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Spartans Host UALR In Quick Turnaround

The Spartans host UALR Sunday afternoon at Breslin Center.

Nov. 19, 2011

Michigan State (1-2) vs. UALR (2-2)
 Date Sunday, Nov. 20
 Time 6 p.m. ET
 Location East Lansing, Mich. | Breslin Center
 Internet Streaming Big Ten Network (Eric Collins, Greg Kelser)
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)
 Tickets Available at
 Game Notes Michigan State | UALR
 Statistics  Michigan State | UALR
 Social Media @MSU_Basketball   |  Facebook

The Opening Tip
Less than 48 hours after a home-opening victory against Texas Southern, the Spartans are back in action, hosting UALR in MSU's second game in the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational. UALR has already played a pair of games in the Invitational, defeating IUPUI at home and dropping a game Friday night at Eastern Michigan (62-51).

The Starting Five
1. About The Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational

The Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational is a six-team, 13-day, partial round-robin, featuring Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, IUPUI, Milwaukee, Texas Southern and UALR. The Spartans will not play IUPUI, host Texas Southern (Nov. 18), UALR (Nov. 20) and Milwaukee (Nov. 23) and travel to Eastern Michigan (Nov. 27).

2. In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored each of its three opponents in the paint by an average of 35.3-18.6. The Spartans even out-scored No. 1 North Carolina in the paint, 34-32, despite the Tar Heels having what some consider to be the premier frontline in the country. Most recently, MSU out-scored Texas Southern, 38-10, in the paint.

3. Too Many Turnovers
One area of concern for the Spartans has been the turnovers through the first three games. MSU is committing 18.0 per game, while forcing 16.0 by their opponents.

4. New Faces
Six of the 11 players in the Spartan playing group are seeing their first action in a Michigan State uniform (Russell Byrd, Branden Dawson, Alex Gauna, Brandan Kearney, Travis Trice, Brandon Wood). The six are averaging 31.7 of MSU's 66.7 points per game (47.5 percent) and 88.5 of a possible 200 minutes (44.3 percent). There are just two players on the 2011-12 roster (Keith Appling and Draymond Green) who averaged more than 20 minutes per game last season.

5. It's All About Boardwork
After leading the nation in rebounding margin in both 2009 (+9.3) and 2010 (+8.6), Michigan State ranked 48th in the nation last season at +4.0. The Spartans have shown a better effort in 2011-12, out-rebounding all three opponents by a +12.3 margin, including two by more than 10 (+15 vs. North Carolina, +21 vs. Texas Southern). The Spartans have led the nation in rebounding margin in four of the last 12 seasons, ranking in the top 10 seven times and the top 25 on 10 occasions. MSU has led the Big Ten in rebounding margin in 11 of the last 14 years. In the Tom Izzo era, MSU has out-rebounded 419 of 547 opponents (.766), posting a 329-90 (.785) mark in those games.

MSU vs. UALR Notes
Series History

Michigan State leads the all-time series with UALR, 1-0, having defeated the Trojans, 72-67, on Dec. 3, 2005, in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Coach Shields
Steve Shields (Baylor, '88) is 134-114 in his ninth season as a collegiate head coach, all at UALR. The 2004 Sun Belt Coach of the Year, he's led the Trojans to four Sun Belt division titles, and the 2011 NCAA Tournament. He is the winningest coach in school history.

The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated UALR, 72-67, on Dec. 3, 2005, in Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. Paul Davis scored 23 points and Maurice Ager added 22 for the Spartans, while Drew Neitzel had a near double-double with nine points and nine assists. Lekheythan Malone paced UALR with 19 points. The Trojans led by as many seven points in the first half and the game was tied at 30 at the half. The Spartans exploded out of the gate in the second half, opening on a 16-3 run, keyed by 11 points from Davis, including the first nine of the half. MSU sealed the victory by hitting 8-of-8 from the foul line in the final 2:15.

Trojan Notes
UALR won the Sun Belt Conference Tournament last season, securing an automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA Tournament, but lost the three leading scorers off that team ... Sophomore guard Chuck Guy is the only Trojan averaging double-figures in scoring at 13.0 ppg ... UALR is holding opponents to .397 field-goal percentage, but shooting just .382 itself.

Gm. 3 Recap • Michigan State 76 - TSU 41
After opening with neutral site games vs. North Carolina and Duke, Michigan State defeated Texas Southern in its home opener. The Spartans got off to a quick start, opening the game on a 12-1 run. MSU's defense was outstanding in the first half, allowing just 12 points on 4-of-24 shooting, and forcing 11 turnovers. Although MSU's lead was in double figures for the final 29:56, the Spartans really put the game away with a 15-0 run that spanned the final 2:56 of the first half and the first 2:08 of the second half, pushing MSU's lead up to 28 points at 40-12. Texas Southern never got closer than 26 points after that.

MSU vs. TSU Notes
* Adreian Payne recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, including six points and eight boards in the first half.
* Draymond Green recorded his second double-double of the season with 12 points and a team-high 12 rebounds, while also leading the team with a season-high six assists. * Michigan State made more 3-pointers vs. Texas Southern (9) than it had made against North Carolina and Duke combined (6).
* Michigan State recorded its 35th straight victory in a home opener.
* Michigan State held an impressive +21 advantage on the glass.
* Michigan State out-scored Texas Southern, 38-10, in points in the paint, and 15-2 in second chance points.
* Michigan State recorded 22 assists on 29 baskets.

MSU Basketball Notes
MSU In November

Michigan State has an all-time record of 91-28 in games played in the month of November. This includes a 64-3 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 42-0 all-time at home in November.

Green Approaches 1,000
Draymond Green has scored 951 career points, 49 points shy of becoming the 42nd player in MSU history to reach the 1,000 point mark for his career. With 739 rebounds, he also has a shot at becoming just the fourth player in MSU history with 1,000 career boards, and the third player with 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds, joining Greg Kelser and Johnny Green. Given that the Spartans play 31 regular season games, at least one game in the Big Ten Tournament and possibly at least postseason game, Green would need to average 9.03 rebounds to reach 1,000 for his career.

Green Up For Senior CLASS Award
Draymond Green is one of 30 male candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. The candidate poll will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the season.

Another Strong Non-Conference Schedule
While much of the attention is directed at back-to-back games vs. North Carolina and Duke, there is more meat to MSU's non-conference schedule. Other highlights include a Nov. 30 game vs. Florida State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, a top-three pick in the ACC, and a Dec. 10 trip to Gonzaga. In total, seven of MSU's 13 non-conference opponents appeared in the 2011 postseason, including five teams in the NCAA Tournament. Including Big Ten foes, 15 Spartan opponents appeared in last year's postseason, including 11 in the NCAA Tournament.

Playing The Best
Since the 1997-98 season (including 2011-12 - through Nov. 18), the year of Michigan State's first of 14 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans have played 148 games against ranked opponents. That total ranks first among teams that have appeared in a Final Four since then. The Spartans are followed by North Carolina (143), Connecticut (138), Kentucky (137) and Duke (133).

Toughest Start Ever
Michigan State opens the season with the toughest start in the nation with back-to-back neutral-site contests vs. No. 1 North Carolina and No. 6 Duke. MSU is the first team to open the season against North Carolina and Duke in back-to-back games since Wake Forest and North Carolina State did it in November 1976. Michigan State also has never opened a season with two games against ranked opponents.

Big Ten Contenders
Michigan State was picked third by a panel of media in the 2011-12 Big Ten preseason poll. Ohio State and Wisconsin were picked to finish first and second, respectively. Draymond Green found a spot on the preseason all-conference team, joining Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, Purdue's Robbie Hummel, Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor.

Draymond's Senior Campaign
Senior forward Draymond Green is a familiar face among all the new ones in the Michigan State lineup. A three-year captain, Green is on the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 and the Naismith Award Watch list, and a preseason All-Big Ten selection by Lindy's Sports College Basketball and Sporting News College Basketball. Rated the No. 2 small forward in the nation by Lindy's, Green was one of just 10 players in the nation to lead his team in rebounding (8.6 rpg) and assists (4.1 apg) last year. Named to Dick Vitale's All-Solid Gold Preseason All-America Fourth Team, he has tallied 18 career double-doubles, and is one of just three players in school history to record a triple-double, ranking second with two.

Looking For A Super Sophomore Year
Michigan State's second-most experienced player is sophomore guard Keith Appling, although he'll be taking on a little bit of a different role this year. Last season, Appling opened exclusively on the wing, but made the transition to back-up point midway through the conference schedule. That experience will come in handy as he'll open the season as MSU's starting point guard. As a freshman, Appling averaged 6.4 points and 1.3 assists, scoring in double figures on eight occasions.

MSU's Freshman Class
Michigan State welcomes in a three-member freshman scholarship class: Branden Dawson, Brandan Kearney, Travis Trice. Dawson was a 2011 McDonald's All-American and a PARADE Magazine Third-Team All-American, averaging 28.7 points, 18.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists as a senior at Lew Wallace High School in Gary, Ind. Kearney was a 2011 Class A First-Team All-State honoree, averaging 18.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists at Detroit Southeastern High School. Trice was named the 2011 Gatorade Ohio Boys Basketball Player of the Year, averaging 23.5 points, 6.5 assists, 4.3 steals and 3.3 rebounds at Wayne High School in Ohio.

An Experienced New Face
Although he has never played a minute for Michigan State, senior Brandon Wood brings a wealth of college basketball experience to the Spartan lineup. A two-time All-Horizon League performer at Valparaiso the last two seasons, Wood transfered to MSU in May after receiving his sports marketing and business degree. NCAA rules allow an institution to apply for a waiver to allow a student-athlete to transfer without sitting out a season, provided the student-athlete has earned a bachelor's degree, has eligibility remaining and is enrolling in a graduate-level program. In two seasons at Valpo, Wood scored 1,117 points, including averaging 17.7 ppg as a sophomore and 16.7 ppg as a junior. He's also performed at a high level against some of the nation's best teams, scoring 30 points vs. North Carolina, 24 vs. Michigan State and 21 vs. Purdue as a sophomore, followed by 20 vs. Purdue as a junior.

In The Rankings
Seven different Spartan opponents are ranked in at least one of the two polls, including North Carolina (1 AP/1 USA Today), Ohio State (3/3), Duke (6/6), Wisconsin (14/13), Michigan (17/17), Gonzaga (22/23) and Florida State (25/24). MSU is receiving votes in both preseason polls.

Spartan Big Men
While Draymond Green gets a lot of attention in the Spartan frontcourt, he'll need his teammates to step up to make the unit strong. Sophomore center Adreian Payne and junior center Derrick Nix had strong summers and are both looking at breakout seasons this year. Payne suffered through a lingering shoulder injury for much of last season, but showed flashes of the skill set that led Coach Izzo to call him one of the most athletic big men he'd ever coached. His best game last season came against his home state Buckeyes, as he scored 10 points in 11 minutes at Ohio State (2/15). Nix dropped nearly 25 pounds and enters the season weighing 270. In addition to weight loss, Nix's body has undergone a transformation, allowing increased stamina on the court. In short stints last season, Nix showed excellent footwork and a strong array of post moves. In back-to-back games vs. Indiana (1/30) and Iowa (2/2), he averaged 10.5 points. Redshirt freshman Alex Gauna should also contribute to the Spartan frontcourt. The big forward adds the pick-and-pop threat to the offense.

U-S-A, U-S-A
Keith Appling and Draymond Green both benefitted from their experiences with USA Basketball over the summer. Green was a member of the World University Games team, averaging 8.6 points and 6.0 rebounds, ranking second on the team in boards, and serving as a distributor from the forward position. Appling played with the FIBA U19 World Championship team, averaging 4.1 points and 10.3 minutes per contest, gaining some valuable experience at the point.

Same Name, Different Spellings
Among MSU's newcomers, three have the same first name, but it's spelled three different ways. Branden Dawson, Brandan Kearney and Brandon Wood each have a different second-to-last lettter in the first name. Pay close attention to eliminate typos.

Exhibition Recap
Michigan State won its two exhibition games against Ferris State (85-58) and Hillsdale (80-58) by an average margin of 24.5 points, averaging 82.5 points per contest. The Spartans were led by Draymond Green, who paced MSU in scoring (13.0 ppg) and ranked second in rebounding (7.5 rpg). Branden Dawson and Derrick Nix each averaged 12.5 ppg, as Dawson led the Spartans with 15 points and nine boards against Ferris State. Adreian Payne started the second exhibition vs. Hillsdale and posted a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double, as Payne averaged a team-best 8.0 boards in the two games.

The Book On Tom Izzo
Coach Izzo

In his 17th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 384-163 (.702), and 183-85 (.683) 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 16 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 .683 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks fourth all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700) and former Purdue coach Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Ryan (.727), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Lambert (.709) and Izzo (.702). With 183 conference victories, Izzo ranks sixth all-time.

Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 16 seasons, Tom Izzo won 383 games, ranking sixth in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 16 years.

Izzo's Coaching Tree
Five current Division I head coaches all served as assistants to Tom Izzo, including Tom Crean (Indiana), Brian Gregory (Georgia Tech), Stan Heath (South Florida), Mark Montgomery (Northern Illinois) and Doug Wojcik (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. Jim Boylen was head coach at Utah for four years.



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