Feb. 18, 2013
THE OPENING TIP
The Last Meeting
January 27, 2013
No. 13 Michigan State Falls To No. 7 Indiana, 75-70
Victor Oladipo took control for No. 7 Indiana in the opening minutes Sunday and never let go. The junior guard scored 21 points, grabbed seven rebounds and finished with six steals, leading the Hoosiers to a 75-70 victory over No. 13 Michigan State.
Michigan State hosts Indiana in a showdown between the two teams tied at the top of the Big Ten standings. This game will be the first time that two teams ranked in the Top 5 have ever played in East Lansing. This is the second meeting of the season as the Hoosiers won a tight 75-70 contest on Jan. 27 in Bloomington.
THE STARTING FIVE
1. Great Starts
Michigan State's 22-4 start is among the best starts of the Tom Izzo era. Only the 2000-01 squad had a better 26-game record at 23-3. The 1998-99 is the only other Izzo-coached team that started 22-4. In fact, the 1977-78 squad is the only other MSU team to open at 22-4.
2. Success At Breslin
Michigan State is 325-45 (.878) at home all-time since Breslin Center opened in 1989, including 169-34 (.833) in Big Ten play. Under Tom Izzo, the Spartans are 251-30 (.893) at Breslin, including a 128-21 (.859) conference record. MSU has won 32 of the last 33 games at Breslin.
3. MSU Vs. No. 1
Michigan State is 3-18 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25, although the Spartans have won two of their last five against No. 1. MSU defeated No. 1 Indiana State in the 1979 NCAA Championship game, No. 1 Wisconsin on Feb. 20, 2007 in East Lansing, and No. 1 Louisville in the 2009 NCAA Elite Eight.
4. Top 10 Breslin Meetings
Tuesday's game between Michigan State and Indiana will be the ninth game ever at the Breslin Center involving Top 10 teams. MSU is 6-2 in the previous eight meetings, including defeating No. 4 Michigan just last Tuesday, 75-52. It also will be the game with the lowest combined ranking involving two ranked teams. The previous low was a 77-64 victory for No. 3 MSU over No. 6 North Carolina. The Breslin Center has never hosted a game in which both teams were ranked in the Top 5. The Spartans' first ever home game between Top 10 teams came on March 11, 1990, when No. 7 MSU defeated No. 10 Purdue, 72-70.
5. Spartans From The Hoosier State
Three players on the MSU roster are from the Hoosier state. Red-shirt sophomore 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. Sophomore Branden Dawson was an all-state selection and 2011 McDonald's All-American from Gary's Lew Wallace High School. Freshman Gary Harris was the 2012 Indianapolis Star Indiana Mr. Basketball winner and the Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year. A 2012 McDonald's All-American, Harris averaged 25.4 points in leading Hamilton Southeastern High School to the Class 4A sectional final.
MSU VS. INDIANA NOTES
Indiana leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 66-48, although MSU owns a 35-21 advantage in East Lansing, including 17 straight wins in the Breslin Center. Tom Izzo is 18-12 in his career against Indiana. MSU has won six of the last eight games in the series and seven of the last 10.
Tom Crean (Central Michigan, '89) is 268-174 in his 14th season as a Division I head coach, including 78-78 in his fifth season at Indiana. Prior to his arrival in Bloomington, Crean spent nine seasons as head coach at Marquette, guiding the Golden Eagles to the 2003 Final Four. Prior to becoming the head coach at Marquette, Crean was an assistant for four years (1995-99) under Coach Tom Izzo at Michigan State. While Crean was at MSU under Izzo, the Spartans went 88-41, won two Big Ten regular-season titles and appeared in the 1999 Final Four. Crean's first assistant position came at MSU in 1989-90, when he worked under Jud Heathcote as the Spartans won the Big Ten Championship and advanced to the Sweet 16.
The Last Meeting
Indiana defeated Michigan State, 75-70, on Jan. 27, 2013, in Bloomington. The Hoosiers threatened to pull away a couple different times in the first half, but the Spartans always managed to maintain contact. Indiana took a nine-point lead at 28-19, but MSU quickly scored the next nine points. The Hoosiers did hit two 3-pointers in the final minute to take a 44-38 lead into the half. Indiana's lead never grew larger than five points in the final 11 minutes of the contest, and yet Michigan State could never get over the hump and tie the score or take the lead. MSU had two shots to tie the game at 72 in the final three minutes, but could not convert. Victor Oladipo led Indiana with 21 points, seven rebounds, six steals and three blocks, while Indiana native Gary Harris paced MSU with 21 points, and Adreian Payne added 18.
The Last Meeting In East Lansing
Michigan State defeated Indiana, 80-65, on Dec. 28, 2011, in East Lansing. The Spartans got off to a quick start, taking a seemingly commanding 34-16 lead with 5:11 left in the first half. Indiana responded with a 25-2 stretch over 10:11 of both halves that stretched into a 38-11 run over 14:54, taking a 54-45 lead with 11:07 remaining. By the 5:11 mark, a 20-0 MSU run gave the Spartans a commanding 65-54 advantage. Keith Appling led MSU with 25 points, six rebounds and seven assists, while Derrick Nix added 14 points. Christian Watford led Indiana with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Indiana leads the nation in scoring differential (+21.9), while ranking second in scoring (82.9 ppg) and three-point field-goal percentage (.427) (through Feb. 17) ... Indiana also leads the nation in free throws made (521) ... Five different Hoosiers average double-figures in points ... Victor Oladipo leads the Big Ten in field-goal percentage (.639) and steals (2.3 spg) ... Preseason All-American Cody Zeller ranks third in the conference in scoring (16.6 ppg) and second in rebounding (8.2 rpg).
GM. 26 RECAP MICHIGAN STATE 73 - NEBRASKA 64
Michigan State defeated Nebraska, 73-64, on Feb. 16, in Lincoln, Neb. The Spartans got off to a strong start and held a 23-12 lead with 9:12 left in the first half, following Gary Harris' steal and breakaway dunk. Harris then picked up his second foul forcing him to bench. Nebraska took advantage of 10 first-half Spartan turnovers and trailed by just five points at the half, 29-24. In the second half, Nebraska's Shavon Shields scored 12 of the Huskers' first 16 points, cutting the Spartan lead to a single point at 41-40. From that point, MSU went on a 20-6 run over the next 10:22. The key stretch came with MSU holding a 45-42 lead. Harris made one free throw, and then following a Nebraska turnover, he hit a transition 3-pointer to spark an 8-0 spurt. The Spartans sealed victory by hitting 8-of-10 free throws in the final 1:14.
MSU VS. NEBRASKA NOTES
* Michigan State blocked a season-high 12 shots, good for the second-best single-game total in school history, and equaling the best in a Big Ten game.
* Adreian Payne (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Derrick Nix (13 points, 11 rebounds) each recorded their first double-doubles of the Big Ten season.
* Adreian Payne grabbed a career-best 14 rebounds.
* After totaling four points and 13 rebounds in the first half, Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne totaled 24 points and 12 rebounds in the second half.
* Keith Appling scored his 1,000th-career point on a free throw at the 12:50 mark of the second half, becoming the 43rd player in MSU history to reach the milestone and the 29th to accomplish it in three seasons.
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 50 made three-pointers he also ranks third, trailing Chris Hill (66) and Shawn Respert (60), while ranking third with 113 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 all five Spartan starters average double-figures in scoring. 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.
Appling Joins 1,000-Point Club
With his 16 points at Nebraska, Keith Appling became the 43rd player in Michigan State history to record 1,000 career points, and just the 29th player to reach the milestone in three seasons. With 1,003 career points, he is 26 points away from passing Kevin Smith (1,028 points) for 42nd place in Michigan State history.
Improved 3-Point Shooting
Since the start of Big Ten play, Michigan State has been shooting better from 3-point range. Over the last 13 games, the Spartans are shooting .397 (75-of-189) from behind the arc, ranking second in the Big Ten. The high percentage can be directly attributed to prolific shooting from Gary Harris (.530; 35-of-66), Adreian Payne (.500; 7-of-14), and Travis Trice (.385; 10-of-26) in conference action.
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 11.5 per conference game, including five games with 10 or fewer. MSU has recorded 13 or fewer turnovers in nine of 13 Big Ten games, winning all nine. On the season, MSU is 12-1 when committing the same number or fewer turnovers than its opponent. The Spartans are averaging 9.3 turnovers over the last four games, despite committing 15 at Nebraska.
Valentine Bounces Back
After appearing to have hit a "freshman wall" in mid-late January, Denzel Valentine has bounced back recently, averaging 7.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists over the last five games. He's also shooting .609 from the field and .500 from 3-point range during this stretch. His play has been needed as Travis Trice has missed the last four 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 22 assists. He's been especially effective lately, totaling 21 assists and just nine turnovers in the last nine 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 13.4 points per contest. Harris leads Big Ten freshmen in 3-point percentage in conference games at .530 (35-of-66), ranking second among all players, and 3-point field goals made (2.7), which leads all players. Defensively, he leads Big Ten freshmen with 1.5 steals per game. He also leads conference freshmen in overall scoring at 12.9 ppg. Following a week in which he averaged 15.5 points, including 17 against No. 4 Michigan, he earned his third Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor on Feb. 18, having also been honored on Nov. 19 and Dec. 10.
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 Indiana game is the ninth 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 - 8th Big Ten) and assists (4.0 apg - t-5th Big Ten), having led MSU in scoring in 13 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 .477 (21-44) from the field, and .763 (58-76) from the foul line, averaging just 0.8 turnovers per game (11 in 13 games).
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in steals in Big Ten games (8.2 spg), and rank second overall (8.4 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.
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 468 of 607 opponents (.771), posting a 373-95 (.797) mark in those games. The Spartans have out-rebounded 23 of 26 opponents this season, having been out-rebounded just twice (Minnesota both times). They rank 3rd in the Big Ten and 16th in the nation with a +7.2 rebounding margin.
Payne's Improved Play
Over the last 11 games, Adreian Payne is averaging 11.6 points, shooting 46-of-77 (.597) from the field, including 7-of-14 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 fifth in the conference in rebounding (7.0 rpg), third in field-goal percentage (.580) and tied for eighth 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 17 games. He's recorded four double-doubles this season, three of them in 22 minutes or less. However, he is averaging 31.8 minutes over the last eight games, recording six of the seven 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 12 games, he seems to have elevated his play to another level, averaging 11.7 points and 6.6 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 (10.6 ppg), second in rebounding (6.2 rpg), and third in minutes played (27.4 mpg).
Payne's Block Party
Junior center Adreian Payne ranks fourth in Michigan State history with 99 career blocks. Delvon Roe ranks third with 106. 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 five games, the Spartans are averaging 44.8 points on .586 shooting in the second half, after averaging 28.6 points on .425 shooting in the first half. MSU is also averaging 21.0 free throw attempts in the second half, compared to 3.8 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 sixth in the Big Ten in assists (3.8 apg), tied for seventh in steals (1.7 spg), and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7). Overall, he ranks tied for fifth in assists (4.0 apg) and tied for eighth in steals (1.5 spg).
Dawson Gets Defensive
Branden Dawson has recorded a team-best 46 steals (1.8 spg), ranking fourth in the Big Ten, and 29 blocks (1.2 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 tied for eighth in the Big Ten with 38 steals (1.5 spg), while Adreian Payne leads the team and ranks tied for eighth 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 (34.2-24.2), out-scoring 21 of its 26 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 48.9 percent of their points in the paint (890 of 1821).
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 207 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 565-452 (.556) in league play, including 207-92 (.692) under Tom Izzo, who ranks sixth in league history with 207 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 207-92, 18 games better than second-place Wisconsin (189-110).
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 three-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, earning the honor on Nov. 19, Dec. 10 and Feb. 18. He's averaging a team-best 13.4 ppg in Big Ten play, leading conference freshmen. Harris leads MSU in 3-pointers made (50) and attempted (113), and has made 53.0 percent (35-of-66) 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. 17)
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 19.0 ppg and 13.5 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, Nebraska) leads the way with four, while Derrick Nix (Tuskegee, Texas and Nebraska) and Branden Dawson (Connecticut, Purdue, Wisconsin) each have three. 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 .388 from the field, ranking second in the Big Ten, including .314 from 3-point range, ranking fourth. MSU also ranks second in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 59.1 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.
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.
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 50 halves of basketball that have followed, the Spartans have shot 50 percent or better 20 times. On the season, MSU is shooting .470 from the field, ranking third in the Big Ten. In conference games, the Spartans rank third, shooting .461.
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 five double-figure rebounding games this season, and has recorded three 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 8.5 minutes or more per game, and 10 are averaging 5.6 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.
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 (28.5 mpg). Valentine also has made his mark, ranking second in assists (2.5 apg), fourth in rebounds (4.3 rpg) and sixth in minutes (21.3 mpg). Matt Costello has seen limited action, averaging 5.6 minutes in the 20 games in which he's played.
Big Ten Strength
Once again, the Big Ten makes a strong claim as the toughest conference in college basketball. Indiana (No. 1), Michigan State (No. 4), Michigan (No. 7), Ohio State (No. 18), and Wisconsin (No. 19) are all ranked in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 (Feb. 18), while Illinois has the fourth-highest total among unranked teams. 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.
Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 299-226, in second-chance points for the season. That's an average of +2.8 points per game (11.5-8.7). The Spartans are averaging 11.2 offensive boards per game, with an offensive rebound percentage of .352.
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 (434 wins) now trails just Bob Knight (662; 1971-2000) and Gene Keady (512; 1980-2005).
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 434-173 (.715), and 207-92 (.692) 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 .692 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 (.709), 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 (.724), Izzo (.715), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), and Lambert (.709). With 207 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.