The Opening Tip
Michigan State opens its 112th season of basketball as it hosts Eastern Michigan Friday. For the second straight season, the Spartans enter the season ranked No. 2 in the country. MSU is looking to win its 34th straight home opener and remain perfect at home in November under Tom Izzo. The Spartans return seven of their top nine scorers from last year's squad.
The Starting Five
1. For Openers
Michigan State is 89-22 all-time in openers, winning 32 of the last 33. In November 2005, MSU lost at Hawai'i, 84-62, to open the season. Prior to that, the Spartans' last loss in an opener came on Nov. 29, 1976, when they fell to Central Michigan, 81-76.
2. For Openers, Part II
Michigan State is 93-18 all-time in home openers. The Spartans last lost a home opener on Dec. 4, 1976, falling to Western Michigan, 74-73. Overall, the Spartans are 78-11 in season openers at home. The Spartans last lost a season opener at home Dec. 1, 1970, to Northern Illinois, 76-75.
3. MSU In November
Michigan State has an all-time record of 85-25 in games played in the month of November. This includes a 60-3 mark at home. The last team to beat MSU at home in November was a David Robinson-led Navy squad that bested the Spartans, 91-90, in overtime on Nov. 29, 1986. Tom Izzo is 38-0 all-time at home in November.
4. Exhibition Recap
Michigan State won its two exhibition games against Saginaw Valley State (88-44) and Nebraska-Omaha (102-72) by an average margin of 37 points, averaging 95.0 points per contest. The Spartans were led by Kalin Lucas, who averaged 19.0 points over the two games, shooting .591 from the field, including .636 from 3-point range. Against UNO, Lucas scored 25 points in 25 minutes. Draymond Green (14.0 ppg), Keith Appling (13.5 ppg) and Durrell Summers (11.5 ppg) also averaged double-figure points. The Spartans outrebounded opponents by a +19.5 margin, led by freshman Adreian Payne, who averaged 9.5 rebounds.
5. An Experienced Group
Michigan State returns nine letterwinners and three starters from last year's Big Ten Championship and Final Four squad. The Spartans return three of their top four scorers and seven of their top nine. The Spartans return 71.7 percent of their scoring, 72.9 percent of their rebounding and 76.9 percent of their assists. Michigan State's returning roster has combined to play in a Big Ten-best 615 contests, 31 more than Northwestern. MSU's roster has combined for 221 starts, which is just the seventh-highest total in the league. MSU's combined minutes played total of 10,255 ranks fifth in the conference.
MSU vs. Eastern Michigan Notes
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Eastern Michigan, 26-3, including a 17-1 advantage in games played in East Lansing. The Spartans have won four straight games in the series. Tom Izzo is 2-0 in his career against Eastern Michigan. The two teams first played on March 3, 1900.
Charles E. Ramsey (Eastern Michigan, '92) is 59-96 in his sixth season as a collegiate head coach. Under Ramsey's leadership, the Eagles have improved every season except one. He guided the Eagles to a 17-15 mark last season, the school's best mark in 12 seasons. Prior to becoming head coach, Ramsey served as an assistant at EMU, California, and, most recently, Michigan.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Eastern Michigan, 74-57, on Dec. 4, 1999, in the championship game of the Coca-Cola Spartan Classic. Morris Peterson led MSU with 16 points, while Andre Hutson added 15. The Spartans held a +20 advantage on the glass.
EMU is led by senior forward Brandon Bowdry, who was selected to the MAC West Division preseason first team. Bowdry was the only player in the MAC to average double figures in points (16.4 ppg) and rebounds (10.0) last season ... Senior wing Jay Higgins started 30 games last season, averaging 8.0 points ... Senior wing Will Cooper attended Detroit Pershing High School, the same school as current Spartans Keith Appling and Derrick Nix ... Sophomore forward Jamell Harris is from Euclid, Ohio, the hometown of Spartan forward Delvon Roe ... Eastern Michigan assistant coach Carl Thomas is a Lansing native and a member of the Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame.
MSU Basketball Notes
Another Strong Non-Conference Schedule
Michigan State will be tested early and often during its 2010-11 non-conference schedule. Three opponents (Duke, Syracuse, Texas) and two additional potential opponents (Kentucky and Washington) appeared in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. All five of those squads also appear in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25.
Big Ten Even Stronger
While MSU's non-conference slate is rough, the Big Ten schedule is even tougher, as the conference will feature its strongest lineup in decades. Five different league schools (Michigan State, Illinois, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin) are ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25, while Northwestern and Minnesota received votes.
Big Ten Favorites
Michigan State was selected as the preseason conference favorite for the 2010-11 season, as voted on by a panel of media. Ohio State and Purdue were picked to finish second and third, respectively. 2009 Big Ten Player of the Year Kalin Lucas was tabbed as Preseason Player of the Year.
In The Rankings
Michigan State is currently ranked No. 2 in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll Top 25. Nine different Spartan opponents or potential opponents are ranked in at least one of the two polls, including Duke (1 AP/1 USA Today), Ohio State (4/5), Syracuse (10/13), Kentucky (11/10), Illinois (13/16), Purdue (14/8), Washington (18/17), Wisconsin (-/24) and Texas (-/25).
Dealing With Injury
One of the early storylines for the 2010-11 Spartans will be how they deal with injuries and how different players battle back from injury. Many different players missed significant time in the offseason due to injury. Most notably, Kalin Lucas is attempting to come back from an Achilles injury suffered in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament against Maryland. Shortly after the season concluded in April, Delvon Roe had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. Garrick Sherman had screws removed from his foot, left over from a high school injury. Freshman center Adreian Payne separated his shoulder late in his high school senior season and missed several months. Fellow freshman Russell Byrd suffered a broken foot in May, and when the foot never fully healed, he underwent a second surgery in early October. Austin Thornton suffered a back injury that kept him out of action for several weeks. Even Durrell Summers suffered a mild knee sprain and missed an opportunity to work with the USA Basketball Select Team. Korie Lucious missed a couple weeks in early October after surgery to fix a torn meniscus.
Seniors Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers have been named preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden and Naismith Awards. In addition, Lucas earned a spot on Dick Vitale's Preseason All-Rolls Royce Second Team and was named the nation's No. 1 floor leader by Athlon Sports College Basketball. He was also named preseason first-team All-Big Ten by Lindy's and Athlon Sports College Basketball. Summers was named a Second-Team Preseason All-American by Sporting News.
Michigan State's roster features four freshmen: Keith Appling, Russell Byrd, Alex Gauna and Adreian Payne. Appling was a high school teammate of Derrick Nix at Pershing High School, capturing the Class A state title in 2009. Individually, he was a 2010 McDonald's All-American and winner of the 2010 Hal Schram Mr. Basketball Award. Byrd is an outstanding perimeter shooter from Fort Wayne, Ind., who averaged 23.2 points and 10.1 rebounds as a senior. However, he broke his foot in May, and when it did not heal fully, he underwent a second surgery in October. Gauna is a skilled big man from Eaton Rapids, Mich. Gauna was a 2010 Class B All-State honoree after averaging 21.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks as a senior. Payne led Jefferson Township High School to the 2010 Ohio Division IV state championship, averaging 15.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.0 blocked shots as a senior. An extremely talented and athletic forward, Payne was one of the top 25 players in America as a senior.
It's All About Boardwork
Michigan State has led the nation in rebounding margin in each of the last two seasons, posting a +9.3 margin in 2009 and a +8.6 margin in 2010. The Spartans have led the nation in rebounding margin in four of the last 11 years. 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 397 of 510 opponents (.778), posting a 315-82 (.793) mark in those games.
Home Sweet Home
During Tom Izzo's career as head coach, the Spartans are 208-26 (.889) at home, including 185-17 (.916) over the last 13 years. MSU has defeated 47 consecutive non-conference opponents at the Breslin Center, dating back to a Dec. 3, 2003, loss to Duke.
Summers Approaches 1,000
Durrell Summers has scored 919 career points, 81 points shy of becoming the 41st player in MSU history to reach the 1,000 point mark for his career. Teammate Kalin Lucas has already topped 1,000 career points.
Moving Up The Scoring Chart
Kalin Lucas ranks 17th in career scoring with 1,418 career points. The Spartan senior needs 51 points to pass Charlie Bell for 16th place in MSU history.
Quite A Class Already
Although they have played just three seasons, Spartan seniors Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers and Mike Kebler have won 86 games in their careers. That total already ranks as the 13th winningest class in school history. With their next win, the 2011 class will tie the 1992 and 2004 classes for 11th most in Spartan history. If the Spartans win 29 games this season, they will equal the 2001 class (115) as the most successful group in school history.
In 2009-10, seven Spartans averaged more than 20 minutes per game, while nine averaged 7.2 minutes per contest. In two exhibition games, 10 players averaged 14 minutes per contest.
Junior Draymond Green is one of the nation's most versatile players. As a sophomore, he staked his claim as the nation's premier sixth man, ranking third in the Big Ten in rebounding (7.7 rpg), while also setting a MSU single-season record for assists by a non-guard (112). This year, Green is sure to establish himself as regular in the starting lineup, while filling a role as one of the best leaders of Tom Izzo's coaching tenure.
Spartans In The NBA
Six former Spartans are currently on NBA rosters, including Maurice Ager (Minnesota Timberwolves), Charlie Bell (Golden State Warriors), Shannon Brown (Los Angeles Lakers), Morris Peterson (Oklahoma City Thunder), Zach Randolph (Memphis Grizzlies) and Jason Richardson (Phoenix Suns). Brown is a key reserve guard for the Lakers and has been a major contributor on back-to-back NBA Championship squads. Randolph was selected as a reserve for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. Richardson has averaged more than 18 points per game over the course of his 10-year career.
The Book On Tom Izzo
In his 16th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 364-146 (.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 his 341st career victory on Nov. 28, 2009 . In his 15 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 (.714), 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 15 seasons, Tom Izzo won 364 games, ranking sevent in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 15 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). Mike Garland served as head coach at Cleveland State for three seasons and Stan Joplin, an assistant during Izzo's first season, spent 12 seasons as head coach at Toledo.