March 25, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
#2 Michigan State (28-6, 15-3)
vs. #3 Kansas (27-7, 14-2)
March 27, 2009
9:37 p.m. EDT
Lucas Oil Stadium
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;
Westwood One Radio - Ian Eagle (Play by Play), Pete Gillen (Color)
TV: CBS - Gus Johnson (Play by Play), Len Elmore (Color)
Michigan State Game Notes
The Opening Tip
A balanced Michigan State squad makes its eighth trip to the Sweet 16 in the last 12 years where it will face Kansas for the second time this season. The winner will face the Louisville-Arizona winner on Sunday for the right to advance to the Final Four at Detroit's Ford Field.
The Starting Five
1. Eight Sweet 16s In 12 Seasons
Since Michigan State's first trip to the NCAA Tournament under Tom Izzo in 1998, the Spartans have advanced to the Sweet 16 eight times in the last 12 years. During that same stretch, only Duke has more Sweet 16 appearances (10). UCLA, Connecticut and Kansas have appeared in seven of the last 12 Sweet 16s.
2. Spartans In The Sweet 16
This is MSU's 10th trip to the Sweet 16 since the NCAA Tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Michigan State is 5-4 in Sweet 16 games, having won five of its last six. Tom Izzo is 5-2 in the Sweet 16.
3. MSU's NCAA Streak
4. Spartan Success In Indianapolis
Michigan State is making its 12th straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2009. It is the longest current streak among Big Ten schools and fourth longest in the nation. Only Arizona (25), Kansas (20) and Duke (14) 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. In the official NCAA record book, MSU's streak is the third longest as Arizona was forced to vacate its 1999 appearance.
Michigan State is 5-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament games played in Indianapolis. In 1978, the Spartans defeated Providence, 77-63, in the first round. The following season, MSU won the Mideast Regional at Market Square Arena, defeating No. 3 LSU, 87-71, and No. 1 Notre Dame, 80-68. Most recently, the Spartans captured the 2000 NCAA Championship with wins over Wisconsin (53-41) and Florida (89-76) in the RCA Dome.
5. At His Best When It Counts
Tom Izzo ranks tied for fifth among active coaches for the best NCAA Tournament winning percentage at .737 (28-10). Duke's Mike Krzyzewski ranks first at .772 (71-21), followed by Florida's Billy Donovan at .759 (22-7), Louisville's Rick Pitino at .755 (37-12) and North Carolina's Roy Williams at .739 (51-18). Izzo is tied with San Diego State's Steve Fisher (14-5). Of those six, Izzo, Krzyzewski and Williams are the only coaches to appear in the last 12 NCAA Tournaments.
MSU vs. Kansas Notes
The Jayhawks enter the tournament as the Midwest region's No. 3 seed after winning the Big 12 regular-season title. The NCAA Tournament appearance is the Jayhawks' 38th tournament appearance and 20th in a row; the last year that the Jayhawks did not earn an NCAA tournament berth was in 1989. The Jayhawks have won three national titles, including last season, and advanced to 13 Final Fours. This season is the Jayhawks' 26th Sweet 16. Overall, the Jayhawks are 84-36 in the NCAA Tournament and have won eight tournament games in a row.
Bill Self (Oklahoma State, '85) is 376-144 in his 16th season as a collegiate head coach, including 169-39 in his sixth season at Kansas. Prior to his arrival in Lawrence, he served as the head coach at Illinois for three seasons, at Tulsa for three seasons and at Oral Roberts for four years. Tom Izzo is 4-4 in his career against Bill Self, going 1-0 while Self was at Tulsa, 2-3 when he was at Illinois and 1-1 at Kansas. In 2001, Izzo and Self led their squads to 13-3 conference records, sharing the Big Ten regular-season championship.
Kansas vs. The Field of 65
The Jayhawks played 13 games against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament this season, compiling an 9-4 record in those games. Five of the tournament teams that they faced - Arizona, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma and Syracuse - have advanced to the Sweet 16. Kansas was 2-4 in six games against those five teams, with wins coming against Missouri at home and at Oklahoma in Big 12 play.
Oklahoma State is the only common opponent for Michigan State and Kansas. The Spartans defeated the Cowboys, 94-79, on Nov. 28, in Orlando. The Jayhawks defeated OSU, 78-67, on Feb. 7, in Lawrence.
The Spartans and Jayhawks have split the eight previous meetings, including a 75-62 Michigan State victory earlier this season in East Lansing. Kansas won the only meeting between the two teams in the NCAA Tournament, defeating MSU, 96-86, in overtime in the 1986 Sweet 16.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Kansas, 75-62, on Jan. 10, in East Lansing. Kansas scored 11 points in the first 4:43 of the game, but scored just seven points over the final 15:17 of the half, as the Spartans went on a 19-1 run over a span of 8:44 and held a 37-18 lead at the break. Kalin Lucas scored 13 of his team-high 22 points in the first half, knocking down 3-of-4 3-pointers. Kansas' Sherron Collins scored a game-high 25 points, but recorded just five points and six turnovers in the first half. In the second half, MSU led by as many as 21 points, but Kansas pulled within nine points and had possession of the ball in the final three minutes. MSU out-rebounded Kansas, 42-31.
The Last Meeting In The NCAA Tournament
Kansas defeated Michigan State, 96-86, in overtime in the 1986 Sweet 16 in a controversial finish. With 2:20 left in the game and MSU leading, 76-72, the clock did not run for approximately 15 seconds. MSU led 80-74 with just over a minute to play, but KU scored six straight points, the final basket came on a tip-in from Archie Marshall with :10 seconds left - 10 seconds that should never have happened. Of course, MSU could have sealed the game at the foul line, but missed the front end of two one-and-ones in the final 30 seconds. Scott Skiles led MSU with 20 points, but missed a game-winner at the end of regulation. Kansas out-scored MSU, 14-2, in the final 3:29 of overtime. Larry Polec added 16 points and 11 boards for the Spartans. Calvin Thompson led KU with 26 points, and Danny Manning added 17 before fouling out with 2:21 remaining.
Notes From The First And Second Rounds
* Draymond Green and Kalin Lucas lead the Spartans in scoring in tournament action, averaging 11.5 points per game.
* Eight different Spartans scored in double figures in one of the two games, as six players are averaging 9.0 points or better in the tournament.
* MSU shot .759 from the foul line, after entering the tournament shooting .686.
* MSU's defense allowed opponents to hit just 6-of-27 3-point field goals (.222).
* Goran Suton is averaging 13.5 rebounds per contest, as the Spartans boast a +13.5 rebounding margin.
* Michigan State has recorded an assist on 35 of its 50 field goals (70.0 percent).
First and Second Round Recaps
First Round - No. 2 MSU 77 - No. 15 Robert Morris 62
* MSU improved to 14-5 in first-round games since 1985, including 9-3 under Tom Izzo.
* MSU closed the first half on a 11-0 run over the final 4:18 and opened the second half on a 10-0 run over the first 4:24.
* Goran Suton grabbed 17 rebounds, tied for the sixth-best total by a Spartan in an NCAA Tournament game, and tied for the most by a guy not named Johnny Green. The last Spartan to grab 17 rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game was Earvin Johnson against Lamar in the first round of the 1979 tourney.
* With 11 points and 17 rebounds, Goran Suton recorded the 19th double-double of his Spartan career, but his first in the NCAA Tournament.
* Raymar Morgan scored 16 points, the most he's scored since Jan. 14.
* Draymond Green scored a season-high 16 points, making his first seven shots from the field. Green's 16 points were the most by a Spartan freshman in his NCAA Tournament debut since Erazem Lorbek scored 17 against Colorado in 2003.
* Michigan State out-rebounded Robert Morris by a +21 margin, its greatest margin since out-rebounding Wisconsin by 22 (42-20) in the 2000 national semifinals and the fourth-greatest margin in school NCAA Tournament history.
* Five Spartans scored in double figures for the first time since Dec. 13, 2008 (Alcorn State), and the first time in an NCAA Tournament game since the first round of the 2005 tournament against Old Dominion.
Second Round - No. 2 Michigan St. 74 - No. 10 USC 69
* Michigan State improved to 8-1 in NCAA Tournament second-round games under Tom Izzo.
* Travis Walton scored a career-high 18 points, knocking down 8-of-13 field goals.
* MSU recorded 20 assists on its 22 field goals, led by Kalin Lucas with seven, his best effort since Jan. 3.
* After USC's Taj Gibson scored 24 points on 10-of-10 shooting and grabbed six rebounds against Boston College, MSU held Gibson to three points and zero rebounds.
* USC hit just 1-of-10 attempts from behind the 3-point arc, marking Spartan opponent season lows for 3-pointers made and attempted and percentage.
* MSU's defense held the Trojans without a point for the final 3:52 of the contest, forcing eight straight missed field-goal attempts.
NCAA Tournament Notes
Final Fours For Active Coaches
With four Final Fours to his credit, Tom Izzo ranks fourth among active coaches. Mike Krzyzewski leads all active coaches with 10 Final Four appearances, followed by Roy Williams (6) and Rick Pitino (5).
Spartan Opponents In NCAA Tournament
Eleven Michigan State opponents made the field of 65 for the 2009 NCAA Tournament, including Big Ten foes Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin and non-conference opponents Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and Texas. The Spartans are a combined 13-4 against the 11 teams. Three of those teams are still active, as MSU posted a combined 2-2 mark against Kansas, North Carolina and Purdue.
MSU As A No. 2 Seed
This is the second time in school history that Michigan State has been the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. In 1979, the second-seeded Spartans received a first-round bye before defeating No. 10 Lamar (95-64). In the regional, MSU beat No. 3 Louisiana State (87-71) and top-seeded Notre Dame (80-68) in Indianapolis. In the Final Four in Salt Lake City, MSU defeated Pennsylvania (101-67) in the national semifinal, before defeating previously undefeated Indiana State (75-64) in the championship game.
Thirty years after Michigan State won its first NCAA Championship, the 2009 Spartans can look back for a few good omens. For example, the only other time MSU has been a No. 2 seed came in 1979. And, just like in 1979, the Spartans will play the regional in Indianapolis.
MSU In The Midwest Region
Michigan State is making its seventh appearance in the Midwest Region. The Spartans advanced to the Final Four in 1999 and 2000 as the No. 1 seed in the Midwest. MSU also played in the Midwest in 1985, 1986, 1992 and 2004.
Michigan State ranks eighth among all schools in NCAA Tournament winning percentage for teams with at least 20 tournament games. MSU's .682 winning percentage (45-21) trails only Duke (.752, 88-29), UCLA (.734, 94-34), Florida (.722, 26-10), North Carolina (.715, 98-39), Kansas (.700, 84-36), Kentucky (.690, 98-44) and UNLV (.688, 33-15). MSU's 45 tournament wins rank tied for ninth in NCAA history with Georgetown 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 Kansas (3), Duke (3), North Carolina (4), Indiana (5), Kentucky (7) and UCLA (11) have won more titles.
Big G In The NCAA
Goran Suton is averaging 13.8 points and 11.3 rebounds in his last four NCAA Tournament games, scoring 23 against Memphis in the 2008 Sweet 16 and grabbing 17 rebounds vs. Robert Morris in the 2009 first round. He's grabbed eight rebounds or more in six straight tournament games.
MSU In The NCAA Tournament
Michigan State is making its 23rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament with a record of 45-21. MSU has made six trips to the Final Four (1957, 1979, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005) and captured the NCAA Championship in 1979 and 2000.
Brilliant Under Short Rest
Under head coach Tom Izzo, Michigan State has a spectacular 13-2 record in the second game of a weekend in NCAA Tournament play. The Spartans' only two losses have come when playing a top seed in an opponent's home state, falling to No. 1 Texas at the 2003 South Region Final in San Antonio and losing to No. 1 North Carolina in the 2007 second round in Winston-Salem, N.C.
MSU Basketball Notes
Big Ten Champs
Michigan State won the 2009 Big Ten Championship outright. It is the fifth regular-season Big Ten Championship for head coach Tom Izzo, as he directed the Spartans to four-straight league crowns from 1998-2001. It marks the first outright crown for the Spartans since 1999. Overall, it is Michigan State's 11th Big Ten title since joining the conference in 1951 (1957, 1959, 1967, 1978, 1979, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2009). Michigan State became the first conference team to win the Big Ten by four games since 1985. Minnesota won the league by four games in 1997, but was later forced to vacate the title due to NCAA sanctions.
Spartans Claim Major Conference Awards
With team success, comes individual accolades as Michigan State claimed the Coach of the Year, Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards. Tom Izzo earned Coach of the Year honors as voted on by the coaches. Kalin Lucas was voted Big Ten Player of the Year by both the media and coaches and Travis Walton was chosen by the coaches as the Defensive Player of the Year. Michigan State becomes just the second program in league history (since 1984) to win all three awards in the same season, joining Illinois in 2005.
Just Like Football
With football programs across the country beginning spring practice, it's interesting to note that Michigan State is one of just three schools to finish the 2008 football season in The Associated Press Top 25 and advance to the Sweet 16, joining Missouri and Oklahoma.
Rising To The Occasion
Senior Travis Walton picked a great moment to have the best offensive game of his career. The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year scored a career-high 18 points in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against USC. It marked just his fifth double-figure scoring effort of the season and the first since Jan. 10. In his previous seven NCAA Tournament games, Walton had totaled 15 points. The scoring outburst, however, was not a total surprise as Walton did score 16 points in back-to-back games earlier this season at the Old Spice Classic against Maryland and Oklahoma State. For the year, Walton is averaging 5.3 points per game.
The New "Fire And Ice"
During the Michigan State student-athlete press conference the day before MSU's second-round game against USC, Travis Walton and Kalin Lucas were asked to describe their complementary styles of play. Raymar Morgan jumped in and called them "Fire and Ice," a reference back to the Shawn Respert-Eric Snow backcourt of the mid 90's at MSU. The name certainly fits as Lucas is one of the nation's dynamic point guards and the Big Ten Player of the Year, while Walton is a lockdown defender and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
Cranking Up The Defense
Michigan State has won 10 of the last 12 games thanks in large part to great defense. Over the last 12 games, the Spartans are holding opponents to 59.2 points per game, allowing teams to shoot just 40.1 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from 3-point range. Only four teams have scored 60 points and just two have scored 70. Both teams to score 70 points or more defeated the Spartans.
Coach of the Year
For the second time in his career, Tom Izzo has earned Big Ten Coach of the Year accolades. Izzo earned the award in a vote of his coaching peers, while Penn State's Ed DeChellis took the media vote. Izzo previously was recognized in 1998, his third year directing the Spartans.
Player of the Year
Sophomore Kalin Lucas was voted Big Ten Player of the Year by both the league's coaches and media. Lucas becomes the third different Spartan of the Coach Izzo era to earn Big Ten Player of the Year honors, joining Mateen Cleaves (1998 and 1999) and Morris Peterson (2000). He is the first Spartan to earn the accolade from both the coaches and media since 1998. Since 1985, he is just the seventh sophomore to capture the honor, joining Indiana's Jay Edwards (1985), Ohio State's Jim Jackson (1991), Purdue's Glenn Robinson (1994), Cleaves (1998), Illinois' Frank Williams (2001) and Indiana's Jared Jeffries (2002). In conference play, Lucas ranked second in the league in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game. In league road contests, he raised his scoring average to 18.0 ppg, as MSU established a school record with eight conference road wins. He was MSU's leading scorer in 11 of 18 Big Ten games.
Defensive Player of the Year
Travis Walton was voted Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches. He becomes just the third player in Michigan State history to earn Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors, joining Ken Redfield (1990) and Eric Snow (1995).
Morgan Key To Spartan Attack
Raymar Morgan has averaged 9.1 points and 21.6 minutes in the last seven games, including 16 points in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Robert Morris and 14 each in Spartan wins at Illinois and Indiana. The 16 points against the Colonials were the most he's scored in a game since Jan. 14 against Penn State. After the game against the Nittany Lions, Morgan battled walking pneumonia/mild form of mononucleosis for more than a month, playing limited minutes in eight games and missing three. A healthy Morgan is a key to MSU's long-range hopes, as he was averaging 15.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 27.1 minutes prior to the first Illinois contest, including 15.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in league play, leading the Spartans in scoring and shooting 60.0 percent from the field. MSU is 19-3 with Morgan in the starting lineup and 20-2 when he plays 20 minutes or more. The Spartans average 75.8 points and own a +11.1 rebound margin when Morgan plays 20 minutes or more, but just 65.3 ppg and +8.4 on the boards when he plays fewer than 20 minutes or not at all.
Wins Rank Among School's Best Seasons
With 28 wins, Michigan State has notched its 18th 20-win season in school history. The 28 victories are tied for third most in school history with the 1990 and 2001 squads. Only the 1999 (33 wins) and 2000 (32) teams had more victories. The 25 regular-season wins rank as the third-largest regular-season total, one behind the 1989-90 and 1998-99 teams. Of the 18 20-win seasons in Spartan history, Izzo has been involved in 15 of them, 10 as a head coach and five as an assistant. MSU finished the conference season with 15 league victories, tying the 1999 (15-1), 1990 (15-3) and 1978 (15-3) squads for a school record.
It's All About Boardwork
Michigan State leads the nation in rebound margin at +10.1 (as of March 23). MSU has led the Big Ten in rebounding margin in nine of the last 11 years. This season, the Spartans are 26-5 when out-rebounding their opponent. MSU has out-rebounded 24 straight opponents. It's a group effort for MSU, as seven different players have led the team or shared the team lead in rebounding in a single game. In Big Ten play, the Spartans posted a +11.5 rebounding margin.
MSU In March
Michigan State is 52-21 in March since the 1998-99 season. For his career, Tom Izzo is 59-28 in March.
Life Away From Home
Michigan State is 16-4 away from the Breslin Center, including 7-3 on a neutral court. MSU finished a league-best 8-1 in league road games after winning its first six conference road games for the first time since joining the Big Ten in 1950-51. Prior to this season, the Spartans had never won their first four league road games. MSU was 9-1 in true road games, winning at No. 21 Minnesota, Penn State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan, No. 20 Illinois, Indiana and IPFW.
MSU's Defensive Stopper
A three-time All-Big Ten Defensive Team member and 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Travis Walton plays a solid defense that, while occasionally resulting in a steal, will hardly ever allow a perimeter player an open look. Consider some of the following games by the players he has guarded: A.J. Abrams (Texas) 8 points - 3-10 FG, 0-4 3FG; Jon Diebler (Ohio State) 7 points - 2-8 FG, 1-6 3FG; Sherron Collins (Kansas) 6-14 FG, 2-8 3FG, 8 turnovers; Jake Kelly (Iowa) 6 points, 3-6 FG, 5 turnovers; Trent Meacham and Demetri McCamey (Illinois) 6 combined points, 1-16 FG, 1-14 3FG; Craig Moore (Northwestern) 11 points, 3-11 FG, 2-10 3FG; Lawrence Westbrook (Minnesota) 6 points, 2-7 FG; Devan Dumes (Indiana) 5 points, 2-5 FG; Manny Harris (Michigan) 7 points 2-10 FG, 1-6 3FG; Demetri McCamey (Illinois) 3-9 FG, 5 turnovers. He split his responsibilities against Wisconsin, holding Joe Krabbenhoft to two points and no rebounds in the first half and Trevon Hughes to two points and just two shots in the second half. In league games, he ranked third in the conference in steals at 1.83 spg, including four steals against Wisconsin and Minnesota and three against Illinois (both games) and Purdue.
Despite undergoing two knee surgeries since December 2007, including microfracture surgery last December, Delvon Roe is showing flashes of the skills that had him ranked among the elite high school players in his class nationally. In the fall, Coach Izzo explained that it might be February before Roe could really start to produce on a more consistent basis. Prior to the month of February, he was averaging 5.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 16.5 minutes. Since the start of February, he is averaging 7.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 20.7 minutes in 14 games. He recorded his first career double-double at Michigan (14 points, 10 rebounds) and was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Feb. 16. He scored a season-best 16 points vs. Iowa on Feb. 25, and scored 10 points against USC in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Goran Suton finshed conference play as the Big Ten's leading rebounder (8.4 rpg), becoming the first Spartan to lead the league in rebounding since Antonio Smith in 1997. Suton currently leads the league overall (8.3 rpg). In conference play, he recorded double-figure boards against Minnesota (12), Penn State (14), Northwestern (14), Iowa (11), Wisconsin (10), Illinois (10), Purdue (10). In postseason play, he has tallied double-figure rebounds in three of four games, including a season-best 17 boards against Robert Morris in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. In league action, he led the conference in offensive rebounds (3.00 orpg) and ranked second in defensive boards (5.44 drpg). His efforts are a large reason MSU owned an impressive +11.5 rebounding margin in league games. With 850 rebounds for his career, Goran Suton ranks sixth in MSU history, 56 behind Mike Peplowski (906) in fifth place.
Juggling The Lineup
Due to injuries to Goran Suton and Delvon Roe early in the year, and Raymar Morgan's illness as of late, Michigan State has used 14 different starting lineups this season, including nine in the first 12 games. Eleven different Spartans have started a game this season. The Spartans are 8-1 when Morgan, Roe and Suton are all in the starting lineup.
Walton In A Sharing Mood
With 537 career assists, Travis Walton ranks sixth in Michigan State history. His 3.53 assist-to-turnover ratio led the Big Ten in conference games, while his 2.37 ratio ranks third in the league overall. He needs 25 assists to pass current Spartan assistant Mark Montgomery (561 assists) for fifth place.
Working On The Defense
In the first six games of the year, MSU's defense allowed opponents to score 72.5 points on 44.7 percent shooting. In the last 28 games, the Spartans are allowing just 61.0 points on 40.6 percent shooting, including just 30.1 percent from 3-point range.
Lucas Dials Up His Scoring
Kalin Lucas won Big Ten Player of the Year honors as voted on by both the league's coaches and media. Through the first 11 games of the year, he averaged 11.4 points. Over the last 23 games, Lucas is averaging 16.1 points, ranking second in the Big Ten in scoring in conference games at 16.5 ppg. During the last 23 games, he is averaging 5.8 free-throw attempts per game, shooting 84.2 percent from the foul line. He's led MSU in scoring in 13 of the last 23 games, scoring 20 or more points in eight contests.
Defending The Three
Michigan State finished second in the Big Ten in 3-point field-goal percentage defense in league contests, allowing opponents to hit just 29.9 percent of their shots from behind the arc. Over the last nine games, opponents have made just 25.5 percent of their 3-pointers (42-of-165).
Suton Joins 1,000-800 Club
Senior center Goran Suton recently joined an exclusive club, as he became the eighth player in Michigan State history to record 1,000 career points and 800 career rebounds. He currently has 1,021 points and 850 rebounds, joining Greg Kelser (2,014 pts., 1,092 reb.), Paul Davis (1,718 pts., 910 reb.), Andre Hutson (1,393 pts., 835 reb.), Mike Peplowski (1,185 pts., 906 reb.), Lindsay Hairston (1,155 pts., 803 reb.), Bill Kilgore (1,099 pts., 814 reb.) and Johnny Green (1,062 pts., 1,036 reb.).
The Turnover Story
Michigan State is 14-2 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent, and 4-0 when turnovers are equal, but just 10-4 when committing more. The Spartans are 19-2 when committing fewer than 15 turnovers, but just 9-4 when committing 15 or more. In their wins, the Spartans average just 13.4 turnovers per game, compared to 16.5 turnovers in losses. Last season, the Spartans averaged 13.6 turnovers, which was the lowest average of the Tom Izzo era.
70 Is The Magic Number
The 70-point mark is an important number for Michigan State's success, both offensively and defensively. The Spartans are 18-1 when scoring 70 or more points, but just 10-5 when scoring fewer than 70. Defensively, MSU is 26-0 when allowing fewer than 70 points, but 2-6 when allowing more than 70.
Hitting The Offensive Glass
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds, grabbing 14.00 per game. The Spartans are grabbing 41.1 percent of their missed shots, collecting 476 offensive rebounds compared to 683 defensive boards for the opponent. In three games this season (Wichita State, Minnesota, Northwestern), MSU has grabbed more offensive boards than the opponent has grabbed defensive rebounds. In Big Ten play, MSU totaled 255 offensive rebounds compared to 343 defensive boards for the opponents, averaging 14.17 offensive boards per game. The 23 offensive rebounds MSU collected at Minnesota were the most by a Spartan team against a Big Ten opponent since 1998.
Michigan State's Balanced Attack
Through 34 games, Michigan State has proven to have great depth. Nine Spartans average 10.1 minutes or more, while 11 average 6.3 minutes or more, although Kalin Lucas is the only player to average more than 29. Two players average double figures in scoring, while three more Spartans average 8.3 points or better for the highest scoring team in the Big Ten. Nine different players have led MSU in scoring in a single game this season. On the boards, three Spartans average 5.3 boards per contest, as MSU paces the league and nation in rebounding margin.
Lending A Helping Hand
Michigan State is recording an assist on 63.1 percent of its baskets (544-of-862). Most recently, MSU recorded 20 assists on 22 field goals against USC in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans average 16.00 assists per game, ranking second in the Big Ten and 22nd in the nation. Against Alcorn State, MSU dished out 35 assists. Individually, Kalin Lucas ranks fourth in the conference with 4.55 assists per contest, while freshman Korie Lucious dished out 11 against Alcorn State, the most by any Spartan this season.
MSU's bench has out-scored the opponent's bench in 25 of 34 games this season. The Spartan reserves have out-scored the opponent subs, 907-583, an average of 26.7-17.1.
After missing six straight games with a left knee injury in November and December, Goran Suton has appeared in the last 26 games, averaging 10.0 points and 8.5 boards in 26.3 minutes. Suton injured his knee in the second game of the season against IPFW on Nov. 19. After his knee did not respond to rest, he underwent arthroscopic surgery on Dec. 4. His first full practice came on Monday, Dec. 15. He returned to action against The Citadel on Dec. 17. In a win over No. 5 Texas, Suton played 26 minutes off the bench, scoring a team-best 18 points. Against Oakland, Suton led MSU in both scoring (16 points) and rebounding (9 rebounds). He posted a double-double against Minnesota (11 pts., 12 reb.), Penn State (13 pts., 14 reb.), Northwestern (15 pts., 14 reb.), Iowa (16 pts., 10 reb.), Purdue (11 pts., 10 reb.) and Robert Morris (11 pts., 17 reb.). MSU is 24-4 with Suton in the lineup.
The Free Throw Story
Traditionally a strong free-throw shooting team, Michigan State is shooting just .691 from the charity stripe. MSU is averaging 23.5 free-throw attempts per game, compared to just 18.6 attempts for Spartan opponents. In league play, the Spartans shot better, connecting on 71.0 percent of their attempts, ranking sixth in the league.
MSU's Sixth Man
Chris Allen has been Michigan State's sixth man for most of the season. He has come off the bench in 29 of the Spartans' 34 games, and has been the first sub off the bench in 17 of the last 26 games in which he's come off the bench. Allen leads the Spartans in 3-point field goals made (51) and attempted (152).
Morgan Reaches 1,000
With eight points against Oakland, Raymar Morgan became the 38th player in MSU history to score 1,000 career points. With 1,164 points, Raymar Morgan needs 13 points to pass Lee Lafayette for 29th place in the MSU career scoring annals, 20 to pass Shannon Brown and 22 to pass Mike Peplowski.
Lucas Dishes It Out
Kalin Lucas ranks fourth in the Big Ten with a 2.20-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, while ranking fourth in the conference at 4.47 helpers per contest. Lucas has recorded one or no turnovers in 17 of 34 games. Against Oklahoma State, Lucas recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and a career-best 10 assists. As a freshman, Lucas ranked fifth in the Big Ten in assists (3.81 apg) and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.88), while his 137 assists were the fourth most ever by a Spartan freshman.
Lucas Earns Spot On Wooden Ballot
Kalin Lucas is one of 24 candidates to appear on the national ballot for the John R. Wooden Award, as selected by the Los Angeles Athletic Club's John R. Wooden Award Committee. He is the only Big Ten players to appear on the list. More than 1,000 voters, comprised of sports media members and college basketball experts from across the nation, will cast their votes to determine both the 10-member All American Team and Player of the Year, which will be announced in late March.
Spartans On The Run
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in scoring offense at 72.1 points per game overall, including 67.6 points in conference action. It marks the first time the Spartans have led the league in scoring in conference games since the 2004 Spartans averaged 71.3 points per game.
Marquise Gray is a real X-factor for the Spartans in the sense that when he is productive, Michigan State almost always wins. Gray has scored in double figures 18 times in his career, and the Spartans are 17-1 in those games. The lone loss came against North Carolina in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, where Gray tallied 11 points. In addition, MSU is 4-0 when Gray grabs 10 or more rebounds and 3-0 when he posts a double-double.
Spartans Earn Player of the Week Honors
Kalin Lucas was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Jan. 12 after averaging 21.0 points in a pair of Spartan victories over Ohio State and defending national champion Kansas. In addition, Lucas was named National Player of the Week by ESPN.com's Andy Katz. Raymar Morgan was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Jan. 5 after averaging 16.0 points and 11.5 rebounds in a pair of Spartan road victories at No. 21 Minnesota and at Northwestern. Most recently, Delvon Roe was honored on Feb. 16 after a double-double at Michigan.
Spartans In The NBA
Seven former Spartans are currently on NBA rosters, including Maurice Ager (New Jersey Nets), Charlie Bell (Milwaukee Bucks), Shannon Brown (Los Angeles Lakers), Morris Peterson (New Orleans Hornets), Zach Randolph (Los Angeles Clippers), Jason Richardson (Phoenix Suns) and Eric Snow (Cleveland Cavaliers).
The Cardinals are the No. 1 overall seed in this year's NCAA Tournament, only the second No. 1 seed in program history. Louisville attained the No. 1 ranking in the final Associated Press poll of the season, the first AP No. 1 ranking ever for the Cardinals. Their No. 1 rank was due in large part to their BIG EAST regular-season and tournament titles. The Cardinals have won 12 straight games heading into the round of 16. Overall, Louisville has qualified for 35 NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the Sweet 16 17 times, the fourth most by any program since 1975, and eight Final Fours. Overall, Louisville is 59-36 in NCAA Tournament games and has won two National Titles (1980 & 86).
Rick Pitino (UMass, '74) is 551-196 in his 23rd season as college head coach, including 199-72 in eight seasons at Louisville. Pitino became the first coach in NCAA history to guide three different schools to the NCAA Final Four when he took the Cardinals to St. Louis in 2005. Pitino has coached five Final Four teams (Providence 1987; Kentucky 1993, 1996 and 1997; Louisville 2005), including winning the 1996 NCAA Championship at Kentucky and a runner-up finish in 1997. Pitino is one of 10 coaches all-time who have reached the Final Four at least five times. Pitino is 37-12 in NCAA Tournament play, as his .755 winning percentage is third best among active coaches. He is one of just four coaches to take four different teams to the NCAA Tournament.
Louisville vs. The Field of 65
The Cardinals played 12 regular-season games against NCAA Tournament teams, going 9-3 in those games - their three losses came to Western Kentucky (68-54), Minnesota (70-64) and Connecticut (68-51). Four of their opponents - Villanova, UConn, Pittsburgh and Syracuse - have all advanced to the Sweet 16. In six games against those four teams, Louisville has a 5-1 record, with their only loss coming at home to UConn.
The Spartans and Cardinals have one common opponent from the 2008-09 season, Minnesota. The Cardinals lost to Minnesota on a neutral court, 70-64, while the Spartans topped the Golden Gophers three times, twice during the regular season and also in the Big Ten Tournament.
Louisville leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 4-2, but the two teams have not met since a 69-57 Spartan win in 1999. The only other Spartan win came in 1994 when MSU topped the Cardinals, 85-71, at the Breslin Center. The first-ever meeting between the two schools came during the 1959 NCAA Tournament, when Louisville topped MSU, 88-81, in the regional final in Raleigh, N.C.
Arizona earned one of the last at-large bids to this year's NCAA Tournament as a No. 12 seed in the Midwest region; the No. 12 seed is the lowest-ever for the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament. The tournament appearance is Arizona's 25th straight trip to the dance, the longest active streak in the nation; it is the program's 28th tournament appearance. The 25 straight appearances are the second-most all time, trailing only North Carolina, who made 27 straight. Overall, the Wildcats have a 43-26 record in the NCAA Tournament. In all, Arizona has made it to four Final Fours, eight Elite Eights and 12 Sweet 16s. The Wildcats won the National Championship in 1997 when they topped Kentucky, 84-79, in overtime.
Arizona vs. The Field of 65
Arizona played 12 games against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament this season, compiling a 5-7 record in those 12 games. The Wildcats are also 2-1 against opponents in the Midwest Region after splitting the season series with 10th-seeded USC and defeating third-seeded Kansas. Two of the tournament teams that Arizona faced - Kansas and Gonzaga - have advanced to the Sweet 16; Arizona won both of those games in the regular season.
The Spartans and Wildcats have two common opponents in 2008-09, Kansas and USC, both of whom were ironically selected to play in the Midwest Region along with Arizona and MSU. Arizona split two games with USC, the team that Michigan State topped to advance to the Sweet 16, and also topped Kansas, 84-67, a team that Michigan State defeated, 75-62, at the Breslin Center.
Michigan State trails the all-time series with Arizona, 4-2, but has won each of the last two meetings. The Spartans topped Arizona, 74-71, in overtime back on Nov. 23, 2005 and also defeated the Wildcats, 74-60, at home on Dec. 15, 2001. Arizona won the lone NCAA Tournament meeting, defeating MSU, 80-61, in the 2001 Final Four in Minneapolis.
Interim Head Coach Pennell
Russ Pennell (Pittsburg State, '89) is 21-13 in his first season as a college head coach. He assumed the interim coaching responsibilities on Oct. 24 in the wake of Lute Olson's retirement a day earlier. Pennell returned to college basketball on May 5, 2008, when he joined the Wildcat staff, ending a two-year stint as the head of the Arizona Premier League in the Phoenix area. He also provided color commentary for the Arizona State University radio network during the 2007-08 season. Most recently, Pennell served as an assistant coach for Arizona State for eight seasons from 1998-2006.
The Book On Tom Izzo
In his 14th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 333-136 (.710), and 160-72 (.690) in the Big Ten, as the coach of the Michigan State basketball program. In 2005, he passed Benjamin Van Alstyne to become the second-winningest coach in MSU history, trailing only Jud Heathcote (340) in total wins. 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 .690 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 just ahead of Purdue's Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Izzo (.710) and Lambert (.709). With 160 conference victories, Izzo ranks eighth all-time.
Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 13 seasons, Tom Izzo won 305 games, ranking seventh in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 13 years.
Izzo Against Ranked Opponents
In his 14 years of coaching, Tom Izzo is 70-66 against ranked opponents.
In Tom Izzo's 13 full years directing the Spartan program, 83 percent of his players who completed their eligibility also left with a degree. In the last nine years, 29 Spartans have received their undergraduate degrees, including five each in 2001, 2003 and 2007.
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 sixth 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 fourth 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 second season with Utah. Stan Joplin, an assistant during Izzo's first season, spent 12 seasons as head coach at Toledo.
Home Sweet Home
During Tom Izzo's career as head coach, the Spartans are 192-24 (.889) at home, including 169-15 (.918) since the start of the 1997-98 season.
Coaches Vs. Cancer
During the 2007-08 season, Tom and Lupe Izzo launched the Michigan State chapter of the Coaches Vs. Cancer program. Now in its second season, the Izzos are looking for an even better year. Signature events for 2009 include the Suits and Sneakers Fundraising Challenge, where employees donate funds for the right to wear sneakers in the work place, an NCAA Final Four Reception (April 3, 2009), and Izzo Goes To Broadway (May 6, 2009), a cabaret style show featuring special guests and professional talent, directed by Broadway director and East Lansing native Greg Ganakas at the Wharton Center on the MSU campus. For more information on any of these initiatives, contact Kate Follett from the American Cancer Society at 517-664-1370.