Michigan State Makes Ninth Sweet 16 Appearance In 13 Years
Spartans play Northern Iowa on Friday night.
March 24, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
2010 NCAA Tournament - Sweet 16
No. 5 Michigan State (26-8, 14-4)
vs. No. 9 Northern Iowa (30-4, 15-3)
March 26, 2010
9:37 p.m. EDT
St. Louis, Mo.
Edward Jones Dome
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 - Verne Lundquist (Play by Play), Bill Raftery (Color)
The Opening Tip
Michigan State is making its third straight trip to the Sweet 16, and its ninth appearance in the last 13 years. The Spartans and Northern Iowa both won their first two games by a combined five points, as each created their own drama along the way. MSU advanced on a Korie Lucious 3-point buzzer beater, while UNI knocked off overall No. 1 seed Kansas.
The Starting Five
1. Spartans In The Sweet 16 This is MSU's 11th trip to the Sweet 16 since the NCAA Tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Michigan State is 6-4 in Sweet 16 games, having won six of its last seven. Tom Izzo is 6-2 in the Sweet 16.
2. Nine Sweet 16s In 13 Years
Since Michigan State's first trip to the NCAA Tournament under Tom Izzo in 1998, the Spartans have advanced to the Sweet 16 nine times in the last 13 years. During that same stretch, only Duke has more Sweet 16 appearances (11).
3. Three Straight Sweet 16s
Michigan State is appearing in its third straight Sweet 16. Xavier is the only other school in the nation to appear in the last three Sweet 16s. This is the second time in school history that MSU has appeared in three straight, having previously advanced to four straight Sweet 16s from 1998-2001. Tennessee is appearing in its third Sweet 16 in the last four seasons.
4. Durrell Loves The Tourney Lights
Durrell Summers has scored in double figures in five straight NCAA Tournament games, including scoring a career-best tying 26 points against Maryland in the 2010 second round. Summers is averaging 15.0 points in the last five tournament games, and 9.7 points in 11 career tournament games, shooting .521 from the field, including .462 from 3-point range. He is MSU's leading scorer in the tournament this year, scoring 20.0 points per game, shooting .517 from the field and .533 from 3-point range.
5. Big Ten Tops Among Conferences
The Big Ten leads all conferences with three teams in the Sweet 16. Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue all shared the regular-season conference crown, and each team has advanced to the regional semifinal. Eleven different conferences are represented in the 2010 Sweet 16, as the Big 12, Big East and SEC each have two. This is the first time three Big Ten teams have appeared in the Sweet 16 since 2005, when Illinois, Wisconsin and MSU made an appearance, with the Spartans and Illini advancing to the Final Four. The Big Ten Conference is 7-2 through the first weekend of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
MSU vs. Northern Iowa Notes
About Nothern Iowa
Northern Iowa automatically qualified for the 2010 NCAA Tournament after winning the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. The Panthers also won the MVC regular-season title by three games with a 15-3 league record. UNI is advancing to the school's first-ever Sweet 16 after topping UNLV in the first round and the top-overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, Kansas, in the second round. The Panthers are making their sixth NCAA appearance all-time, and are 3-5 in tournament games. This is Northern Iowa's fifth tournament appearance in the last seven years.
Northern Iowa vs. The Field of 65
The Panthers were 2-0 against the field of 65 prior to the start of the tournament. UNI posted an 82-65 win over Siena on Dec. 12, while it also downed Old Dominion by a score of 71-62 on Feb. 19.
Michigan State shares one common opponent with UNI, Iowa. Against the Hawkeyes, MSU went 2-0 on the year, while the Panthers topped Iowa in the lone meeting, 67-50.
The Sweet 16 matchup will mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Ben Jacobson (North Dakota, '94) is in his fourth season at the reign of the Panthers. This is Jacobson's first job as a head coach with an all-time record of 89-42. The two-time MVC coach of the year was named the 2010 District 16 Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches Association. The 21st head coach in program history tallied a record number of wins (18 in 2006-07) by a first-year head coach since the school joined the Division I ranks in 1980. Prior to being named the head coach at UNI, Jacobson spent six seasons at his alma mater, North Dakota, as both a graduate assistant and a full-time assistant coach (1994-2000). Following his time with the Fighting Sioux, Jacobson spent one season with North Dakota State (2000-01) before joining UNI as an assistant coach for five seasons (2001-2006).
Northern Iowa has won a school record 30 games this season ... UNI is the fourth different school to win back-to-back Missouri Valley Championships ... UNI ended the season with a perfect 14-0 home record ... Northern Iowa boasts the second-best defense in the nation with an average of 55.0 points per game allowed ... UNI is the eighth MVC team to reach the Sweet 16 since 1994, but the first team to win the MVC Tournament and make the Sweet 16 since 1979 when Indiana State advanced to the NCAA Championship game against the Spartans ... UNI is 21-0 when scoring 60 or more points this season ... The Panthers' win over Kansas was the second consecutive time a MVC team has upset Kansas in the NCAA Tournament; the other occurred in 2006 when 13th-seeded Bradley downed the fourth-seeded Jayhawks, 77-73 ... The win over Kansas was also the Valley's first win over a No. 1-ranked team since March 24, 1962 ... The previous three MVC teams to win first-round games advanced to the Sweet 16 ... UNI's winning percentage (.882) ranks as the third-best mark nationally ... All eight of UNI's games in the NCAA Tournament have been decided by five points or less ... The team is led by Adam Koch and Jordan Eglseder who were both named to the All-District team by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association for District VI ... Englseder averages 12.0 points and Koch 11.6.
Notes From The First and Second Round
* Durrell Summers leads the Spartans in scoring at 20.0 points per tournament game.
* 11 different Spartans are averaging 5.0 minutes per game or more in tournament play.
* MSU shot .723 from the foul line, after entering the tournament shooting .681.
* MSU is out-rebounding opponents by a +9 margin (41.0-32.0), although the Spartans tied New Mexico State on the glass, but out-rebounded Maryland by 18.
* Draymond Green is averaging a team-best 10.0 rebounds per game.
* MSU is averaging 8.5 3-pointers per game, after averaging just 5.0 on the season.
First and Second Round Recaps
Second Round - MSU 85 - Maryland 83
* The game featured just six lead changes, four of which came in the game's final 40 seconds, capped by Korie Lucious' game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.
* Durrell Summers equaled his career high and established a season high with 26 points.
* Michigan State held a 14-0 advantage in fast break points.
* Derrick Nix's 15 minutes were the most he'd played since the second game of the season.
* Michigan State improved to 15-3 in the second game of an NCAA Tournament weekend under Tom Izzo.
* Michigan State's 85 points were its most in an NCAA Tournament game since scoring 94 against Kentucky (2OT) in the 2005 regional final, and the most in a regulation tournament game since scoring 89 against Old Dominion in the 2005 first round.
* Michigan State's 10 made 3-pointers were its third highest total of the season, and tied the third-best effort ever by a Spartan team in the NCAA Tournament.
* Michigan State's 55.2 field-goal percentage was its best in an NCAA Tournament game since shooting 56.9 percent against Old Dominion in the 2005 first round.
* Tom Izzo improved to 9-1 in NCAA Tournament second round games.
First Round - MSU 70 - New Mexico St. 67
* Kalin Lucas scored a career-high 25 points. Lucas hit 7-of-11 shots after hitting 18-of-55 in his previous five games.
* Lucas' 25 points were the most by a Spartan in the NCAA Tournament since Drew Neitzel scored 26 against North Carolina in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
* MSU improved to 15-5 in first round games since 1985, including 10-3 under Tom Izzo.
* Raymar Morgan was limited to six minutes and one field goal attempt in the first half due to foul trouble, but recorded 11 points and four rebounds in 19 second-half minutes.
* Michigan State shot 50 percent in the first half, but just 25.9 percent in the second half.
* Michigan State committed just nine turnovers, including just two in the second half.
* Draymond Green recorded the second double-figure rebounding effort of his NCAA Tournament career, having previously grabbed 10 against Louisville in the 2009 Elite Eight.
* Michigan State hit seven three-pointers, the most by the Spartans in a game since hitting seven against Penn State on Feb. 13.
NCAA Tournament Notes
NCAA Tournament Tested
Michigan State's 2009-10 roster has a combined 93 games worth of NCAA Tournament experience, including six different players who have started at least one game in NCAA postseason play. Even with the loss of Kalin Lucas, who has 11 career NCAA Tournament starts to his credit, Raymar Morgan (13), Delvon Roe (7), Durrell Summers (2) and Chris Allen (1) are responsible for 23 combined starting assignments.
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.
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.
Spartans In St. Louis
Michigan State is 2-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament games in St. Louis, including 2-0 in the regional round. The No. 1 seed Spartans defeated No. 13 Oklahoma (54-46) and No. 3 Kentucky (73-66) to advance to Tom Izzo's first Final Four in 1999. In 2005, MSU lost to eventual NCAA Champion North Carolina (71-87) in the National Semifinal. All three previous games were played at Edward Jones Dome.
MSU In The NCAA Tournament
Michigan State is making its 24th appearance in the NCAA Tournament with a record of 50-22. 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.
At His Best When It Counts
Tom Izzo ranks third among active coaches for the best NCAA Tournament winning percentage at .750 (33-11). Duke's Mike Krzyzewski ranks first at .768 (73-22), followed by North Carolina's Roy Williams at .753 (55-18). Of those three, Izzo and Krzyzewski are the only coaches to appear in the last 13 NCAA Tournaments.
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, each of whom made 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).
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.
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 of Michigan State's regular-season opponents made 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.
Brilliant Under Short Rest
Under head coach Tom Izzo, Michigan State has a spectacular 15-3 record in the second game of a weekend in NCAA Tournament play. The Spartans' only three losses have come when playing a No. 1 seed.
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 12-5 as a No. 5 seed, including one trip to the Final Four and four 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). In 2008, MSU was the No. 5 seed, 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. This season, MSU has defeated No. 12 New Mexico State (70-67) and No. 4 Maryland (85-83).
Michigan State ranks tied for fifth among all schools in NCAA Tournament winning percentage for teams with at least 20 tournament games. MSU's .694 winning percentage (50-22) trails only Duke (.750, 90-30), UCLA (.734, 93-34), North Carolina (.723, 102-39) and Florida (.703, 26-11). Kentucky (.690, 98-44) stands tied with Michigan State. MSU's 50 tournament wins rank ninth in NCAA history and second among Big Ten schools, behind Indiana (60).
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.
MSU Basketball Notes
Green As A Distributor
With 105 assists (3.1 apg), Draymond Green ranks third on the team. The 105 assists are a MSU single-season record for a non-guard, joining Alan Anderson (2003, 104 assists) as the only two non-guards to ever record 100 assists in a single season.
MSU's M*A*S*H Unit
Michigan State advanced to the Sweet 16 despite having more than its fair share of injuries. In addition to Kalin Lucas' season-ending left Achilles injury, his starting backcourt-mate Chris Allen hurt the arch on his right foot against New Mexico State and played just four minutes against Maryland. Delvon Roe is playing with a torn meniscus in his right knee that will likely require surgery after the season. The injury has caused Roe to miss several practices and limited him to an average of 16.0 minutes over the last six games, although he's averaging 22.0 in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. In addition, Raymar Morgan broke a front tooth in half against Maryland, requiring dental work upon the return to East Lansing.
Lucas Out With Achilles Injury
An MRI conducted Monday, March 22 confirmed that junior guard Kalin Lucas ruptured the Achilles tendon in his left foot during the first half of MSU's NCAA Tournament second round game against Maryland. Recovery time is expected to be 4-6 months and a full and complete recovery is expected. Lucas will delay surgery to travel with the team to the Midwest Regional in St. Louis. He was voted co-Team MVP by his teammates and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for the second straight year, leading the Spartans in scoring (14.8 ppg), assists (4.0 apg) and minutes (31.1 mpg).
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 seven games, Morgan is averaging 16.3 points and 8.9 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 four of the last six games. He is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
Defense Tightens Up
The Spartans have tightened up their defense during 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 .395 shooting and 62.8 points in the last nine 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 six of the last 10 and seven of the last 13 games. MSU is averaging 13.0 turnovers in the last 10 games.
Attacking The Offensive Glass
Michigan State is averaging a Big Ten-best 13.5 offensive rebounds per contest, leading to 13.4 second chance points per game. The Spartans are grabbing 40.5 percent of their misses. By comparison, Spartan opponents grab just 28.5 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 2.38 per contest.
It's All About Boardwork
This season, MSU has out-rebounded its opponents by a margin of +9.0, ranking first in the nation (as of March 22), bettering 26 of 34 teams, and tying three. The Spartans are 22-4 when out-rebounding an opponent, but 4-4 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 395 of 507 opponents (.779), posting a 314-81 (.795) 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, and also earned 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 31 of 34 games. He is averaging a team-best 8.1 boards per game, recording double-figure rebounds in 11 games. Further demonstrating his versatility, he ranks first on the team in steals (43), second in blocks (29), third in assists (3.1 apg) and field-goal percentage (.538) and fourth in scoring (9.8 ppg). He's recorded a team-best seven double-doubles on the season. Despite coming off the bench in a majority of the contests, he ranks fifth 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 31 of 34 games, yet he ranks fifth on the squad in minutes played.
Morgan Joins Elite Company
Raymar Morgan is one of just five players in Michigan State history with 1,500 career points and 700 career rebounds. Currently standing at 1,573 points and 754 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 58-22 in March since the 1998-99 season. For his career, Tom Izzo is 65-29 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 11-6 away from East Lansing this season.
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 second in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 72.9 points per game. It's a team effort, as just one player (Kalin Lucas, 12th-14.8 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 31.1 minutes per contest after averaging a team-best 31.9 minutes per game last season. The Spartans have also used 18 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 and Mr. Basketball
Keith Appling, who signed his National Letter of Intent to attend Michigan State in November 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. On March 22, he was named the winner of the 2010 Hal Schram Mr. Basketball Award. He is the seventh Mr. Basketball winner in the last 12 years to attend Michigan State, a list that includes former high school teammate and current Spartan freshman Derrick Nix. Appling averaged 28 points, six rebounds and five assists per game for Detroit Pershing High School. The McDonald's All-America 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 20.8 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 eight losses, including 23 vs. Florida and 22 vs. Texas, leading to 15.9 points for the opponent per game. In 26 wins, MSU is averaging just 13.7 turnovers, leading to just 14.0 opponent points. Defensively, MSU is 20-1 when holding teams below 41 percent shooting, but 6-7 when an opponent shoots above 41 percent. The Spartans are allowing opponents to shoot .492 in their losses, compared to .379 in victory.
Michigan State's bench is averaging 24.8 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. In NCAA Tournament games, the Spartans are averaging 21.5 points and 19.0 rebounds off the bench.
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 (.406).
A Touch Of Green In Big Ten Stats
Overall, Draymond Green ranks third in the Big Ten in rebounding (8.1 rpg), fourth in field-goal percentage (.538) and 11th in steals (1.3 spg). His 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks sixth 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 22). 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 .561 (78-139).
Better At The Foul Line
Michigan State has struggled at the foul line this season, converting at a .684 percentage. The Spartans have hit .702 percent of their attempts in the last 24 games, raising the team's average from .644 to its current mark. Individually, Kalin Lucas ranks 11th in the Big Ten (.772), 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 (127) and percentage (.402). He's also shooting .432 from the floor. His previous career high percentages were .385 from the floor and .360 from 3-point range, both established last season. In league play, Allen ranked fourth in the Big Ten in 3-point field-goal percentage (.431). As his offense improves so has the rest of his game as he is averaging career best in rebounds (3.0 rpg), assists (2.1 apg) and steals (0.5 spg). He's also emerged as MSU's best perimeter defender.
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 17th in MSU history with 1,418 points. His teammate, Raymar Morgan, currently ranks 11th in MSU history with 1,573 points. Morgan needs 16 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 22), Michigan State ranks seventh in the nation in assists. With a current average of 16.7 assists per game, the Spartans have recorded an assist on 62.2 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 (559), tied for fifth in games started (117), seventh in free throws made (376), 10th in career rebounding (754 rebounds) and 11th in career scoring (1,573 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 15 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.
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).
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 40.6 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 33.0 percent shooting behind the arc, limiting 11 opponents to 25 percent or lower.
Michigan State 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.
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 Wooden Ballot
Kalin Lucas is one of 26 finalists on the final ballot for the John R. Wooden Award. He is one of just four players (Duke's Kyle Singler, Kansas' Sherron Collins, Notre Dame's Luke Harangody) to appear on the ballot in each of the last two years.
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.
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 11-6 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.
MSU vs. Ohio State Notes
About Ohio State
Ohio State is making its 22nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament and sixth Sweet 16 appearance since seeding in the NCAA Tournament began in 1979. Overall, Ohio State has a 39-20 record all-time in NCAA Tournament play. The Buckeyes have advanced to play in nine Final Fours, have finished as the runner up four times (1939, 1961, 1962, 2007) and own one title (1960).
Ohio State vs. The Field of 65
The Buckeyes faced six teams (7-5) this season that qualified for the 2010 NCAA Tournament. In addition to the Big Ten foes, Ohio State played California (W, 76-70, 11/20/09), Florida State (W, 77-64, 12/2/09), at Butler (L, 74-66, 12/12/09) and at West Virginia (L, 71-65, 1/23/10).
Ohio State, Purdue and Michigan State all went 14-4 and shared the Big Ten Championship. The Buckeyes defeated Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota to win the 2010 Big Ten Tournament title.
MSU leads the all-time series over the Buckeyes, 63-52. The Spartans only met OSU one time this season in which Ohio State won, 74-67, on Feb. 21 in East Lansing. The Buckeyes have won the last two meetings between the two schools, while MSU won three consecutive before that. An Elite Eight pairing would mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools in the NCAA Tournament.
Thad Matta (Butler, '90) is in his sixth season as head coach at Ohio State. Matta has led his teams to the NCAA Tournament in eight out of 10 years, including two straight appearances. The 2009-10 Big Ten Coach of the Year as voted on by the media, Matta has a 156-53 all-time record at OSU, and is 258-84 in his career as a head coach. Prior to being named head coach with the Buckeyes, Matta spent one season with his alma mater Butler (2000-01) and three seasons at Xavier (2001-04). Matta has amassed the 20-win plateau in each of his 10 seasons as a head coach, including a career-best 35 wins in 2006-07 when OSU finished national runner-up. Matta has led the Buckeyes to three Big Ten Championships, as well as two Big Ten Tournament Championships.
OSU is led by junior guard Evan Turner who has been named the Sporting News, FoxSports.com, Pat Forde/ESPN.com and USBWA National Player of the Year ... Turner is averaging 20.0 points per game this season, while averaging 16.5 in the two NCAA Tournament games ... The Buckeyes are 5-5 vs. Top 25 opponents this season ... Ohio State is the only school in Big Ten history to capture the conference championships in football and men's and women's basketball the same year; OSU has achieved this feat three times ... The Buckeyes are 31-8 in the month of March under coach Thad Matta ... When trailing at the half this season, the Buckeyes are 4-4; however, they are 24-3 when leading at the half ... OSU is currently riding a nine-game winning streak ... Ohio State is 8-3 in four NCAA Tournament appearances under coach Thad Matta.
MSU vs. Tennessee Notes
The Volunteers are making their 18th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament. This is the program's fifth straight NCAA berth--tying the school record--and its ninth in the last 13 years. Tennessee now has a 14-17 all-time record in the Tournament.
Tennessee vs. The Field of 65
Tennessee went 3-6 against teams in this year's NCAA Tournament as the Vols defeated Kansas, Florida and Kentucky.
The Spartans and Volunteers share two common opponents in Purdue and Florida. Tennessee fell to Purdue, 73-72, in the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam on Nov. 23 and then split their season series with Florida. The Spartans split with Purdue and lost to Florida.
Michigan State is 4-2 all-time against Tennessee. The last meeting between the schools was Dec. 20, 1994 - a game the Spartans won in East Lansing, 79-68. Tom Izzo has never faced the Volunteers as a head coach.
Bruce Pearl (Boston College, `82) is in his 18th year as a head coach and holds an all-time record of 442-129. He is in his fifth year at UT where he is 125-45. Pearl has now led his team to the NCAA Tournament 16 times in 18 years as a head coach. Pearl owns a 26-14 career record in the NCAA Tournament. He led Southern Indiana to a 16-8 NCAA Tournament record that included an NCAA Division II national championship in 1995 and a runner-up finish in 1994. He has an 10-6 record in NCAA Division I Tournaments. Pearl has led his team to the round of 16 in four of the last six years. In 2005, he directed UW-Milwaukee to the Sweet 16.
The Vols have the longest active NCAA Tournament streak in the Southeastern Conference, earning their fifth consecutive bid this season ... Tennessee is making its fourth appearance in the Sweet 16 since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 (2000, 2007, 2008, 2010) ... UT leads the SEC and ranks 11th nationally in 3-point defense, holding foes to .290 shooting from long range ... Tennessee's win over San Diego State in the first round put the 2009-10 Vols in a tie with the 1999-2000 team for the second-highest single-season win total in the program's 101-year history - the 2007-08 team owns the school record with 31 wins ... Senior guard Wayne Chism earned first-team All-SEC honors this season after being named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2007 and receiving second-team All-SEC acclaim last year ... Tennessee is the first program since 2001-02 to beat the No. 1 and No. 2 team in the same season as it defeated No. 1 Kansas, 76-68, on Jan. 10 and No. 2 Kentucky, 74-65, on Feb. 27 ... Sophomore guard Scotty Hopson currently leads the Vols in scoring at 12.5 ppg ... In the Vols' first two tournament games, senior guard J.P Prince led the team in scoring with 15 and 18 points, respectively ... Junior guard Melvin Goins also had 15 points in the opening-round win over San Diego State.
The Book On Tom Izzo
In his 15th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 362-145 (.714), 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.