Feb. 25, 2012
|#6/6 Michigan State (23-5, 12-3) vs. Nebraska (12-4, 4-11)|
|Date||Saturday, Feb. 25|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Location||East Lansing, Mich. | Breslin Center|
|Television||BTN (Tom Hart, Greg Kelser)|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network (Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Nebraska|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Nebraska|
|Internet Coverage||Gametracker | Live Stats (Mobile Users)|
|Social Media||@MSU_Basketball | Facebook|
The Opening Tip
Michigan State hosts Nebraska in the second-to-last home game of the season for the Spartans, who are 16-0 at Breslin Center this season. MSU is coming off back-to-back road wins, while the Cornhuskers lost at Purdue on Wednesday, following a convincing home win over Illinois. This is NU's first ever trip to East Lansing as a Big Ten foe and first overall since December 1993.
The Starting Five
1. Spartan Staples
Tom Izzo has built the Michigan State program on rebounding and defense, two elements at which the Spartans are exceling this season. MSU is holding teams to a .374 field-goal percentage, the lowest total of the Tom Izzo era. The previous low was .384 in 2006-07. MSU's rebounding margin of +9.5 is the third-best margin of the Izzo era, and the best since posting a +15.4 margin in 2001. MSU currently ranks third 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. 23).
2. Climbing The Rebounding Charts
With 990 career rebounds, Draymond Green ranks fourth in MSU history, 26 behind Antonio Smith (1,016) in third place. He is on the verge of becoming just the fourth player in MSU history with 1,000 career boards, and the third player with 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds, joining Greg Kelser and Johnny Green. Currently 102 rebounds behind Kelser (1,092), Green would need to play 10 more games at his current 10.3 average to become MSU career rebounding leader. This season, Green leads the Big Ten and ranks 17th in the nation in rebounding (through Feb. 23). He also ranks 9th in the nation with 15 double-doubles.
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 (.375), .027 better than second place Ohio State, while also pacing the Big Ten in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (.277). Despite their up-tempo style, the Spartans rank second in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 58.1 points per game, just 0.3 ppg behind Wisconsin.
4. A Well-Rounded Team
MSU'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 lead the Big Ten in field-goal percentage (.475), while ranking third in scoring offense (69.4 ppg), and fifth in 3-point field-goal percentage (.352).
5. The Nation's Most Versatile Player
Draymond Green leads the nation with five games of at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists this year. In fact, he had as many last week (2) as any other player in the nation has had all season. Since 1996-97, Evan Turner is the only player from a power six conference to have more such games in a single season, recording seven in 2009-10. Tim Duncan (1996-97) is the only other player with as many as five in one season.
MSU VS. Nebraska Notes
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 9-6, including a 4-1 advantage in games played in Lincoln. The two teams met six times between 1988 and 1994, but, prior to this year's earlier meeting, had not met since then.
Doc Sadler (Arkansas, '82) is 149-103 in his 8th season as a Division I head coach, including 101-85 in his sixth season at Nebraska. He was also head coach at Arkansas-Fort Smith from 1998-2003, winning NJCAA Region II Coach of the Year honors in 2001 and 2002. Under his guidance, Nebraska led the Big 12 and ranked in the Top 25 nationally in scoring defense three times in the last four years.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Nebraska, 68-55, on Dec. 31, 2011, in Lincoln. Nebraska got off to a hot start, jumping 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. NU made one final run, pulling within four at 59-55 with 4:01 remaining. Coming out of a timeout, Appling found Austin Thornton who hit a 3-pointer to push the lead back to seven. 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.
The Last Meeting In East Lansing
Nebraska defeated Michigan State, 85-81, on Dec. 18, 1993, in East Lansing. Nebraska held a 47-35 halftime lead, shooting 52.8 percent in the first half. The Spartans shot 56.7 percent in the second half, but it wasn't enough. Four Cornhuskers scored in double figures, led by 19 each from Bruce Chubick and Erick Strickland, who also added 10 rebounds. Eric Piatkowski added 18 points for MSU. Shawn Respert scored 28 points to pace MSU and Quinton Brooks socred 25 points. Anthony Miller had a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, but the rest of the Spartans added just 10 points.
Nebraska leads the Big Ten in free-throw percentage (.753), paced by Bo Spencer who leads the conference at .880 ... Nebraska has shot over 50 percent from the field in three of its last four Big Ten road games ... The Huskers are averaging 10.3 turnovers per game over the last three contests ... Brandon Richardson ranks third in the conference with 1.8 steals per game ... Since moving into the starting lineup in December, Toney McCray is averaging 11.2 ppg and 5.5 rpg ... Dylan Talley leads all Big Ten scorers off the bench, averaging 9.1 ppg.
GM. 28 Recap
Michigan State 66 - Minnesota 61
Michigan State jumped out to an early 17-12 lead at the 13:27 mark, thanks in part to three 3-pointers from Draymond Green. The Spartans then scored just two points in nearly eight minutes after that. Still, when Brandon Wood drove to the basket for a layup, MSU took a 31-30 halftime lead. The Gophers started the second half on a strong note, using an 18-8 run over the first 9:35 to take a 48-39 lead. A Wood steal and dunk trimmed the lead to 54-52 with 4:51 remaining, but four points from Julian Welch pushed the lead back to 58-52. The Spartans responded with a 12-0 burst, closing the game on a 14-3 run, forcing four Minnesota turnovers and one missed shot. Michigan State scored on each of its last seven possessions, including shooting 8-of-8 from the foul line. Green's layup at the 1:42 mark tied the game at 58, and on MSU's next possession, Keith Appling was fouled with three seconds on the shot clock and calmly knocked the down two free throws with 32 seconds left, taking the lead for good. Green finished with 17 points, while Appling and Wood each scored 13. Austin Hollins led the Gophers with 17.
MSU vs. Minnesota Notes
* MSU committed a season-low five turnovers. Its previous season low was nine.
* The game featured 18 lead changes, including 16 in the first half.
* The Spartans made two of their first seven free throws, but connected on 15-of-16 in the final 7:47.
* Keith Appling scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half, including six in the final minute.
* Brandon Wood scored 13 points, the most he's scored in a game since scoring 13 vs. Indiana in the Big Ten opener.
* Michigan State's five-point margin of victory was its second closest of the season.
* Minnesota out-rebounded the Spartans, 33-27, becoming just the fourth team to out-rebound MSU, and doing so by the greatest margin of the season. MSU, however, is 4-0 when being out-rebounded this season.
* This was the first game all season in which MSU was out-rebounded and out-shot from the field.
* MSU closed the game on a 14-3 run, similar to the 14-1 run it used to close out a 53-48 win at Minnesota in 2011, and the 13-4 run to end a 65-64 victory at Williams Arena in 2010.
MSU Basketball Notes
Draymond In Exclusive Company
Currently averaging 15.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg and 3.8 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.
Green's Weekly Honors
For the second week in a row and third time in the last four weeks, Draymond Green was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Feb. 20. He averaged 20.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in Spartan wins over Wisconsin and at Purdue. He had as many 20-point, 10-rebound, 5-assist games last week (2) as any other player in the nation has had all season. Green is a four-time winner of the Big Ten weekly award (Feb. 20, Feb. 13, Jan. 30, Dec. 12). On Feb. 21, Green's performance was also recognized by the USBWA with the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week award. Earlier this season, he was also named National Player of the Week by ESPN.com's Andy Katz and ESPN's Dick Vitale following his 34-point effort in a win at Gonzaga.
Strength of Schedule
According to ESPN.com's InsideRPI Daily (Feb. 24), Michigan State's strength of schedule ranks No. 2 in the country. The Spartans have played 16 of 28 games vs. the RPI Top 100 and 21 of 28 vs. the RPI Top 150. Two of MSU's final three games will be against teams with an RPI of 20 or better. MSU leads the nation with six wins over ranked opponents.
Strong Spartan Defense
MSU's defensive effort has been impressive this season. The Spartans are allowing just 58.7 points (ranking 13th in the nation through Feb. 23) on .374 shooting (3rd in nation), including .287 from 3-point range (11th in nation). The Spartans rank third in the Big Ten in scoring defense, first 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 20 have shot under 41 percent, including four below 30 percent.
How Valuable Is Draymond?
Draymond Green has led MSU in rebounding in 22 of 28 games, including 13 of 15 Big Ten contests. He's led MSU in scoring in 14 games, and paced the Spartans in assists in 10 contests. In four of the last eight games, he's led in scoring, rebounding and assists. In the 10 games in which he's recorded at least five assists and five rebounds, the Spartans are a perfect 10-0. He's the only player in the Big Ten to rank in the top 10 in scoring (t-8th), rebounding (1st) and assists (8th). In fact, no other player in the Big Ten ranks in the Top 15 in all three categories.
Branden Dawson scored in single digits in his first six Big Ten games. He's become a much more effective scorer in the last eight games, averaging 10.7 ppg, scoring in double figures in six of the last nine, and grabbing 6.1 boards per contest. He's posted two double-doubles in the stretch at Illinois (12 pts., 13 reb.) and at Purdue (15 pts., 11 reb.) He's shooting .597 (40-of-67) from the field over the last nine games. He's scored in double-figures 12 times this season, and ranks third on the team in scoring at 8.9 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 (.581) and 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.
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 10.3 rebounds per game, ranking 17th in the nation (through Feb. 23), including a conference-best 10.7 rebounds per game in league contests. His 10.3 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 18 games, including 10 of the last 13 and 13 of the last 18. He has led MSU in rebounding in 22 of 28 games this season. He's recorded 14 or more boards in four of the last 12 games.
With a 58-48 win at Ohio State, Michigan State recorded its 12th 20-win season in the last 15 years, all under head coach Tom Izzo. Of the 20 20-win seasons in Spartan history, Izzo has been involved in 17 of them, 12 as a head coach and five as an assistant.
Four different Spartans have recorded a double-double this season. Draymond Green leads the way with 15 double-doubles, pacing the Big Ten and ranking 9th in the nation (through Feb. 23). Green has posted a double-double in 11 of the last 17 games. Branden Dawson has posted three double-doubles, and Adreian Payne and Brandon Wood have each recorded one double-double. Green has tallied 33 career double-doubles, ranking third by a Spartan since 1975-76, trailing only Greg Kelser (48) and Mike Peplowski (35). He (15.5 ppg, 10.3 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 24 of 28 opponents by a +9.5 margin, including eight by 15 or more, leading the Big Ten and ranking third in the nation (through Feb. 23). 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 440 of 572 opponents (.769), posting a 347-93 (.789) 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 and 11th in the nation (through Feb. 23), allowing opponents to shoot just .287 from behind the arc, while ranking first in conference games (.277). 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. Seventeen opponents have shot .300 or lower, including 10 of the last 14.
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 22 games, however, the Spartans have been on target, connecting on .384 of their shots (121-315) from behind the arc. In league games, MSU ranks fifth in the conference at .352.
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 553-448 (.552) in league play, including 195-88 (.689) under Tom Izzo, who ranks sixth in league history with 195 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 195-88, 18 games better than second place Wisconsin (177-106).
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 (15.5 ppg), rebounding (10.3 rpg), minutes (33.0 mpg), steals (41), 3-point field goals (38) and blocks (26, tied), while ranking second in assists (3.8 apg). He leads the Big Ten in rebounding and defensive rebounds (8.1 drpg), while ranking tied for seventh in offensive rebounds (2.2 orpg), tied for seventh in steals, tied for eighth in scoring, eighth in assists, tied for 11th in blocks, and 14th in assist/turnover ratio.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo recorded his 400th win at MSU with the Spartans' 68-52 win over Minnesota. The school's all-time winningest coach with 406 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).
The Perfect 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 22nd in the nation and first in the Big Ten in assists with 15.7 per game (NCAA ranking through Feb. 23). The Spartans have recorded an assist on 60.0 percent of their baskets. Over the last 21 games, the Spartans are averaging 16.6 assists. Individually, Keith Appling is averaging 4.5 assists in the last 21 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 22 games, however, MSU has shown dramatic improvement, hitting .488 from the field and .384 from 3-point range. The Spartans have shot over 50 percent in 11 of the last 21 games, including four contests at 60 percent or better. In Big Ten games, MSU leads the conference at .475.
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 28 games. Appling and Dawson have started all 28 games, while Green and Payne have started 27. Appling, Dawson, Green, Payne and Austin Thornton have started the last six.
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 4.2 assists in his last 26 games with a 1.8-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 4.5 assists in the last 21 games, including a career-best 9 vs. Iowa, and has seven or more assists in six of the last 21 games. He owns a 2.0-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in the last 21 contests. In conference games, he ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 4.3 assists per game and eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7).
Michigan State is outscoring opponents, 376-250, in second chance points for the season. That's an average of +4.5 points per game (13.4-8.9). The Spartans are averaging 12.6 offensive boards per game, ranking second in the Big Ten. MSU has 354 offensive rebounds on the year compared to 553 defensive rebounds for its opponents, good for an offensive rebound percentage of .390, 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 7.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 18.8 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 8.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in the last 21 games. In the first 73 games of his career, Nix scored in double figures just three times; he's done it nine times in the last 20 contests, scoring eight or more points in 14 of the last 21 games. He's been MSU's first sub in 24 of the 27 games in which he's come off the bench.
Six of the 11 players in the Spartan playing group are seeing their first action in a Michigan State uniform (Russell Byrd, Branden Dawson, Alex Gauna, Brandan Kearney, Travis Trice, Brandon Wood). The six are averaging 34.8 percent of the scoring and 39.4 percent of the minutes. There are just two players on the 2011-12 roster (Keith Appling and Draymond Green) who averaged more than 20 minutes per game last season for MSU.
One of the reasons that MSU is able to rank among the nation's leaders in rebounding margin is that its guards have been strong on the glass. The Spartans' starting backcourt of Keith Appling (3.1 rpg), Austin Thornton (3.4 rpg) and Branden Dawson (4.9 rpg) averages 11.4 boards per contest.
Eight different Spartans have led Michigan State in scoring this season. Draymond Green (14 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 13.2 per game (although just 12.1 in the last 21 games), while forcing 13.5 by its opponents. The Spartans are averaging 15.6 points per game off opponent turnovers, compared to 11.7 points by opponents off MSU turnovers. The Spartans are 11-0 when committing fewer turnovers than their opponent, but 9-5 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 34.9-22.4, out-scoring 24 of its 28 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 .718 over the last 23 games. For the season, MSU is shooting .700 from the foul line, averaging 21.8 attempts per game ranking fourth in 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 1,349 points, he ranks 22nd in MSU history, needing 29 to move past Julius McCoy (1,377 points).
Playing The Best
Since the 1997-98 season (including 2011-12 - through Feb. 23), 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 (143), Kentucky (140) and Duke (139).
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
Seven different Spartan opponents are ranked in at least one of the two polls, including Duke (5 AP/4 USA Today), North Carolina (7/7), Ohio State (8/9), Michigan (11/13), Florida State (15/16), Wisconsin (16/15), and Indiana (23/24). MSU is ranked No. 6 by the AP and No. 6 by ESPN/USA Today.
Keith Appling and Draymond Green both benefitted from their experiences with USA Basketball over the summer. Green was a member of the World University Games team, averaging 8.6 points and 6.0 rebounds, ranking second on the team in boards, and serving as a distributor from the forward position. Appling played with the FIBA U19 World Championship team, averaging 4.1 points and 10.3 minutes per contest, gaining some valuable experience at the point.
Same Name, Different Spellings
Among MSU's newcomers, three have the same first name, but it's spelled three different ways. Branden Dawson, Brandan Kearney and Brandon Wood each have a different second-to-last lettter in the first name. Pay close attention to eliminate typos.
The Book On Tom Izzo
In his 17th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 406-166 (.710), and 195-88 (.689) 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 .689 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 (.705), 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 (.726), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Izzo (.710) and Lambert (.709). With 195 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.