Nov. 22, 2012
THE OPENING TIP
Michigan State continues its busy week, hosting Oakland on Friday night. Although the teams did not play in 2011-12, this will be the sixth meeting in the last seven years for the Spartans and Grizzlies. The game also features a clash between brothers: MSU's Denzel Valentine and Oakland's Drew Valentine.
THE STARTING FIVE
1. Spartan Showcase Presented By Auto Owners Insurance Update
The Spartan Showcase presented by Auto Owners Insurance is a five-team, round-robin event, featuring Michigan State, Boise State, Louisiana, Oakland and Texas Southern. The Spartans will play their four games in the showcase in a span of eight days: Texas Southern (Nov. 18), Boise State (Nov. 20), Oakland (Nov. 23), and Louisiana (Nov. 25). Through Tuesday Nov. 20, Boise State is 3-1 in the Showcase, MSU is 2-0, Oakland is 1-2, Louisiana is 1-2 and Texas Southern is 1-3.
2. Valentine Family Reunion
When Spartan freshman Denzel Valentine takes the court, he'll be facing his older brother, Oakland senior Drew Valentine. Denzel made his first career start in the last game vs. Boise State and is averaging 6.0 points and 3.0 assists four games into his Spartan career. Drew is a co-captain for the Golden Grizzlies and a preseason All-Summit League second-team selection, averaging 11.8 points and 3.0 assists this season. Both Denzel and Drew played for their father Carlton at Lansing Sexton High School. Carlton was a four-year letterwinner at MSU from 1985-88.
3. Spartans Shooting Better
Michigan State got off to a cold shooting start this season, failing to shoot better than 39 percent in either half in the opener against Connecticut. In the six halves of basketball that have followed, the Spartans have shot 50 percent or better five times. Through the first four games, MSU is shooting .475 from the field.
4. Searching For A Rotation
Michigan State has many talented players. So many, in fact, that the trick for Coach Izzo and the Spartan coaches has been developing a set rotation for the squad. MSU has used three different starting lineups through the season's first four games, as the Spartans work with different combinations. Nine players are averaging more than 14 minutes per game, and 11 are averaging six minutes or more. It's a chore that's been made even more difficult due to injuries to Travis Trice, Matt Costello and Gary Harris.
5. MSU In November
Michigan State has an all-time record of 98-29 in games played in the month of November. This includes a 69-3 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 47-0 all-time at home in November.
MSU VS. OAKLAND NOTES
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Oakland, 10-0, including a 7-0 advantage in East Lansing. The Spartans and Grizzlies are meeting for the seventh time in nine seasons, including five straight seasons from 2006-07 to 2010-11.
Greg Kampe (Bowling Green, `78) is 492-352 in 29 seasons at Oakland, including a 228-190 record at the Division I level. In 2004-05, Kampe led Oakland to a Mid-Con Championship and its first NCAA Division I Tournament. In 2010 and 2011, Kampe directed the Golden Grizzlies to back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths. His 29 seasons at Oakland rank as the fifth-most for a Division I coach at his current school.
The Last Meeting In East Lansing
Michigan State defeated Oakland, 88-57, on Dec. 10, 2009, in East Lansing. The Spartans used a 31-6 run early in the first half to take a 36-10 lead and never looked back. In the first half, MSU turned 11 Oakland turnovers into 22 Spartan points. Michigan State also held a 19-2 advantage in fast-break points for the game, and controlled the paint with a 46-18 advantage. Draymond Green notched then-career highs in points (19) and rebounds (12). Kalin Lucas also scored 19 points for MSU, while Oakland's Keith Benson led all scorers with 21 points. For the game, MSU shot 56.3 percent, compared to just 34.5 percent for Oakland.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Oakland, 77-76, on Dec. 11, 2010, at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The first half featured 10 ties and five lead changes, as the Spartans took a 39-35 lead into the break. The Golden Grizzlies scored the first four points of the second half to tie the game at 39. MSU responded with a 10-0 run, sparked by a steal, dunk and 3-pointer by Keith Appling. Oakland kept battling, but could never tie the game. The Spartans led by seven points in the final minute, and six points with 11 seconds left, but two Reggie Hamilton 3-pointers sandwiched around a Kalin Lucas free throw cut the final score to a single point. Lucas led the Spartans with 25 points. MSU recorded 13 steals, leading to a 16-7 edge in points off turnovers. Appling made his first career start.
Golden Grizzly Notes
Travis Bader (Okemos), Jordan Howenstine (Lansing Sexton) and Drew Valentine (Lansing Sexton) all went to high school in the mid-Michigan area ... Oakland's schedule also features Pittsburgh, Tennessee, West Virginia and Alabama ... Oakland has made a 3-pointer in 741 consecutive games, the seventh-longest streak in the nation ... Last season, the Golden Grizzlies advanced to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason tournament semifinals ... Sophomore Corey Petros is the reigning Summit League Player of the Week, averaging 18 points and 9.5 rebounds against Pittsburgh and Boise State ... Oakland is 45-9 in Summit League play over the last three seasons, the third-best conference mark among all conferences in the country.
GM. 4 RECAP MICHIGAN STATE 74 - BOISE STATE 70
Michigan State escaped with a 74-70 win over Boise State. Gary Harris injured his shoulder on the first possession of the game, and the Spartans were sluggish for the early part of the half, as Boise State took a 22-13 lead with 8:35 remaining in the stanza. MSU quickly responded with a 16-2 run, including seven points from Branden Dawson and five points from Keith Appling. Minutes later, Brandan Kearney knocked in a 3-pointer to give MSU a 38-32 lead at the half.
In the second half, MSU quickly extended the lead to nine points at 43-34 when Appling connected on a 3-pointer with 16:32 left in the game. But BSU scored the next seven points, proving it wouldn't go away. In fact, the Broncos used an 11-0 run midway through the stanza to take a 61-56 lead. But just as quickly, MSU responded with a 10-1 run, using its defensive steals and rebounding to spark several transition baskets, and take a 66-62 lead. As he did against Kansas, Appling came up big again in the game's final minutes, converting on a driving 3-point play with 14 seconds left to take a commanding 73-68 lead.
MSU VS. BOISE STATE NOTES
* Denzel Valentine made his first career start, scoring in double-figures for the first time in his career (12 points).
* MSU recorded season highs in points (74) and assists (16).
* Four Spartans scored in double figures for the first time this season.
* Keith Appling recorded season highs in points (22) and assists (7). For Appling it was his fifth career 20-point game.
* Michigan State shot a season-high 57.8 percent from the field.
* Brandan Kearney played a career-high 27 minutes, and scored a season-high seven points.
* Freshman Gary Harris injured his left shoulder in the first possession of the game and did not return.
MSU BASKETBALL NOTES
Harris Out Of Action
Gary Harris suffered a shoulder sprain in the first defensive possession of the game against Boise State, and will be out of action 2-3 weeks. Prior to the BSU contest, he was MSU's leading scorer, averaging 16.0 points through three games. He was just the third freshman in MSU history to score in double figures in each of his first three games.
Nix Attacks The Glass
Derrick Nix leads the Spartans and ranks second in the Big Ten in rebounding, averaging 8.5 caroms per contest. Nix grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds in his Spartan debut three seasons ago, but did not record double figures in rebounds again until the 2012-13 season opener when he collected 11 boards against Connecticut. Two games later, he equalled the 11-board effort against Texas Southern.
Dawson Gets Defensive
Branden Dawson has recorded 16 steals through the first four games of the season (4.0 spg), pacing the Big Ten. As a freshman, Dawson collected 29 steals in 31 games. For comparison, Draymond Green led the 2011-12 Spartans with 54 steals.
There's An App For That
Keith Appling entered the season as Michigan State's leading returning scorer and assist distributor, and the junior guard has picked up right where he left off in 2011-12. Through four games, Appling leads the Spartans in scoring (15.5 ppg) and assists (4.5 apg). One area where Appling has improved over last season is his outside shooting, as he is shooting .500 (7-of-14) from 3-point range, compared to .250 (24-of-96) in 2011-12.
Freshmen Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine have made key contributions early in their Spartan careers. Harris ranks third on the squad in scoring (12.0 ppg), and shots (35) and ranks fifth in minutes (22.8 mpg). Although averaging just 6.0 ppg, Valentine also has made his mark, ranking second in assists (3.0 apg), second in blocks (1.0 bpg), fourth in rebounds (4.0 rpg) and fourth in minutes (24.8 mpg).
It's All About Boardwork
Michigan State has led the nation in rebounding in four of the last 13 seasons (2000, 2001, 2009, 2010), ranking in the Top 10 eight times and the Top 25 on 11 occasions. MSU has led the Big Ten in rebounding in 12 of the last 15 years. In the Tom Izzo era, MSU has out-rebounded 449 of 585 opponents (.768), posting a 355-94 (.791) mark in those games. The Spartans have out-rebounded all four opponents this season, posting a +7.8 margin, including averaging 11.5 offensive rebounds per game.
The 2011-12 season was one of Michigan State's best defensive efforts on record. The Spartans ranked second in the nation, allowing opponents to shoot .379 from the field, the lowest percentage by Spartan opponents since 1957-58 (.343). In addition, MSU ranked No. 15 in the nation in scoring defense (59.3 ppg) and 3-point field-goal percentage defense (.299). Through four games this season, MSU is allowing opponents to shoot .392 from the field, including .299 from 3-point range.
Playing The Best
Since the 1997-98 season, the year of Michigan State's first of 15 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans have played 164 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 (151), Kentucky (147), Duke (143) and Connecticut (137).
Frequent Flier Miles
With trips to Ramstein Air Base (vs. Connecticut), Atlanta (vs. Kansas) and Miami, Michigan State will travel nearly 12,000 miles in the month of November. In fact, the Spartans had flown more than 9500 miles prior to their home opener.
Another Tough Start
Last year, MSU opened the schedule with back-to-back games against ranked opponents for the first time in school history. While that won't be the case this season, the start of the year is no less formidable. The Spartans open the season in Germany, playing UConn at Ramstein Air Base in the Armed Forces Classic on Nov. 9. Four days later, the Spartans will play No. 7 Kansas, the 2012 National Runner-Up, in the Champions Classic in Atlanta, Ga. This is the first time since 1918-19 and 1919-20 that Michigan State will open the season with two games away from East Lansing in back-to-back seasons.
Big Ten Strength
Once again, the Big Ten will make a strong claim as the toughest conference in college basketball. Indiana (No. 1), Ohio State (No. 3), Michigan (No. 4), Michigan State (No. 19), and Wisconsin (No. 24), are all ranked in the most recent USA Today Coaches Poll (Nov. 19), while Minnesota received votes. To make matters more difficult for MSU, the Spartans will play each of the those other five teams twice during conference play. Michigan State's single plays are at Iowa and Penn State, and hosting Illinois and Northwestern. Last season, eight of the 12 league teams participated in the postseason, including five teams in the NCAA Tournament.
Payne's Block Party
Junior center Adreian Payne moved into a tie for ninth on the MSU career blocks Top 10 with one block against Boise State, matching Andre Hutson (75). He equalled his career high with four blocks against Kansas. Paul Davis is eighth on the career list with 87 blocks.
Michigan State returns four of its top six scorers and 10 of its top 13 scorers from last season. The Spartans return 58.6% of their minutes, 57.6% percent of their scoring, 51.7% of their rebounding, and 54.8% percent of their assists. Keith Appling was the only player to start all 37 games last year, while Adreian Payne (36) and Branden Dawson (31) also started more than 30 contests. In addition, Derrick Nix has started 18 games in his career. On the other hand, however, only five Spartans entered the season having played more than 350 minutes in their time at MSU.
Senior Derrick Nix and red-shirt sophomore Russell Byrd will serve as team captains during the 2012-13 season. They were chosen by a vote of their teammates, and Tom Izzo made the announcement at MSU Men's Basketball Media Day on October 9.
More Non-Conference Highlights
The games against Connecticut and Kansas to open the season get a bulk of the attention, but there are other highlights throughout the non-conference schedule. Michigan State will travel to Miami for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 28. The highlight of the home schedule is a game against Texas on Dec. 22. In addition, MSU is returning to Jenison Field House for the first time since 1989, hosting Tuskegee on Dec. 15, while also celebrating the 50th anniversary season of the "Game of Change" contest between Mississippi State and Loyola in the 1963 NCAA Tournament at Jenison.
Michigan State welcomes a talented and decorated class to the team in 2012-13. Gary Harris was a 2012 McDonald's All-American, and the recipient of the Indianapolis Star Indiana Mr. Basketball award, averaging 25.4 points at Hamilton Southeastern. Matt Costello was the Hal Schram Michigan Mr. Basketball Award winner after averaging 25 points and 19 rebounds as a senior at Bay City Western. Denzel Valentine led Lansing Sexton to back-to-back Class B state championships, and was the 2012 Associated Press Class B Player of the Year after nearly averaging a triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Kenny Kaminski missed most of his senior season at Medina with a shoulder injury, but returned in time to lead his team to the Elite Eight of the state tournament. Harris, Costello and Valentine all are expected to contribute this year, while a different shoulder injury makes Kaminski a possible redshirt candidate.
Big Ten Success
Michigan State has captured at least a share of the Big Ten Championship in three of the last four seasons. After winning the title outright in 2009, the Spartans shared the conference crown in 2010 and 2012. Last season, MSU also added a Big Ten Tournament title to its resume. During Tom Izzo's tenure, the Spartans have won seven regular-season titles and three tournament crowns.
Michigan State has a reputation for being a strong, physical team and the numbers back it up. Twelve players on MSU's roster can leg press over 700 pounds, with Derrick Nix leading the way with 1100 pounds. Since his arrival on campus, Keith Appling has increased his leg press by 315 pounds under the direction of Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Vorkapich. Collectively, the Spartans can leg press 6 tons - the equivalent of three cars or one African elephant. In terms of upper body strength, Nix leads the way once again, bench pressing the NBA testing standard of 185 pounds 22 times. Gary Harris is the strongest of the guards, ranking tied with Alex Gauna for second on the team with 19 repetitions.
In addition to their strength, the Spartans have also proven to be incredibly athletic, leading to the up-tempo pace Michigan State desires to play this season. When Coach Izzo recruited Adreian Payne, he called Payne the most athletic big man he's ever coached. He wasn't exaggerating as Payne holds the Izzo-era record for a standing vertical jump (no step) at 38 inches. Given a running start, three players can elevate greater than 40 inches: Keith Appling (42"), Adreian Payne (41"), and Travis Trice (40.5").
THE BOOK ON Tom Izzo
In his 18th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 415-170 (.709), and 196-90 (.689) 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 17 seasons as a head coach, Izzo has captured eight National Coach of the Year awards, including the Clair Bee Award in 2005 and NABC honors in 2001 and 2012. 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 also earned National Coach of the Year accolades from CBSSports.com in 2012. He earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 1998, 2009 and 2012.
Among The Big Ten's Best
Tom Izzo's .685 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks third all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind Wisconsin's Bo Ryan (.710), and former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700), and ahead of former Purdue coach Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Ryan (.726), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Lambert (.709) and Izzo (.709). With 196 conference victories, Izzo ranks sixth all-time.
Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 17 seasons, Tom Izzo won 412 games, ranking tied for second in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 17 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 (College of Charleston). 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.