March 6, 2013
THE OPENING TIP
The Last Meeting
January 22, 2013
No. 13 Spartans Outlast Wisconsin, 49-47
Keith Appling scored 19 points and Branden Dawson added 18 to lead No. 13 Michigan State to a 49-47 victory over Wisconsin on Tuesday night. Mike Bruesewitz led Wisconsin (13-6, 4-2 Big Ten) with 10 points. Both teams went more than 4 minutes without scoring down the stretch. Dawson broke the drought, hitting one of two from the free throw line to put the Spartans (17-3, 6-1) up 48-44 with just over 2 minutes left. Ryan Evans' 3-pointer from the wing with 17 seconds left pulled Wisconsin within 48-47.
Michigan State closes the regular season with a pair of home games, beginning with a Thursday night contest against Wisconsin. The first meeting between the Spartans and the Badgers was a two-point win for MSU in Madison. They are two of the four teams just one game behind Indiana the Big Ten standings, giving the game important Big Ten Tournament seeding and championship implications.
THE STARTING FIVE
1. The Closing Gauntlet
The Wisconsin game marks Michigan State's fourth straight game against a ranked opponent, including two on the road. MSU will be the only team in the nation 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. Success At Breslin
Michigan State is 325-46 (.876) at home all-time since Breslin Center opened in 1989, including 169-35 (.828) in Big Ten play. Under Tom Izzo, the Spartans are 251-31 (.890) at Breslin, including a 128-22 (.853) conference record. MSU has won 32 of the last 34 games at Breslin.
3. MSU Against Ranked Opponents
Michigan State is 4-5 this season against teams that were ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 at the time of the contest. The Spartans have played 13 of their 29 games against teams that have been ranked at some point this season, posting a 6-7 mark in those contests. In fact, MSU has played 11 games against teams that have been ranked in the Top 10 at some point this season, going 5-6.
4. Winning the Close Ones
Michigan State is 7-4 in games decided by five points or less, including 3-3 in conference games. In the last three minutes of conference games, MSU is shooting .463 (25-54) from the field, and .730 (65-89) from the foul line (although just 2-of-6 in a home loss to Indiana), averaging just 0.9 turnovers per game (15 in 16 games). MSU has avoided the blowout loss this season, as six of the seven losses have been by eight points or less, and the other loss (at Minnesota) was a two-point game with three minutes left. In fact, in six of MSU's losses, MSU has been within a basket in the final three minutes.
5. Payne's Improved Play
Over the last 14 games, Adreian Payne is averaging 12.4 points, shooting 63-of-160 (.594) from the field, including 12-of-24 from 3-point range. In the last four games, he's averaging 15.3 points and 12.0 rebounds, including grabbing 14 boards at Nebraska and a career-high 15 at Ohio State. A look at the Big Ten stats shows that Payne is one of the premier big men in the Big Ten, ranking fourth in the conference in rebounding (7.4 rpg), second in field-goal percentage (.581) and eighth in blocks (1.2 bpg). He also ranks third on the Spartans in scoring at 10.1 points per contest. Early in the season, he was limited by foul trouble, averaging just 20.1 minutes in the first 18 games, playing 30 or more minutes just once. However, he is averaging 31.4 minutes over the last 11 games, recording eight of the nine 30-minute games of his career.
MSU VS. WISCONSIN NOTES
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Wisconsin, 73-60, including a 45-14 advantage in games played in East Lansing. The home team has won 13 of the last 15 games played on a college campus, with the lone exceptions being MSU's wins in Madison the last two seasons. Tom Izzo is 22-16 in his career against Wisconsin.
Bo Ryan (Wilkes, `69) is 671-213 in his 29th season as a collegiate head coach, including 288-110 in his 12th year at Wisconsin. Prior to his arrival in Madison, Ryan coached at UW-Milwaukee for two years (1999-2001) and at UW-Platteville for 15 seasons (1984-99), winning four Division III National Championships.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State won its second straight game at the Kohl Center, defeating Wisconsin, 49-47, on Jan. 22, 2013. The Spartans got off to a cold start and did not score until the 15:11 mark. Twice in the first half, the Badgers pushed their lead up to seven points, but MSU managed to maintain contact and trailed by just a single point at the half, 28-27. Branden Dawson had a big first half with 11 points and eight rebounds, and Keith Appling added 10 points, hitting three 3-pointers, including one four-point play. Six of the Badgers' 10 first-half field goals were from 3-point range. MSU held the lead through most of the second half, but UW took a brief 39-37 lead on a shotclock buzzer-beating 3-pointer by George Marshall at the 11:49 mark. The Spartans quickly scored six points and never gave up the lead, despite scoring just two points in the final 6:55. MSU was 0-of-6 from the field and 2-of-4 from the foul line in the final 6:55, while the Badgers were 1-of-7 from the field and 1-of-7 from the foul line. Appling led MSU with 19 points, while Dawson added 18 points and a career-high tying 13 rebounds. Mike Bruesewitz was the only Badger in double figures with 10 points. MSU's 49 points were the fewest it had scored in a victory since beating Michigan, 43-32, on Feb. 17, 1951.
The Last Meeting In East Lansing
Michigan State defeated Wisconsin, 69-55, on Feb. 16, 2012, in East Lansing. Trailing 12-8 early, the Spartans responded in strong fashion with a 14-0 run, taking a 22-12 lead at the 5:24 mark, with Draymond Green scoring the first seven points of the run. 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. Draymond Green and Keith Appling each scored 20 points to pace MSU, as Green added 10 rebounds for the double-double. Ryan Evans led Wisconsin with 17 points.
Wisconsin's frontline features three seniors, including two fifth-year seniors ... Jared Berggren leads the Big Ten in blocked shots (2.0 bpg) and is Wisconsin's career leader ... UW leads the Big Ten in scoring defense (55.8 ppg) ... Ryan Evans ranks third in the Big Ten in rebounding (7.6 rpg) ... Freshman Sam Dekker leads all Big Ten reserves in scoring (9.6 ppg).
GM. 29 RECAP MICHIGAN 58 - MICHIGAN STATE 57
It was a back-and-forth contest early, with neither team leading by more than four points in the first 14 minutes. MSU threatened to pull away late in the first half, taking a 31-24 lead on two Derrick Nix free throws with 1:03 remaining. Michigan, however, scored two late baskets, and trailed by just three points at the half, 31-28. The Spartans were sluggish coming out of the halftime break, as the Wolverines opened on an 8-0 run, while MSU committed four turnovers and missed 0-of-4 shots in the first five minutes. UM extended the lead to 52-42 with 4:36 left. MSU responded with a 14-4 spurt over the next 3:42 to tie the game at 56. Keith Appling capped the run with two free throws, following his steal of Trey Burke. The Spartans then forced another Wolverine turnover, gaining control of the ball with 32 seconds left. Appling dribbled up court and prepared to call timeout, but, before he could signal, Burke stole the ball and raced downcourt for a dunk. MSU still had a chance to tie the game as Nix went to the foul line with 8.8 seconds left, but hit just one of two shots. After UM missed a front end of a one-and-one, MSU had another opportunity to win, but Burke recorded a game-clinching steal.
MSU VS. MICHIGAN NOTES
* After holding a 36-22 edge in points in the paint in the first meeting of the season, Michigan State was outscored, 44-26.
* Michigan turned 18 Spartan turnovers into 18 points. MSU committed just eight turnovers in the first game vs. UM.
* Michigan State shot a season-low .356 from the field.
* MSU's defense held Michigan to zero 3-pointers in 12 attempts.
* Michigan State recorded 19 offensive rebounds, grabbing half of their missed shots.
* Adreian Payne recorded his second straight double-double with 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, helping MSU out-rebound UM, 44-29.
MSU BASKETBALL NOTES
Appling Against The Badgers
Keith Appling is averaging 13.2 points in six career games against the Badgers, shooting .463 from the field, including 17.0 points in his last four games. In the most recent meeting, he scored a game-high 19 points against Wisconsin. Last season, he averaged 16.3 points in three games. In MSU's 2012 win at Madison, he scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and overtime, 11 of which came after Draymond Green picked up his fourth foul. He led MSU with 20 points against UW in East Lansing, and added 13 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals. He's been especially productive at the foul line, hitting 22-of-25 (.880) free throws, including 17-of-20 (.850) last season.
Harris Paces Big Ten Freshmen
Gary Harris is one of eight finalists, and the only Big Ten finalist, for the 2013 Integris Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award, presented by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. In Big Ten games, he leads conference freshmen in scoring, averaging 13.9 points per contest. Harris leads Big Ten freshmen in 3-point percentage in conference games at .481 (39-of-81), ranking second among all players, and 3-point field goals made (2.4), which ranks fourth among all players. Defensively, he leads Big Ten freshmen with 1.5 steals per game, ranking tied for fifth among all players. He also leads conference freshmen in overall scoring at 13.3 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.
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 172 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 (148) and Connecticut (142). (Through March 3)
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 13.3 ppg overall scoring average ranks third in school history behind just Earvin Johnson (17.0) and Shawn Respert (15.8). With 54 made three-pointers he also ranks third, trailing Chris Hill (66) and Shawn Respert (60), while ranking third with 128 3-point attempts. He also ranks among the top five in 3-point field-goal percentage (fourth, .422) and steals (t-4th, 36).
Michigan State presents a balanced scoring attack, especially in Big Ten games, where all five Spartan starters average 9.9 points or better. 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 1,021 career points, he is eight 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 16 games, the Spartans are shooting .367 (87-of-237) from behind the arc, ranking second in the Big Ten. The high percentage can be directly attributed to prolific shooting from Adreian Payne (.500; 12-of-24) and Gary Harris (.481; 39-of-81) 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 13.7 per game, including five games with 19 or more. In Big Ten play, however, MSU has done a much better job, averaging 12.1 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 6.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists over the last eight games. He's also shooting .487 from the field during this stretch.
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 29 assists. He's been especially effective lately, totaling 28 assists in the last 12 games, including collecting a career-best six assists at Indiana.
MSU In March
Michigan State is 68-28 (.708) in March since the 1998-99 season. For his career, Tom Izzo is 75-35 (.682) in March. Over the last four-plus years, MSU is 22-8 in what Coach Izzo calls his favorite month of the year.
Spartans In Tough Stretch
Michigan State is in the final 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. 25) in a span of 12 games, and nine in the top 32. The Wisconsin game is the 12th in a string of 12 games that will see the Spartans play 10 games against teams that currently own a .500 or better conference record.
There's An App For That
Keith Appling ranks second on the Spartans in scoring (13.2 ppg - 15th Big Ten) and leads the team in assists (3.8 apg - 8th 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. 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.
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in steals in Big Ten games (7.7 spg) and is tied overall (8.1 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 471 of 610 opponents (.772), posting a 373-98 (.792) mark in those games. The Spartans have out-rebounded 26 of 29 opponents this season, having been out-rebounded just twice (Minnesota both times). They rank 3rd in the Big Ten and 13th in the nation with a +7.2 rebounding margin.
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. On the season, he ranks fourth on the team in scoring (10.1 ppg), third in rebounding (6.0 rpg), and fourth in minutes played (27.0 mpg).
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 fifth in the Big Ten in assists (3.6 apg), ninth in steals (1.4 spg), and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5). Overall, he ranks eighth in assists (3.8 apg) and tied for ninth in steals (1.4 spg).
Dawson Gets Defensive
Branden Dawson has recorded a team-best 49 steals (1.7 spg), ranking fifth in the Big Ten, and 29 blocks (1.0 bpg), ranking second on the team and tied for 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 tied for ninth in the Big Ten with 41 steals (1.4 spg), while Adreian Payne leads the team and ranks eighth in the Big Ten with 35 blocks (1.2 bpg).
In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of +8.9 points (34.0-25.1), out-scoring 23 of its 29 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 49.2 percent of their points in the paint (986 of 2006).
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 565-455 (.554) in league play, including 207-95 (.685) 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 207-95, 16 games better than second-place Wisconsin (191-111).
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.
Payne's Block Party
Junior center Adreian Payne ranks fourth in Michigan State history with 102 career blocks. Delvon Roe ranks third with 106. Earlier this season, Payne equaled his career high with four blocks against Kansas.
Harris' Immediate Impact
Gary Harris leads the Spartans and Big Ten freshmen in scoring at 13.3 points per contest. If you only consider games in which he played more than a minute, he's averaging 13.8 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 13.9 ppg in Big Ten play, leading conference freshmen. Harris leads MSU in 3-pointers made (54) and attempted (128), and has made 48.1 percent (39-of-81) of his shots from behind the arc in conference action.
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 19.5 ppg and 13.8 rpg. Both of them are also shooting better than 50 percent from the field.
Four different Spartans have posted a double-double this season. Adreian Payne (Nicholls State, Loyola, Tuskegee, Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan) leads the way with six, 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 .393 from the field, ranking third in the Big Ten, including .310 from 3-point range, ranking fourth. MSU also ranks third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 59.8 points per contest. In MSU's five conference losses, the Spartans have allowed 69.8 points on .475 shooting, compared to 59.7 points on .404 shooting in 11 Big Ten wins.
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 56 halves of basketball that have followed, the Spartans have shot 50 percent or better 21 times. On the season, MSU is shooting .464 from the field, ranking third in the Big Ten. In conference games, the Spartans rank third, shooting .451.
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. 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 6.0 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.
Freshmen Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine have made key contributions early in their Spartan careers. Harris leads the squad in scoring (13.3 ppg) and ranks second in minutes (29.2 mpg). Valentine also has made his mark, ranking second in assists (2.4 apg), fourth in rebounds (4.2 rpg) and sixth in minutes (21.6 mpg). Matt Costello has seen limited action, averaging 6.0 minutes in the 23 games in which he's played, although he's averaging 3.0 points and 9.8 minutes in his last six games.
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.
Big Ten Strength
Once again, the Big Ten makes a strong claim as the toughest conference in college basketball. Indiana (No. 2), Michigan (No. 7), Michigan State (No. 10), Ohio State (No. 14), and Wisconsin (No. 22) are all ranked in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 (March 4), while Illinois has the seventh-highest point total among unranked teams, and Minnesota has the eighth-highest total. 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, 330-257, in second-chance points for the season. That's an average of +2.5 points per game (11.4-8.9). The Spartans are averaging 11.4 offensive boards per game, with an offensive rebound percentage of .356.
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 434-176 (.711), and 207-95 (.685) 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 .685 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 (.708), 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), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Izzo (.711), 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.