Nov. 20, 2007
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -
#10/t-11 Michigan State (3-0)
vs. #2/t-1 UCLA (4-0)
November 20, 2007
10 p.m. EST
Kansas City, Mo.
Radio: Spartan Sports Network - Will Tieman (Play by Play),
Tim Bograkos (Color). Flagship - WJIM 1240 AM/WMMQ 94.9 FM
TV: ESPN2 - Dan Shulman (Play by Play), Dick Vitale (Color), Doris Burke (sidelines).
The Opening Tip
Michigan State plays UCLA in the championship game of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic. MSU held on to defeat Missouri, 86-83, in Monday's semifinal, while UCLA defeated Maryland, 71-59, in the other semifinal. The matchup features two strong defenses, as both squads are holding opponents below 37 percent shooting from the field.
The Starting Five
1. Finding Success At The Foul Line - Michigan State is shooting .770 from the foul line through the first three games. The Spartans are averaging 29 attempts and 22.3 makes per contest. Last season, MSU averaged 19.2 attempts and 13.8 makes.
2. I Love The 80's - The Spartan offense has scored more than 80 points in all three games this season. Last season, MSU scored 80 or more points in just five of 35 contests. Michigan State has not topped 80 points in three straight games since December 2005.
3. Hitting The Boards - Through three games, Michigan State has a +19.3 rebound margin, including out-rebounding ULM by 27. Raymar Morgan paces the Spartans at 11.3 boards per contest. In 2006-07, MSU posted a +7.0 rebounding margin, outrebounding 24 of 35 opponents while tying three other teams. Last season, three different Spartans (Marquise Gray, Drew Naymick and Goran Suton) grabbed 10 or more rebounds in a single game.
4. Maintaining The Defense - Michigan State is holding its first three opponents to 36.2 percent shooting overall, and 34.5 percent shooting from 3-point range. Last year, MSU allowed opponents to shoot just 38.4 percent, the lowest percentage since 1958-59.
5. MSU's Sixth Starter - Under head coach Tom Izzo, Michigan State has a tradition of bringing an experienced starter off the bench on its most successful teams. On the 1999 Final Four squad, Morris Peterson became the first non-starter in league history to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors. In 2000, David Thomas started early in Mateen Cleaves' absence, then became a key reserve. During MSU's run to the 2005 Final Four, seniors Chris Hill and Kelvin Torbert, two three-year starters, accepted reserve roles to aid the bench depth. This season, Izzo has opted to bring junior co-captain Travis Walton off the bench to lend experience to MSU's depth. Last year, Walton was the only Spartan to start all 35 games, while ranking second in assists per game. In addition, he is one of the nation's best on-the-ball defenders.
MSU vs. UCLA Notes
Series History - UCLA leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 4-2. Most recently the teams split a home-and-home series during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons, with the home team winning each game. In the last meeting, MSU defeated UCLA, 76-64 on Dec. 21, 2004, in East Lansing.
CBE Regional Recap - UCLA advanced to the CBE finals with wins over Youngstown State (83-52) and CS San Bernardino (76-41) in Los Angeles, Calif. The Bruins defeated Maryland, 71-59, in Monday's semifinal.
Coach Howland - Ben Howland (Weber State, `79) is 263-140 in his 14th season as a collegiate head coach, including 94-41 in his fifth season at UCLA. Previously, he spent four seasons as head coach at Pittsburgh and five years at Northern Arizona. He earned National Coach of the Year honors in 2002 and 2006.
Bruin Bits - The Bruins are led in scoring and rebounding by freshman Kevin Love (20.0 ppg and 11.8 rpg) ... Guard Josh Shipp is in his third year as a starter, averaging 15.8 points per game ... UCLA will be without the services of preseason All-American Darren Collison, who is sidelined with a knee injury.
Game Three Notes Michigan State 86 - Missouri 83
* The Spartans held a 16 point lead late in the first half, but Missouri pulled within a single point at 72-71 with 4:40 remaining.
* The Spartans opened the game hitting 10 of their first 11 shots.
* Thirteen of Michigan State's 17 turnovers came in the final 22 minutes of the season.
* Drew Neitzel's only second-half field goal, a 3-pointer with 2:24 remaining, extended MSU's lead back to five at 77-72.
* Goran Suton narrowly missed a double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds, adding three assists and three steals.
* Kalin Lucas scored in double figures for the first time in his Spartan career, totaling 10 points, including a 15-foot jumper when Missouri had pulled within a single point at 72-71.
* The Spartans hit 3-of-5 3-pointers in the first half, but just 1-of-8 in the second half.
* Raymar Morgan scored 19 points in just 20 minutes, playing in foul trouble for much of the contest. He was perfect from the field, shooting 6-of-6 from the field and 6-of-6 at the foul line.
MSU Basketball Notes
Morgan Named Big Ten POW - Raymar Morgan was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week on Nov. 19, sharing the honor with Indiana freshman Eric Gordon. The Spartan sophomore averaged 19.0 points and 14.5 rebounds in the East Lansing Regional of the CBE Classic, earning Regional MVP honors.
Spartan Depth - Nine different Spartans are averaging 14.7 minutes or more through three games. At the same time, no Spartan is averaging 30 minutes.
Freshmen Contributions - Michigan State has played three true scholarship freshmen (Chris Allen, Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers) this season. The trio is averaging 24.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 56.7 minutes.
MSU In November - Michigan State has an all-time record of 74-22 in games played in the month of November. This includes a 53-3 mark at home. This is the second earliest start to a season in school history. Last year marked the earliest start ever to a regular season as MSU opened on Nov. 8.
Returning Talent - The Spartans return 89.8 percent of their scoring (2,043 points), 92.6 percent of their rebounding (1,021 rebounds), 93.2 percent of their assists (522 assists) and 89.4 percent of their minutes (6,256 minutes) from the 2006-07 squad.
Playing With Team USA - Raymar Morgan and Drew Neitzel had the opportunity to play for Team USA over the summer. Morgan made the 2007 USA U19 World Championship Team, winning a silver medal at the FIBA U19 World Championships. He started six of the nine contests, averaging 9.2 points (sixth most on the team) and 4.3 rebounds (fourth most). Neitzel made the 2007 USA Pan American Games Team, helping the team to a 3-2 mark. He led Team USA in minutes (29.6 mpg) and assists (2.2 apg), while ranking fifth in scoring (8.2 ppg).
Neitzel Moving Up Scoring List - Drew Neitzel ranks 33rd in Michigan State career scoring with 1,081 points. He needs 19 points to pass Bill Kilgore (1,099 pts.) and 29 points to pass Al Ferrari (1,109 points). Neitzel scored his 1,000th-career point against Marquette in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
Big Ten Favorites - Michigan State was selected the preseason Big Ten favorite by a 22-member media panel at Big Ten Media Day on Oct. 28 in Chicago. MSU was followed in the polls by Indiana and Ohio State. At the event, Drew Neitzel was also selected Preseason Big Ten Player of The Year, becoming the first Spartan to earn the preseason nod since Mateen Cleaves was the coaches' pick in 1999. Indiana's D.J. White, Ohio State Jamar Butler, Penn State's Geary Claxton and Illinois' Shaun Pruitt joined Neitzel on the all-league team.
MSU Among Decade's Best - In early May 2007, ESPN.com released a ranking of the top 10 programs of the last 10 years. Michigan State was tied for second in the consensus ranking of five college basketball experts. One of the five voters, Andy Katz, ranked MSU as the top program over the last 10 seasons. In ranking the Spartans at the top of the list, Katz used several supporting arguments including: appearing in a nation's best four Final Fours; winning four Big Ten Championships, two Big Ten Tournament Titles and the 2000 NCAA Championship; 10 straight NCAA Tournament appearances; 10 players selected in the NBA Draft; playing 32 ranked regular-season non-conference opponents; 30 graduates; 145 consecutive home sellouts and a .916 winning percentage at Breslin over the last 10 years.
Finding Room For Freshmen - Although Michigan State returns five starters from last year's team, they are also trying to incorporate several new freshmen into the lineup. The class of Chris Allen, Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers was ranked a top-five class according to some recruiting experts. In addition, seven-foot center Tom Herzog redshirted last season and is ready to aid the Spartan front court. Austin Thornton decided to walk-on to this year's squad as a freshman, and was awarded a scholarship when Maurice Joseph transferred in the spring.
Spartans On The Run - After Michigan State's season-ending loss to North Carolina in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, Tom Izzo promised that the Spartans would return to the up-tempo style of basketball that he prefers to play. Look for the Spartans to significantly improve on the 65.0 points they averaged last season. Instead, expect something similar to the 2004-05 squad that averaged 78.5 points per contest, the most by any Izzo-coached team.
The Other Foundations - While an up-tempo offense is Tom Izzo's preferred style, his best teams are also built around exceptional rebounding and strong defense. In fact, MSU led the Big Ten in rebounding margin in 2006-07 for the eighth time in the last 10 years. Defensively, the Spartans allowed opponents just 57.2 points per game, the lowest total since 1951-52. While that number might increase due to a faster pace of game, the field-goal percentage defense need not increase. Last year, MSU allowed opponents to shoot just 38.4 percent, the lowest since 1958-59.
Neitzel Among Career Leaders - Drew Neitzel ranks tied for sixth in MSU history with 453 career assists, equalling Steve Smith (453 assists). He is the Spartan career leader in free throw percentage (.868) and ranks fifth in 3-point field goals made (185) and attempted (455). He needs three 3-point attempts to pass Mateen Cleaves (457).
Neitzel On Cousy List - Senior point guard Drew Neitzel is one of 36 Division I candidates for the 2007 Bob Cousy Award. Presented annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the award recognizes the top collegiate point guard participating in NCAA Divisions I, II and III. The selection committee is comprised of college basketball experts including media members, former coaches and players. Candidates are evaluated on their ability to maximize their team's collective potential, their leadership, their core basketball skills and overall team acheivement. Neitzel is the only Big Ten player on the list, which also includes two Division II and Division III candidates.
Spartans Make Wooden And Naismith Lists - Raymar Morgan and Drew Neitzel are two of 50 players nationwide to earn a spot on the 2007-08 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T preseason candidate watch list. The Naismith watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, which based its preseason criteria on player performances from last season and expectations for the 2007-08 season. Morgan and Neitzel are two of just four Big Ten players on the Naismith watch list, where they are joined by Penn State's Geary Claxton and Indiana's D.J. White. Neitzel was also selected one of the top 50 preseason candidates for the 2007-08 John R. Wooden Award. The John R. Wooden Award, presented by the Los Angeles Athletic Club, has been presented annually since 1976. Neitzel and White are the only Big Ten players on the preseason list for the Wooden Award. Last season, Neitzel was one of 22 players to appear on the final ballot for the Wooden Award.
MSU's Block Party - In 2006-07, Michigan State blocked a school single-season record 162 shots. Drew Naymick led the Spartans with 55 rejections, good for the second-best single-season total in MSU history. Idong Ibok had 33 blocks, the seventh-best single-season total at MSU. Naymick currently stands in fifth place on the MSU career blocked shots chart with 77 rejections. He is 20 blocks shy of Matt Steigenga in first place.
A Perfect 10 - Michigan State made its 10th straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2007. It is the longest current streak among Big Ten schools and fifth longest in the nation. Only Arizona (23), Kansas (18), Kentucky (16) and Duke (12) 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.
Preseason All-American - A second-team All-American as selected by Dick Vitale and CBS Sports.com in 2006-07, Drew Neitzel opens the 2007-08 season as a popular pick for first-team All-America honors. In fact, Neitzel is a preseason first-team All-American according to The Associated Press, Athlon Sports College Basketball, Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook and Dick Vitale. Teammate Raymar Morgan made Vitale's fourth team.
Spartan Opponents In The Polls - Three Michigan State opponents are ranked in the latest The Associated Press Top 25, including No. 2 UCLA, No. 8 Indiana and No. 15 Texas.
Spartans In The NBA - Eight former Spartans are currently on NBA rosters, including Maurice Ager (Dallas Mavericks), Charlie Bell (Milwaukee Bucks), Shannon Brown (Cleveland Cavaliers), Paul Davis (Los Angeles Clippers), Morris Peterson (New Orleans Hornets), Zach Randolph (New York Knicks), Jason Richardson (Charlotte Bobcats) and Eric Snow (Cleveland Cavaliers).
Home Sweet Home - During Tom Izzo's career as head coach, the Spartans are 166-22 (.883) at home, including 143-13 (.917) over the last 11 years.
The Book On Tom Izzo
Coach Izzo - In his 13th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 281-121 (.699), and 133-63 (.679) 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 12 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.
Among The Big Ten's Best - Tom Izzo's .679 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks third all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700) and Purdue's Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Lambert (.709) and Izzo (.699). With 133 conference victories, Izzo ranks 13th all-time, five behind Northwestern's Arthur Lonborg.
Izzo Among Best Ever - Through his first 12 seasons, Tom Izzo won 278 games, ranking ninth in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 12 years.
Graduating Student-Athletes - In Tom Izzo's 12 full years directing the Spartan program, 82 percent of his players who completed their eligibility also left with a degree. In the last eight years, 27 Spartans have received their undergraduate degrees, including five each in 2001, 2003 and 2007.
Izzo's Coaching Tree - Six current Division I head coaches all served as assistants to Tom Izzo, including Jim Boylen (Utah), Tom Crean (Marquette), Brian Gregory (Dayton), Stan Heath (South Florida), Stan Joplin (Toledo) and Doug Wojcik (Tulsa). Gregory is in his fifth 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 third 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 first season with Utah.