March 16, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
NCAA Tournament First Round
No. 5 Michigan State (24-8, 14-4)
vs. No. 12 New Mexico St. (22-11, 11-5)
March 19, 2010
7:20 p.m. EDT
Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena
Radio: Spartan Sports Network - Will Tieman (Play by Play),
Gus Ganakas and Matt Steigenga (Color), Adam Ruff (Host)
Flagship - WJIM 1240 AM/WMMQ 94.9 FM;
TV: CBS - Tim Brando (Play by Play), Mike Gminski (Color)
The Opening Tip
Michigan State is making its 13th-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament as it opens as the No. 5 seed in the Midwest Region against No. 12 seed New Mexico State. The Spartans shared the Big Ten regular-season championship with Purdue and Ohio State. The winner of the MSU-NMSU game will play the winner of the No. 4 Maryland-No. 13 Houston contest.
The Starting Five (And A Sixth Man)
1. MSU's NCAA Streak
Michigan State is making its 13th straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010. It is the longest current streak among Big Ten schools and third longest in the nation. Only Kansas (21) and Duke (15) have longer current streaks. It is also the second-longest streak in Big Ten history. Indiana appeared in 18 consecutive tournaments between 1986 and 2003.
2. MSU In The NCAA Tournament
Michigan State is making its 24th appearance in the NCAA Tournament with a record of 48-22 in its previous 23 tournaments. MSU has made seven trips to the Final Four (1957, 1979, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009) and captured the NCAA Championship in 1979 and 2000.
3. At His Best When It Counts
Tom Izzo ranks fifth among active coaches for the best NCAA Tournament winning percentage at .738 (31-11). Duke's Mike Krzyzewski ranks first at .763 (71-22), followed by Florida's Billy Donovan at .759 (22-7), North Carolina's Roy Williams at .753 (55-18) and Louisville's Rick Pitino at .745 (38-13). Of those five, Izzo and Krzyzewski are the only coaches to appear in the last 13 NCAA Tournaments.
4. Izzo's NCAA Streak
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is making his 13th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. It's the third longest active streak in the nation, trailing only Mike Krzyzewski and Rick Barnes, whom each are making their 15th straight trip this season. Izzo's streak is the nation's second-longest among coaches at just one school, trailing only Krzyzewski. It's the second-longest streak in Big Ten history behind only Bob Knight's 15-straight appearances (1985-2000).
5. MSU In Opening Games
In its 23 NCAA Tournaments, Michigan State has a record of 18-5 in its first game of the tournament. Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, the Spartans are 14-5 in the first round. Tom Izzo is 9-3 in first-round games.
6. MSU In The Midwest Region
Michigan State is making its eighth appearance in the Midwest Region. The Spartans advanced to the Final Four in 1999 and 2000 as the No. 1 seed and in 2009 in the No. 2 seed. MSU also played in the Midwest in 1985, 1986, 1992 and 2004.
MSU vs. New Mexico State
About New Mexico State
The Aggies enter the tournament as the Midwest Region's No. 12 seed after winning the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. New Mexico State compiled a 22-11 overall record in 2009-10 while going 11-5 in WAC play. NMSU is making its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance and its first since 2007. The Aggies own a 10-19 all-time NCAA Tournament record, including an appearance in the 1970 Final Four.
New Mexico State vs. The Field of 65
The Aggies went 3-4 against teams in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. New Mexico State defeated Utah State twice, split with UTEP and lost twice to New Mexico and once to Saint Mary's.
The Spartans and Aggies have no common opponents in 2009-10.
The first-round matchup will mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Marvin Menzies (UCLA, '87) is 60-40 in his third season at New Mexico State and is making his first appearance as a head coach in the NCAA Tournament. In his first season at New Mexico State in 2007-08, Menzies won the most games (21) by a first-year coach in program history and directed the Aggies to their first-ever regular-season WAC Championship. Last season, NMSU went 17-15. Prior to taking over the Aggies in Las Cruces, Menzies served as an assistant coach at five different NCAA Division I programs, including Louisville, UNLV, USC and San Diego State. Menzies began his collegiate career at Santa Monica (Calif.) College, where he spent six seasons as an assistant and associate head coach (1991-94, 1995-96 and 1997-99) and one season as a head coach (1994-95).
New Mexico State has won the WAC Tournament twice since joining the league in 2005, both times defeating Utah State in the championship game ... NMSU snapped Utah State's 17-game winning streak with its 69-63 victory in the 2010 WAC Tournament title game ... With their 22 wins, the Aggies recorded their 24th 20-win season in school history and the second under Coach Menzies ... New Mexico State has lost its last four NCAA Tournament games; its last win in the NCAA Tournament came in 1993 against Nebraska in the first round ... The Aggies feature a potent offense, ranking among the top 20 nationally in 3-pointers (11th with 8.5) and scoring offense (20th with 78.6 ppg) as of March 11; however, the Aggies rank 252nd in the nation in rebounding margin (-2.1) and 325th in scoring defense (78.3 ppg) ... Junior guard Jahmar Young, who was named First-Team All-WAC for the second consecutive year, leads the team and ranks second in the conference with 20.5 points per game ... Young led the WAC in scoring last year and became the first sophomore in Aggie history to be named First-Team All-WAC ... Senior guard Jonathan Gibson is second on the team and fifth in the league in scoring with 17.5 ppg and earned Second-Team All-WAC honors ... Gibson ranks seventh in school history with 1,525 career points ... The Aggies have five players averaging double figures ... New Mexico State has been winning the close games, posting a perfect 8-0 record in games decided by five points or less.
NCAA Tournament Notes
Michigan State-Spokane Connections
As Michigan State travels over 1,630 miles to Spokane, Wash., the Spartans know they will have one loyal fan in the local area: former MSU head coach Jud Heathcote. Heathcote amassed a 340-220 record in 19 seasons as Michigan State head coach from 1976-95, leading the Spartans to the 1979 NCAA Championship and three Big Ten titles. A 2001 inductee into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame, Heathcote was inducted in the College Basketball Hall of Fame this past November. He was MSU's all-time winningest coach until his hand-picked successor, Tom Izzo, passed him in late November.
2000 NCAA Champs - 10th Anniversary
The 2010 NCAA Tournament marks the 10th Anniversary of the 2000 National Champion Michigan State Spartans. MSU defeated No. 16 Valparaiso (65-38) and No. 8 Utah (73-61) in the opening weekend. In the Sweet 16, MSU used second-half rallies to beat both No. 4 Syracuse (75-58) and No. 2 Iowa State (75-64). As the lone No. 1 seed at the Final Four at Indianapolis' RCA Dome, MSU defeated No. 8 Wisconsin (53-41) and No. 5 Florida (89-76). Mateen Cleaves was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, while Charlie Bell, Morris Peterson and A.J. Granger were also on the All-Tournament Team.
Final Fours For Active Coaches
With five Final Fours to his credit, Tom Izzo ranks tied for third among active coaches. Mike Krzyzewski leads all active coaches with 10 Final Four appearances, followed by Roy Williams (7) and Rick Pitino (5).
Spartan Opponents In NCAA Tournament
Nine Michigan State opponents are in the field of 65 for the 2010 NCAA Tournament, including Big Ten foes Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin and non-conference opponents Florida, Gonzaga, Oakland, Texas and Wofford. The Spartans are a combined 7-6 against the nine teams.
MSU As A No. 5 Seed
This is the sixth time in school history that Michigan State has been the No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. MSU is 10-5 as a No. 5 seed, including one trip to the Final Four and three trips to the Sweet 16. In 1986, MSU defeated No. 12 Washington (72-70) and No. 4 Georgetown before falling to No. 1 Kansas (96-86, OT). The Spartans were the No. 5 seed in back-to-back seasons in 1991 and 1992. In 1991, MSU defeated No. 12 UW-Green Bay (60-58), but lost to No. 4 Utah in double overtime (85-84). One year later, MSU defeated No. 12 Southwest Missouri State (61-54) before falling to No. 4 Cincinnati (72-65). MSU advanced all the way to the 2005 Final Four as a No. 5 seed, defeating No. 12 Old Dominion (89-81), No. 13 Vermont (72-61), No. 1 Duke (78-68) and No. 2 Kentucky (94-88, 2OT), before falling to No. 1 North Carolina (87-71). Most recently, MSU was the No. 5 seed in 2008, defeating No. 12 Temple (72-61) and No. 4 Pittsburgh (65-54) in Denver, before falling to No. 1 Memphis (92-74) in the Sweet 16.
Big Ten Conference In The NCAA Tournament
The Big Ten Conference has five of its 11 schools in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Joining the Spartans are No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Purdue, No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 11 Minnesota.
Michigan State ranks ninth among all schools in NCAA Tournament winning percentage for teams with at least 20 tournament games. MSU's .686 winning percentage (48-22) trails only Duke (.746, 88-30), UCLA (.734, 93-34), North Carolina (.723, 102-39), Florida (.722, 26-10), Kansas (.694, 84-37), Kentucky (.690, 98-44) and UNLV (.688, 33-15). MSU's 48 tournament wins rank ninth in NCAA history and second among Big Ten schools, behind Indiana (60).
MSU In The Second Round
Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, Michigan State has advanced to the second round 14 times. MSU has a 10-4 record in second-round games, including winning eight of its last nine.
Two Titles Not Too Shabby
Michigan State is one of just 14 schools to have won two or more NCAA Championships. Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida, Louisville, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State and San Francisco join MSU with two titles. Only UCLA (11), Kentucky (7), Indiana (5), North Carolina (5), Kansas (3) and Duke (3) and have won more titles.
Game 32 Recap - Minnesota 72 - MSU 67
* Michigan State missed a season-high 16 free-throw attempts, connecting on 18-of-34 attempts, including just 5-of-12 in overtime.
* It was Michigan State's first overtime game since 2005-06 and the first in Big Ten Tournament history for the Spartans.
* Draymond Green recorded his seventh double-double of the season.
* Kalin Lucas scored 18 points, his first game with more than 13 points since scoring 24 points at Penn State on Feb. 13.
* With six rebounds, Raymar Morgan passed Steve Smith for 10th place on MSU's all-time rebounding chart (741 career boards).
MSU Basketball Notes
Big Ten Titles Under Coach Izzo
By capturing a share of the 2010 Big Ten Championship, Tom Izzo becomes just the sixth coach in league history to win six league titles, joining Indiana's Bob Knight, Purdue's Gene Keady and Ward Lambert, Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell and Ohio State's Fred Taylor. He became the first coach to win at least six conference titles in his first 15 seasons since Bob Knight won seven during the same span at Indiana.
Senior Stretch Run
College athletics is full of stories of seniors putting a team on their back down the stretch run of their final season. While Raymar Morgan doesn't need to put the Spartans on his back, his play will go a long way in determining how successful the final month of his career will be. Over the last five games, Morgan is averaging 17.2 points and 9.8 rebounds, leading the Spartans in both categories. On March 1, he was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week. Morgan has led the Spartans in scoring in each of the last four games.
Defense Tightens Up
The Spartans have tightened up their defense down the stretch run. After allowing three straight opponents to shoot better than 50 percent from the field in early February, Michigan State is holding opponents to .385 shooting and 59.3 points in the last six games.
Reducing The Turnovers
Turnovers have been an issue for Michigan State for much of the year, especially in Spartan losses. MSU, however, is getting better in that area of the game, committing 10 turnovers or fewer in five of the last eight and six of the last 11 games. Despite comitting 23 turnovers at Purdue, MSU is averaging 12.8 turnovers in the last eight games.
Attacking The Offensive Glass
Michigan State is averaging a Big Ten-best 13.5 offensive rebounds per contest, leading to 13.7 second chance points per game. The Spartans are grabbing 40.5 percent of their misses. By comparison, Spartan opponents grab just 28.4 percent of their missed shots. Michigan State grabbed more offensive boards than its opponent had defensive boards in games against Florida, Wofford, The Citadel and Purdue. The Spartans are paced in offensive rebounds by Draymond Green with 2.47 per contest.
It's All About Boardwork
This season, MSU has out-rebounded its opponents by a margin of +9.0, ranking second in the nation (as of March 15), bettering 25 of 32 teams, and tying two. The Spartans are 21-4 when out-rebounding an opponent, but 3-4 when failing to do so. Last season, Michigan State led the nation in rebounding margin at +9.3, marking the third time in the last 10 years the Spartans have paced the nation. Including 2009-10, MSU has led the Big Ten in rebounding margin in 11 of the last 13 years. In the Tom Izzo era, MSU has out-rebounded 394 of 505 opponents (.780), posting a 313-81 (.794) mark in those games.
Big Ten Accolades
Kalin Lucas, Draymond Green and Raymar Morgan each earned some form of All-Big Ten recognition as announced by the league office on March 8. Lucas earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season, becoming the 13th player in MSU history to be a two-time first-team honoree. Green was a unanimous selection for the Sixth Man of the Year award, also earning third-team honors. Morgan was a third-team selection, as chosen by the league's coaches.
Sophomore Draymond Green is proving to be one of the most versatile players in the Big Ten and one of the nation's premier sixth men, coming off the bench in 29 of 32 games. He is averaging a team-best 7.9 boards per game, recording double-figure rebounds in 10 games. Further demonstrating his versatility, he ranks first on the team in steals (42), second in blocks (25), third in assists (3.0 apg) and field-goal percentage (.541) and fourth in scoring (10.1 ppg). He's recorded a team-best seven double-doubles on the season. And despite coming off the bench in a majority of the contests, he ranks fourth on the squad in minutes per game (25.4 mpg).
The Sixth Man
Draymond Green was a unanimous selection for Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, becoming the first Spartan to win the award since its inception in 2006. Not only is he among the best reserves in the Big Ten, but also the nation. He was named National Sixth Man of the Year by Yahoo! Sports. Green has come off the bench in 29 of 32 games, yet he ranks fourth on the squad in minutes played.
Morgan Joins Elite Company
With 16 points against Penn State, Raymar Morgan became just the fifth player in Michigan State history with 1,500 career points and 700 career rebounds. Currently standing at 1,545 points and 741 rebounds, Morgan joins Steve Smith (2,263 pts., 740 reb.), Greg Kelser (2,014 pts., 1092 reb.), Jay Vincent (1,914 pts., 709 reb.) and Paul Davis (1,718 pts., 910 reb.).
MSU In March
Michigan State is 56-22 in March since the 1998-99 season. For his career, Tom Izzo is 63-29 in March. Last season, MSU was 8-1 in what Coach Izzo calls his favorite month of the year. Izzo is 15-3 at home in March as head coach.
Spartans On The Road
Michigan State and Purdue led the Big Ten with seven conference road wins, while Ohio State ranked third with six. Over the last two seasons, Michigan State is 15-3 away from East Lansing in league play, good for the best two-year road record in school history. In 1997-98 and '98-99, the Spartans were 13-3 on the road. Including neutral site games, MSU is 9-6 away from East Lansing this season.
Allen Heating Up
In the first 23 games of the season, Chris Allen made four 3-pointers in a game on three occassions. In the last eight games, he's made four triples three times, connecting on 18-of-35 (.514) attempts from behind the arc. In league play, Allen ranked fourth in the Big Ten in 3-point field-goal percentage (.431).
With its up-tempo style of basketball, it's no surprise that Michigan State is among the most productive offensive teams in the Big Ten. The Spartans currently rank third in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 72.6 points per game. It's a team effort, as just one player (Kalin Lucas, 12th-14.9 ppg) ranks in the top 20 in scoring.
Nine different Spartans are averaging 7.3 minutes or more, including seven at 20.3 minutes or more. Kalin Lucas leads Michigan State with 31.5 minutes per contest after averaging a team-best 31.9 minutes per game last season. The Spartans have also used 17 different starting lineups, as 10 different Spartans have started a game, and no one has started every game. Last season, MSU used 14 different starting lineups, including nine in the first 12 games.
Green Among Best On The Boards
One year after Goran Suton paced the Big Ten in rebounding, another Spartan was among the best on the boards in conference play. Draymond Green finished conference play ranked fourth in the league with 7.6 rebounds per Big Ten contest. He recorded double-figure rebounds in five league games, including a career-high 16 rebounds at Illinois. The 16 boards were the most by any Spartan in a Big Ten game since Andre Hutson grabbed 16 at Penn State in 2001.
Appling Named McDonald's All-American
Keith Appling, who signed his National Letter of Intent to attend Michigan State in Nov. 2009, was named to the 2010 McDonald's All-American Team on Feb. 11. Appling is the ninth McDonald's All-American to sign with Michigan State under Tom Izzo, and the first since 2003. Appling is averaging approximately 27 points per game for Detroit Pershing High School. The game will be played on March 31 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Getting To The Foul Line
Michigan State has done a good job getting to the foul line this season, averaging 20.6 attempts per game, including 18.4 attempts in Big Ten games. In league action, the Spartans averaged 3.2 more free-throw attempts per contest than their opponent.
Morgan On Target
Raymar Morgan led the Big Ten in field-goal percentage in league games, shooting .561 (83-of-148). Throughout the conference, just 11 players hit 50 percent or better in league play.
Turnovers, Defense Make A Difference
Two key factors have emerged as a difference between winning and losing for Michigan State: turnovers and field-goal percentage defense. The Spartans are averaging 15.3 turnovers in their seven losses, including 23 vs. Florida and 22 vs. Texas, leading to 15.9 points for the opponent per game. In 24 wins, MSU is averaging just 13.6 turnovers, leading to just 13.8 opponent points. Defensively, MSU is 19-1 when holding teams below 41 percent shooting, but 5-7 when an opponent shoots above 41 percent. The Spartans are allowing opponents to shoot .492 in their losses, compared to .375 in victory.
Michigan State's bench is averaging 25.0 points per game, including 20.9 points in Big Ten play. On average, MSU's bench out-scored Big Ten opponents' benches by a 20.9-10.7 margin, including a remarkable 27-3 edge in the first meeting with Minnesota. Draymond Green (10.1 ppg) averages in double figures off the bench, while he is also MSU's leading rebounder.
Big Ten Defense
Michigan State's defense was effective in league play, holding opponents to 61.3 points per game, ranking fifth in the Big Ten. MSU's conference opponents shot .411 from the field, ranking third in the league, including .322 from 3-point range, ranking first. Overall, MSU ranks fourth in the Big Ten in field-goal percentage defense (.405).
A Touch Of Green In Big Ten Stats
Overall, Draymond Green ranks third in the Big Ten in rebounding (7.9 rpg), fourth in field-goal percentage (.542) and 10th in steals (1.3 spg). His 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks eighth in the league, and first among non-guards. He and Ohio State's Evan Turner are the only players in the league 6-foot-6 or taller to average more than three assists per game.
On The Mark
As a team, Michigan State is shooting .473 from the floor, ranking second in the Big Ten and 27th in the nation (as of March 15). In league play, MSU shot .453, ranking fourth. Individually, seven Spartans are connecting on better than 50 percent of their shots, led by Tom Herzog at .818 (9-of-11). Among players with more than 75 attempts, Delvon Roe paces the way at .560 (75-134).
Better At The Foul Line
Michigan State has struggled at the foul line this season, converting at a .681 percentage. The Spartans have hit .700 percent of their attempts in the last 22 games, raising the team's average from .644 to its current mark. Individually, Kalin Lucas ranks 10th in the Big Ten (.786), including .808 in league play, ranking eighth. As a team, MSU shot .705 in conference action, ranking ninth.
Allen Rounds Out His Game
Chris Allen entered Michigan State with the reputation of being a great shooter. Through his first two years, he struggled with consistency, but has elevated his level of play as a junior. Allen leads the squad in 3-point field goals made (51), attempted (125) and percentage (.408). He's also shooting .437 from the floor. His previous career high percentages were .385 from the floor and .360 from 3-point range, both established last season. As his offense improves so has the rest of his game as he is averaging career best in rebounds (3.2 rpg), assists (2.1 apg) and steals (0.5 spg). He's also emerged as one of MSU's best perimeter defenders.
At least one Spartan has recorded a double-double in 16 games, as five different Spartans have posted a double-double. Draymond Green (vs. FGCU, 11 pts., 10 reb.; vs. Florida, 15 pts., 11 reb.; vs. Oakland, 19 pts., 12 reb.; vs. Iowa, 14 pts., 11 reb.; vs. Illinois, 17 pts., 16 reb.; vs. Purdue, 12 pts., 11 reb.; vs. Minnesota, 10 pts., 11 reb.) leads the way with seven, while Raymar Morgan (vs. Wofford, 19 pts., 11 reb.; vs. The Citadel, 11 pts., 10 reb., vs. Illinois, 14 pts., 10 reb.; vs. Purdue 16 pts., 11 reb.; vs. Michigan 22 pts., 10 reb.) has five, Durrell Summers (vs. Gonzaga, 21 pts., 11 reb.; vs. Michigan, 10 pts., 10 reb.; vs. Northwestern, 24 points, 10 reb.) has tallied three and Delvon Roe (vs. Toledo, 10 pts., 11 reb.; vs. Valparaiso, 10 pts., 17 reb.) has two. Derrick Nix (vs. FGCU, 11 pts., 14 reb.) has one.
Moving Up The Scoring Chart
With 20 points against Florida, Kalin Lucas became the 40th Spartan to record 1,000 career points. The Spartan junior ranks 18th in MSU history with 1,389 points, standing four behind Andre Hutson (1,393 points) and 79 behind Charlie Bell (1,468 points). His teammate, Raymar Morgan, currently ranks 12th in MSU history with 1,545 points. He needs 10 points to pass Maurice Ager (1,554 points) and 44 points to move past Morris Peterson (1,588 points) into sole possession of 10th place all-time.
Lending A Helping Hand
According to the most recent NCAA statistics (as of March 15), Michigan State ranks 10th in the nation in assists. With a current average of 16.7 assists per game, the Spartans have recorded an assist on 62.0 percent of their baskets. It's a team effort as four different Spartans average at least two assists per game.
Morgan In Career Rankings
In the final stretch of his Spartan career, Raymar Morgan finds himself among the MSU career leaders in several categories. He currently ranks fifth in free-throw attempts (551), tied for seventh in games started (115), ninth in free throws made (369), 10th in career rebounding (741 rebounds) and 12th in career scoring (1,545 points). Morgan is looking to become just the eighth player in Spartan history to score in double figures in all four years of his career. He needs just 43 points to move into the top 10 in scoring and rebounding, joining Greg Kelser and Paul Davis as the only players to rank in the top 10 in both categories.
With a 65-54 win at Penn State, Michigan State recorded its 11th 20-win season in the last 13 years, all under head coach Tom Izzo. Of the 19 20-win seasons in Spartan history, Izzo has been involved in 16 of them, 11 as a head coach and five as an assistant.
Kalin Lucas knocked down a jumper with 3.5 seconds left to give MSU a 57-56 win at Michigan. Just three days earlier, Lucas hit a 3-pointer with 1:30 left at Minnesota to snap a 62-62 tie in MSU's 65-64 victory. This isn't the first time in his career that Lucas has hit a clutch shot in the game's final moments. In the 2009 Sweet 16 vs. Kansas, Lucas converted on a three-point play with 48 seconds left, snapping a 60-60 tie in MSU's 67-62 victory.
For the first time in Michigan State basketball history, the Spartans recorded back-to-back one-point road victories (at Minn. 65-64, at Mich. 57-56). Previously, MSU's last one-point Big Ten win came at Minnesota in 2004. The Spartans have not won two Big Ten games by a single point since 1995. The last time MSU won consecutive one-point games came in 1937 (at Geneva, vs. Kentucky).
Lucas On Target
Kalin Lucas has elevated his shooting accuracy as a junior. Having entered the season with a career field-goal percentage of .410, Lucas is shooting .450 from the field this year, including .348 from behind the 3-point arc.
Michigan State has proven it has several different offensive weapons as four Spartans currently average in double figures. Kalin Lucas paces the Spartan offense at 14.9 points per game, followed by Raymar Morgan (11.5 ppg), Durrell Summers (10.1 ppg) and Draymond Green (10.1 ppg). Chris Allen is just outside that group at 9.1 ppg. MSU has had four or more players score in double figures in 14 games, as eight different players have scored 10 or more points at least once this season, and six different players have led the team in scoring in a single game.
Winning In Different Fashions
A sign of a great team is the ability to win different kinds of basketball games. Michigan State showed that trait in the first two games of the Big Ten season, winning at Northwestern with a 91-point offensive outburst, and defeating Wisconsin, 54-47, with a stifling defensive effort, holding the Badgers to 33.3 percent shooting. It's reminiscent of the 2000 NCAA Championship team that defeated Wisconsin, 53-41, in the National Semifinal and then sprinted by Florida, 89-76, in the title game. Just last year, MSU defeated Louisville in the Elite Eight with 64 points, and beat Connecticut in the Final Four with 82 points.
One of Tom Izzo's early concerns about his team was the defense, having lost 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Travis Walton and outstanding post defender Goran Suton. For the most part, however, the Spartans have responded, limiting opponents to 40.5 percent shooting on the season, as just seven opponents have shot better than 44 percent. MSU has been equally stingy on its 3-point defense, holding teams to 32.5 percent shooting behind the arc, limiting 11 opponents to 25 percent or lower.
A Program First
This year, Michigan State had a stretch that saw it play six of eight conference games away from East Lansing for the first time in 60 years of playing Big Ten basketball. Twice before (1955 & 1975), the Spartans have played six of eight games on the road in the middle of the conference season, but in both cases, at least one of the road games was a non-conference tilt. While it's unusual to have a stretch like this, it's not unheard of, as this is the sixth occurrence by a Big Ten squad since the 1999-2000 season, joining Purdue (1999-2000), Indiana (2002-03), Ohio State (2002-03), Iowa (2003-04) and Michigan (2003-04). In 2001, MSU did play five of six games on the road during its Big Ten championship season.
Hot Start In League Play
For the first time in 60 seasons of Big Ten basketball, Michigan State opened league play with an 9-0 record. The previous best conference start was 7-0, established in 1977-78, when Earvin "Magic" Johnson was a Spartan freshman.
Lucas On Watch Lists
Kalin Lucas is one of 11 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, recognizing the nation's top point guard. He is also one of 31 midseason candidates for the John R. Wooden and Naismith Awards.
Taking Care of the Ball
Korie Lucious has posted impressive numbers in his role as a reserve point guard. He ranks second on the team with 3.2 assists per game and his 1.89 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fifth in the Big Ten. Last season, he averaged just 1.2 assists with a 1.12 assist-to-turnover ratio. Raymar Morgan has also improved his ball handling. Entering the season with a career 0.57 assist-to-turnover ratio, he has improved to 1.02 (55 assists, 54 turnovers) this season.
Senior forward Raymar Morgan and junior guard Kalin Lucas were unanimous selections for team co-captains as voted on by their Spartan teammates. Right after Christmas, the MSU coaching staff added Draymond Green and Isaiah Dahlman as captains, rewarding them for their leadership.
Life Away From Home
Michigan State is 9-6 away from home this season, including 8-4 on an opponent's home court, with losses at Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Illinois. Four of the Spartans' road games have been against a ranked opponent. MSU has won 15 of its last 18 conference road games. Last season, MSU was 19-5 away from East Lansing, including 10-4 on a neutral court, while also establishing a school record with eight Big Ten road wins.
Spartans In The NBA
Five former Spartans are currently on NBA rosters, including Charlie Bell (Milwaukee Bucks), Shannon Brown (Los Angeles Lakers), Morris Peterson (New Orleans Hornets), Zach Randolph (Memphis Grizzlies) and Jason Richardson (Phoenix Suns). Shannon Brown competed in the Sprite Slam Dunk contest at the NBA All-Star Game and Zach Randolph was selected as a Western Conference reserve for the All-Star Game.
Hall of Famers
Former Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote and Spartan All-American Earvin "Magic" Johnson were inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday, Nov. 22 in Kansas City. In fact, following MSU's 90-60 win over Valparaiso that afternoon, Tom Izzo boarded a private plane to fly to Kansas City for the ceremony. Heathcote finished his 19-year coaching career as Michigan State's all-time winningest coach with 340 victories, capturing three Big Ten titles and the 1979 NCAA Championship. He coached seven All-Americans, 15 All-Big Ten honorees and 23 NBA Draft picks. Overall, he posted a 420-273 record in 24 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Johnson was a member of the 1979 NCAA Championship team and a two-time All-American. Despite playing just two seasons at MSU, he totaled 1,059 points and 491 assists. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
The Terrapins earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after finishing 23-8 overall while posting a 13-3 mark in ACC play, tying Duke for the best record in the conference. Maryland was bounced from the ACC Tournament by seventh-seeded Georgia Tech, 69-64, on March 12; before that game, Maryland had won nine of its last 10, helping secure its at-large bid. BC has knocked off three Top-25 teams this season. The NCAA Tournament appearance is the Terrapins' 24th in program history and their second consecutive trip.
Maryland vs. The Field of 65
Maryland has compiled a 5-6 record against the NCAA Tournament field this season, highlighted by wins over Clemson, Duke, Florida State twice and Georgia Tech. The Terrapins have lost to Clemson, Duke, Villanova, Wake Forest and Wisconsin in the regular season, and added a loss to Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament.
The Spartans and Terrapins have played three common opponents this season - Indiana, North Carolina and Wisconsin. Maryland and MSU both share victories over Indiana while Maryland also topped North Carolina, a team that MSU lost to during the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Terrapins lost to Wisconsin, a team that MSU split the season series with.
The all-time series between the Spartans and the Terrapins is tied at two wins each. The most recent meeting occurred on Nov. 27, 2008, with Maryland defeating Michigan State, 80-62. This would mark the second meeting between the two schools in the NCAA Tournament, the first occurring in the 2003 tournament when the Spartans downed the Terrapins in the Sweet 16, 60-58.
Gary Williams (Maryland, '68), is in his 31st year as a head coach, was named the 2010 ACC Coach of the Year; Williams has spent the last 21 of those as the Maryland head coach, compiling a 441-237 record. In all, Williams is 648-365 all-time as a head coach after spending his first eight seasons at American University and Boston College (four each), and an additional three years at Ohio State. Williams has guided Maryland to NCAA Tournament berths in three of the last four seasons, after a stretch of 11 straight appearances from 1993-2004, advancing as far as the second round in both 2007 and 2009. This will mark Maryland's 17th consecutive postseason berth under Coach Williams. Williams led the Terrapins to the 2002 NCAA Championship
The Terrapins compiled a 2-3 record against top-25 opponents in 2009-10, with both wins coming against ACC foes ... Senior Greivis Vasquez leads Maryland as the 2010 ACC Player of the Year after averaging 22.5 points a game in conference action along with an average of 4.6 rebounds a game ... Coach Williams was named the 2010 ACC Coach of the Year ... Maryland won nine of its last 11 contests on the year, highlighted by a seven-game winning streak from Feb. 15 - March 6.
The Cougars earned a spot in the 2010 NCAA Tournament for the first time in 18 years by taking the Conference USA championship with an 81-73 win over UTEP in the conference title game. Houston went just 7-9 in conference play and enters the tournament with a 19-15 overall record. Houston coach Tom Penders is making his first tournament appearance since 1999 when he was the head coach at George Washington.
Houston vs. The Field of 65
Houston has faced just one team, UTEP, that is in this year's NCAA Tournament. The Cougars played UTEP three times and went 2-1 against them. The two teams split the regular-season series, and the Cougars won the rubber match, 81-73, in the Conference USA tournament on March 13.
The Spartans and Cougars share just one common opponent in The Citadel. Houston defeated The Citadel, 81-58, at home on Dec. 21, 2009. Michigan State defeated The Citadel, 69-56, in Charleston, S.C., on Dec. 7, 2009.
The Cougars and Spartans have met just once with Houston winning the only meeting, at home, 106-73, on Dec. 28, 1971.
Tom Penders (Connecticut, '67) is 121-76 in his sixth season as the head coach of the Houston Cougars and is the sixth-winningest active Division I coach with a 648-437 mark. In 36 years of being a head coach, Penders has guided four different teams to the NCAA Tournament, including Rhode Island (once), Texas (eight times), George Washington (once) and now Houston, and has made 11 total tournament appearances. Penders is only the 34th coach in NCAA history to reach 600 victories and only the 24th to have taken part in at least 1,000 games.
The Cougars are led by All-Conference USA First-Team senior guard Aubrey Coleman, who leads the nation in scoring with an average of 25.6 points per game ... Coleman entered the C-USA Tournament with a nation-leading 26.0 point per game average ... Coleman's average of 2.7 steals per game is in a tie for second best in the nation ... The Cougars ended the season by winning five of their final six games ... Of the Cougars' 15 losses, only two were by double digits while five of their losses were by five points or less.
The Book On Tom Izzo
In his 15th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 360-145 (.713), and 174-76 (.696) 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 a 106-68 win over UMass for his 341st career victory. In his 14 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 .696 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks second all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700) and ahead of Purdue's Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Izzo (.713), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712) and Lambert (.709). With 174 conference victories, Izzo ranks tied for seventh all-time.
Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 14 seasons, Tom Izzo won 336 games, ranking seventh in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 14 years.
Izzo's Coaching Tree
Five current Division I head coaches all served as assistants to Tom Izzo, including Jim Boylen (Utah), Tom Crean (Indiana), Brian Gregory (Dayton), Stan Heath (South Florida) and Doug Wojcik (Tulsa). Gregory is in his seventh year as head coach, after leaving MSU in the spring of 2003. Crean directed Marquette to the 2003 Final Four, while Heath directed Kent State to the Elite Eight in the 2002 NCAA Tournament. Wojcik is in his fifth season at Tulsa. Mike Garland served as head coach at Cleveland State for three seasons after leaving Izzo's staff in 2003. He is now back as an assistant coach at MSU. Most recently, Jim Boylen left MSU following the 2007 season, and is in his third season with Utah. Stan Joplin, an assistant during Izzo's first season, spent 12 seasons as head coach at Toledo.