Feb. 22, 2013
|#4/5 Michigan State (22-5, 11-3) vs. #18/18 Ohio State (19-7, 9-5)
||Sunday, Feb. 24
||4 p.m. ET
||Columbus, Ohio | Value City Arena
||CBS (Kevin Harlan, Clark Kellogg)
||Spartan Sports Network (Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)
|| Sold out
| Game Notes
||Michigan State | Ohio State
|| Michigan State | Ohio State
| Internet Coverage
| Social Media
||@MSU_Basketball | Facebook
THE OPENING TIP
The Last Meeting
January 19, 2013
East Lansing, Mich.
No. 18 Spartans Outlast No. 11 Ohio State, 59-56
Keith Appling made two free throws with 7.9 seconds left and finished with 15 points to help No. 18 Michigan State beat Ohio State 59-56 on Saturday night. The Buckeyes had a chance to potentially tie the game in the closing seconds, but Shannon Scott didn't come close on a running 3-point attempt. Deshaun Thomas, who scored a career Big Ten-high 28 points, was upset Scott didn't pass him the ball. Thomas wanted a shot to send the game into overtime after he had made six 3-pointers in regulation.
Michigan State looks to bounce back from its first home loss of the season as it travels to Columbus to face Ohio State. A close contest is expected as the last three games between the Spartans and Buckeyes have each been decided by four points or less. MSU is an impressive 5-2 on the road in Big Ten play, although OSU is tough at home, posting a 6-1 record at Value City Arena.
THE STARTING FIVE
1. The Closing Gauntlet
Beginning with the Feb. 19 game against Indiana, the Spartans will play four straight games against ranked opponents, including two on the road (if the current rankings hold). MSU will be the only team to play four straight conference games against ranked opponents this season. The last time a Spartan team played four straight Big Ten games against ranked opponents came in 1993.
2. MSU Against Ranked Opponents
Michigan State is 4-3 this season against teams that were ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 at the time of the contest. The Spartans have played 11 of their 27 games against teams that have been ranked at some point this season, posting a 6-5 mark in those contests. In fact, MSU has played nine games against teams that have been ranked in the Top 10 at some point this season, going 5-4.
3. Harris Paces Big Ten Freshmen
In Big Ten games, Gary Harris leads conference freshmen in scoring, averaging 13.8 points per contest. Harris leads Big Ten freshmen in 3-point percentage in conference games at .507 (36-of-71), ranking second among all players, and 3-point field goals made (2.6), which leads all players. Defensively, he leads Big Ten freshmen with 1.6 steals per game, ranking fifth among all players. He also leads conference freshmen in overall scoring at 13.2 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.
4. Spartans From The Buckeye State
Michigan State's roster features three players from the Buckeye State: junior Adreian Payne, sophomore Travis Trice, and freshman Kenny Kaminski. Payne led Jefferson Township High School to the 2010 Division IV state championship, earning Division IV Player of the Year honors. Trice was the 2011 Gatorade Ohio Boys Basketball Player of the Year as a senior at Wayne High School. Kaminski earned second-team all-state honors as a prep junior at Medina, before missing most of his senior season with a shoulder injury. Other Spartans from Ohio under coach Tom Izzo include Delvon Roe (Euclid), Raymar Morgan (Canton), Travis Walton (Lima), Andre Hutson (Trotwood), A.J. Granger (Findlay), Jamie Feick (Lexington), Quinton Brooks (Akron), Jason Andreas (Sugarcreek), Adam Wolfe (Westerville), Garrick Sherman (Kenton) and Doug Davis (Columbus).
5. Payne Against The Buckeyes
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Adreian Payne has been a steady performer against Ohio State. In five career games against the Buckeyes, Payne is averaging 10.6 points, shooting .769 (20-of-26) from the field. His best effort was a 15-point game on 6-of-6 shooting on Feb. 11, 2012, in Columbus. Earlier this season, he scored 14 points, hitting 5-of-6 shots, including his only 3-point attempt.
MSU VS. OHIO STATE NOTES
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Ohio State, 66-54, although the Buckeyes own a 35-23 advantage in games played in Columbus. The Spartans have won 26 of the last 37 games in the series. Tom Izzo is 21-11 in his career against the Buckeyes.
Thad Matta (Butler, `90) is 342-103 in his 13th season as a collegiate head coach, including 240-72 in his ninth season at Ohio State. Prior to his arrival in Columbus, he served as the head coach at Xavier for three seasons and at Butler for one year.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Ohio State, 59-56, on Jan. 19, in East Lansing. The Spartans got off to a great start, leading 10-0 and 13-2. The Buckeyes responded with a 15-0 run, as Michigan State went 6:37 without a point. The Spartans would make another run and take a 30-26 lead into the half. In the second half, the game was tied at 50 on Deshaun Thomas' sixth 3-pointer with 2:59 remaining. With the game tied at 53 in the final minute, Keith Appling rose to the occasion with a driving layup with 41 seconds left. Aaron Craft then missed an open 3-pointer from the corner. Branden Dawson soared for the rebound and hit a streaking Appling for a breakaway dunk. OSU responded with a transition three, but Appling hit two free throws with 7.9 seconds left to give the Spartans a 59-56 lead. OSU missed its last second 3-pointer, giving MSU the victory. Thomas led all scorers with 28 points, while Appling paced the Saprtans with 15.
The Last Meeting In Columbus
Michigan State defeated Ohio State, 58-48, on Feb. 11, 2012, 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. 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. With 6:24 remaining, OSU pulled 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.
Deshaun Thomas leads the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 20.1 points per contest, including 2.3 3-pointers per contest ... Guards Aaron Craft (4.3 apg) ranks second in the conference in assists, and is Ohio State's career steals leader ... Ohio State's roster features two Michigan natives: sophomore center Trey McDonald (Battle Creek Central) and sophomore center Amir Williams (Detroit Country Day).
GM. 27 RECAP INDIANA 72 - MICHIGAN STATE 68
Indiana defeated Michigan State, 72-68, on Feb. 19, in East Lansing. The Hoosiers held a slim lead for most of the first half, extending their advantage out to eight points on two occasions, but MSU went into halftime trailing by just six points, 36-30. MSU made its move just over five minutes into the second half. Trailing 48-42, the Spartans went on a 7-0 run to take a 49-48 lead, only to watch Indiana push its lead back up to six points at 57-51. In a four-minute stretch that followed, the lead changed hands five times. Trailing 63-62, MSU got back-to-back baskets from Derrick Nix, and Gary Harris hit one of two free throws to give the Spartans a 67-63 lead. IU's Christian Watford answered with a three-point play, and Keith Appling missed the front end of a one-and-one on MSU's next possession. Victor Oladipo gave Indiana the lead for good with a tip-in with 46 seconds left. Harris missed a driving layup with 16 seconds that would have reclaimed the lead. Later, he went to the foul line down three points with 3.7 seconds left, but missed the first of his three free throws and Indiana escaped.
MSU VS. INDIANA NOTES
* MSU fell to 3-19 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25.
* The game marked the first time that two Top-5 teams (IU-#1, MSU-#4) had ever met in East Lansing.
* The second half saw eight lead changes.
* Travis Trice saw his first action (6 minutes) since Jan. 31, having missed four games with concussion-like symptoms.
* With a team-high 19 points, freshman Gary Harris has averaged 20.0 ppg in two games against the home-state Hoosiers.
* Freshman Matt Costello recorded a season-high three blocks in eight minutes.
MSU BASKETBALL NOTES
Harris Ranks Among Best MSU Freshmen Ever
Gary Harris is on his way to turning in one of the best freshman campaigns in Michigan State history. His 13.2 ppg overall scoring average ranks third in school history behind just Earvin Johnson (17.0) and Shawn Respert (15.8). With 51 made three-pointers he also ranks third, trailing Chris Hill (66) and Shawn Respert (60), while ranking third with 118 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 1,009 career points, he is 20 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 .387 (79-of-204) from behind the arc, ranking third in the Big Ten. The high percentage can be directly attributed to prolific shooting from Adreian Payne (.588; 10-of-17) and Gary Harris (.507; 36-of-71) 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. On the season, MSU is 12-1 when committing the same number or fewer turnovers than its opponent.
Valentine Bounces Back
After appearing to have hit a "freshman wall" in mid-late January, Denzel Valentine has bounced back recently, averaging 7.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists over the last five games. He's also shooting .552 from the field and .400 from 3-point range during this stretch. His play has been needed as Travis Trice missed four games and played limited minutes in the last contest 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 25 assists. He's been especially effective lately, totaling 24 assists and just 10 turnovers in the last 10 games, including collecting a career-best six assists at Indiana.
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. 18) in a span of 12 games, and nine in the top 26 in the next 12 contests. The Ohio State game is the 10th 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 (13.8 ppg - 11th Big Ten) and assists (3.9 apg - 6th 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 7-3 in games decided by five points or less, including 3-2 in conference games. In the last three minutes of conference games, MSU is shooting .478 (22-46) from the field, and .732 (60-82) from the foul line (although just 2-of-6 in a home loss to Indiana), averaging just 0.8 turnovers per game (11 in 14 games).
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in steals in Big Ten games (8.1 spg) and 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 469 of 608 opponents (.771), posting a 373-96 (.795) mark in those games. The Spartans have out-rebounded 24 of 27 opponents this season, having been out-rebounded just twice (Minnesota both times). They rank 3rd in the Big Ten and 17th in the nation with a +6.9 rebounding margin.
Payne's Improved Play
Over the last 12 games, Adreian Payne is averaging 12.1 points, shooting 52-of-85 (.612) from the field, including 10-of-17 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), second in field-goal percentage (.588) and eighth in blocks (1.3 bpg). He also ranks fourth on the Spartans in scoring at 9.8 points per contest. The main thing limiting Payne's production is foul trouble, as he's played 20 minutes or more in just 18 games. He's recorded four double-doubles this season, three of them in 22 minutes or less. However, he is averaging 31.0 minutes over the last nine 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 13 games, he seems to have elevated his play to another level, averaging 11.4 points and 6.4 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 (10.5 ppg), second in rebounding (6.1 rpg), and third in minutes played (27.2 mpg).
Payne's Block Party
Junior center Adreian Payne ranks fourth in Michigan State history with 101 career blocks. Delvon Roe ranks third with 106. Earlier this season, Payne equaled his career high with four blocks against Kansas.
Appling On Cousy List
On Feb. 7, Keith Appling made the cut to one of 12 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, honoring the nation's top point guard. Appling is one of three Big Ten point guards on the list as he is joined by Michigan's Trey Burke and Ohio State's Aaron Craft. In conference games, Appling ranks tied for sixth in the Big Ten in assists (3.7 apg), tied for sixth in steals (1.5 spg), and eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6). Overall, he ranks sixth in assists (3.9 apg) and 10th in steals (1.4 spg).
Dawson Gets Defensive
Branden Dawson has recorded a team-best 46 steals (1.7 spg), ranking fourth in the Big Ten, and 29 blocks (1.1 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 15 in blocks. As a freshman, Dawson collected 29 steals in 31 games. Keith Appling ranks second on the team and 10th in the Big Ten with 39 steals (1.4 spg), while Adreian Payne leads the team and ranks eighth in the Big Ten with 34 blocks (1.3 bpg).
In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of +10.0 points (34.3-24.3), out-scoring 22 of its 27 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 49.0 percent of their points in the paint (926 of 1889).
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 565-453 (.555) in league play, including 207-93 (.690) 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 207-93, 17 games better than second-place Wisconsin (190-110).
Harris' Immediate Impact
Gary Harris ranks second on the team and leads Big Ten freshmen in scoring at 13.2 points per contest. If you only consider games in which he played more than a minute, he's averaging 13.7 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 13.8 ppg in Big Ten play, leading conference freshmen. Harris leads MSU in 3-pointers made (51) and attempted (118), and has made 50.7 percent (36-of-71) 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 170 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. 22)
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 19.2 ppg and 13.4 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 .391 from the field, ranking third in the Big Ten, including .319 from 3-point range, ranking fourth. MSU also ranks third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 59.6 points per contest. In MSU's three conference losses, the Spartans have allowed 74.3 points on .503 shooting.
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 52 halves of basketball that have followed, the Spartans have shot 50 percent or better 20 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 .459.
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.
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.
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 5.7 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 (13.2 ppg) and minutes (28.8 mpg). Valentine also has made his mark, ranking second in assists (2.6 apg), fourth in rebounds (4.4 rpg) and sixth in minutes (21.5 mpg). Matt Costello has seen limited action, averaging 5.7 minutes in the 21 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 point 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, 307-238, in second-chance points for the season. That's an average of +2.6 points per game (11.4-8.8). The Spartans are averaging 11.3 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 434-174 (.714), and 207-93 (.690) in the Big Ten, as the coach of the Michigan State basketball program. He ranks as the winningest coach in Michigan State history, having passed his mentor Jud Heathcote with his 341st career victory on Nov. 28, 2009 . In his 17 seasons as a head coach, Izzo has captured eight National Coach of the Year awards, including the Clair Bee Award in 2005 and NABC honors in 2001 and 2012. In 1999, Izzo was named National Coach of the year by Basketball Times, while earning similar honors from The Associated Press, Basketball News and the USBWA in '98. He also earned National Coach of the Year accolades from CBSSports.com in 2012. He earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 1998, 2009 and 2012.
Among The Big Ten's Best
Tom Izzo's .690 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks third all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind Wisconsin's Bo Ryan (.710), and former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700), and ahead of former Purdue coach Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Ryan (.725), Izzo (.714), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), and Lambert (.709). With 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.