of the last 19 games. He's been MSU's first sub in 22 of the 25 games in which he's come off the bench.

New Faces
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 35.4 percent of the scoring and 40.1 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.

Guard Rebounding
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 (3.1 rpg), Brandon Wood (2.9 rpg) and Branden Dawson (4.7 rpg) averages 10.7 boards per contest.

Climbing The Rebounding Charts
With 975 career rebounds, Draymond Green ranks fourth in MSU history, 41 behind Antonio Smith (1,016) in third place. He is on pace to become just the fourth player in MSU history with 1,000 career boards, and the third player with 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds, joining Greg Kelser and Johnny Green. Given that the Spartans play 31 regular season games, at least one game in the Big Ten Tournament and possibly at least one postseason game, Green (10.5 rpg) would need to average 9.03 rebounds this season to reach 1,000 for his career. This season, Green leads the Big Ten and ranks 13th in the nation in rebounding (through Feb. 16). He also ranks 10th in the nation with 14 double-doubles.

Balanced Scoring
Eight different Spartans have led Michigan State in scoring this season. Draymond Green (12 times), Keith Appling (six 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 13.7 per game (although just 12.7 in the last 19 games), while forcing 13.7 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 (3-0 when turnovers are equal).

In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of 35.0-22.6, out-scoring 22 of its 26 opponents. The Spartans even out-scored No. 1 North Carolina in the paint, 34-32, despite the Tar Heels having what some consider to be the premier frontline in the country.

Getting To The Foul Line
Over the first five games of the season, Michigan State was shooting just .629 from the foul line. That has improved recently, as the Spartans are shooting .720 over the last 21 games. For the season, MSU is shooting .700 from the foul line, averaging 21.9 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 1,312 points, he ranks 23rd in MSU history, needing three to move past Durrell Summers (1,314 points) and 66 to move past Julius McCoy (1,377 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. 16), the year of Michigan State's first of 14 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans have played 154 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.

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.

U-S-A, U-S-A
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
Coach Izzo

In his 17th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 404-166 (.709), and 193-88 (.687) 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 .687 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 (.707), 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 (.727), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Lambert (.709) and Izzo (.708). With 193 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.