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Spartans Face Tough Test At Old Spice Classic

Nov. 24, 2008

Michigan State (2-0)
vs. Maryland (3-0)

November 27, 2008
7 p.m. EST
Orlando, Fla.
The Milk House

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
TV: ESPN2 - Jon Sciambi (Play by Play), Fran Fraschilla (Color), Andy Katz (Sidelines)

Michigan State Game Notes

Coach Izzo Press Conference (Nov. 24) Video

Coach Izzo Press Conference (Nov. 24) Audio

Coach Izzo Press Conference Transcript

The Opening Tip
Michigan State returns to action at the third-annual Old Spice Classic, with a field that features seven 2008 postseason teams, including five squads that advanced to the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The Spartans will open against Maryland as the two teams meet for the second time in three years. The winner will face the winner of the Gonzaga-Oklahoma State game on Friday.

The Starting Five
1. Quick Start For Raymar
Raymar Morgan is averaging 21.5 points in the first two games of the season, having scored 21 against Idaho and 22 at IPFW. He is the first Spartan to score 20 or more points in the first two games of a season since Shawn Respert did it as a sophomore in 1992-93. The last Spartan to score 20 or more in the first three games of a season was Steve Smith who did it in the first 17 games of the 1990-91 campaign.

2. Spartans In In-Season Tournaments
This is the fifth consecutive season that Michigan State has competed in an in-season tournament, and the 10th tournament in Tom Izzo's 14 years as head coach. MSU won the Pearl Harbor Classic in 1999, and has also competed in the Maui Invitational (1995 - 5th place; 2005 - 3rd place), Puerto Rico Shootout (1999 - 2nd place), Preseason NIT (2001 - 4th place), Great Alaska Shootout (2002 - 4th place), BB&T Classic (2004 - 3rd place), 2K Sports College Hoops Classic (2006 - 2nd place) and CBE Classic (2007 - 2nd place). In addition, MSU has hosted eight Spartan Classics during Izzo's tenure, capturing seven titles.



3. Limiting Turnovers
Michigan State is averaging just 9.5 turnovers through the season's first two contests. By comparison, MSU averaged 13.6 turnovers last year, which was the lowest average of the Tom Izzo era. On the other side, the Spartans are forcing opponents to commit 17.5 turnovers per game. MSU has not had a positive turnover margin since its 2004-05 Final Four season.

4. Hitting The Century Mark
Michigan State opened the season with a 100-62 win over Idaho, marking the 40th time in school history the Spartans have scored 100 or more points in a game, although it is just the second time that MSU has scored exactly 100 points. It was the seventh 100-point effort during Tom Izzo's head coaching tenure.

5. MSU In November
Michigan State has an all-time record of 78-23 in games played in the month of November. This includes a 56-3 mark at home. The 2006-07 season marked the earliest start ever to a regular season as MSU opened on Nov. 8.

MSU vs. Maryland Notes
Series History

The Spartans hold a 2-1 advantage in all-time meetings against the Terrapins, with the two teams splitting a pair of neutral court games. Michigan State defeated Maryland, 60-58, in the Sweet 16 of the 2003 NCAA Tournament. The Terrapins defeated the Spartans, 62-60, on Nov. 17, 2006 in the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic championship game in Madison Square Garden.

Coach Williams
Gary Williams (Maryland, `68) is in his 31st season as a collegiate head coach, having amassed a record of 607-343. In his 20 seasons with the Terrapins, Williams has compiled a 400-216 mark, including winning the 2002 NCAA Tournament. He is the Terrapins' all-time winningest coach and one of just six active coaches with 600 career wins.

The Last Meeting
Maryland defeated Michigan State, 62-60, in the championship game of the 2006 2K Sports College Hoops Classic. The Spartans committed 11 first-half turnovers and trailed 32-25 at intermission. In the second half, MSU pulled within one on a Drew Neitzel 3-pointer, but could never take the lead. Neitzel finished with 21 points, 17 of which came in the second half. D.J. Strawberry led Maryland with 17 points. MSU out-rebounded Maryland, 36-21, but the Terrapins out-shot the Spartans, 54.8 percent compared to 41.8 percent.

You Again?
The Old Spice Classic marks the fifth straight year the Spartans and Terrapins have played in the same in-season tournament, although this will be just the second time they have met on the court. The two teams also participated in the BB&T Classic (2004), Maui Invitational (2005), 2K Sports College Hoops Classic (2006) and CBE Classic (2007), with the only meeting coming in 2006.

Terrapin Notes
Maryland is led by junior guard Greivis Vasquez, who paces the Terrapins in scoring (22.3 ppg), rebounding (7.7 rpg) and assists (5.0 apg) ... Maryland has hit at least one 3-pointer in 322 consecutive games ... The Terps are shooting just .418 from the field, but are holding opponents to .361 shooting, including just .196 from 3-point range ... Maryland averages 10.0 steals through its first three games, forcing teams to commit 20 turnovers per contest.

Game 2 Notes - Michigan State 70 - IPFW 59
* Michigan State turned a 16-4 advantage in offensive rebounds into a 17-9 edge in second chance points.
* The Spartans scored 15 points in the first 16 minutes of the game, and 17 in the final 3:42 of the first half.
* The Spartans committed just three turnovers in the second half, including just one in the final 17:29. MSU held a 17-9 advantage in points off turnovers.
* Michigan State held a 21-6 advantage in bench points, led by Delvon Roe with nine points.
* Michigan State outscored IPFW, 19-6, from the foul line.
* After being out-rebounded in the season opener, Michigan State out-rebounded IPFW, 38-28.
* The Spartans exploited their size advantage, owning a 32-16 edge in points in the paint.

MSU Basketball Notes
In The Rankings

Michigan State is ranked No. 5 in The Associated Press poll and No. 6 in the USA TODAY/ESPN coaches poll. Eight Spartan opponents are also ranked, including North Carolina (#1 AP/#1 USA Today/ESPN), Texas (#6/7), Gonzaga (#9/10), Purdue (#10/9), Tennessee (#12/12), Georgetown (#21/16), Kansas (#22/23) and Wisconsin (#25/19).

Spartans Among Big Ten's Leading Returners
Goran Suton is the Big Ten's leading returning rebounder, having averaged 8.2 boards per game in 2007-08, trailing only Indiana's D.J. White. At 14.0 points per game, Raymar Morgan ranked sixth in the conference in scoring last season, but is the second-leading returning scorer. Travis Walton (4.33 apg) and Kalin Lucas (3.81 apg) rank first and third, respectively, among all returning Big Ten players in assists.

Individual Accolades
Sophomore guard Kalin Lucas has been tabbed a preseason second-team All-American by The Sporting News. Lucas was also chosen as a second-team All-Big Ten selection by Lindy's College Basketball and Athlon Sports College Basketball. Junior forward Raymar Morgan was a first-team all-conference selection as chosen by Lindy's and Athlon. Athlon also selected senior center Goran Suton as a third-team all-league player.

MSU's X-Factor
Marquise Gray is a real X-factor for the Spartans in the sense that when he is productive, Michigan State will most always win. Gray has scored in double figures 14 times in his career, and the Spartans are 13-1 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 On The Run
Michigan State averaged 115.0 points in two exhibition games and 85.0 points in its first two games of the season, a sign of the up-tempo pace the Spartans hope to play in 2008-09. This year's edition of the Spartans could challenge the 2004-05 squad for the highest-scoring team of the Tom Izzo era. In '04-05, MSU averaged 78.5 points en route to a Final Four appearance.

Keys To Success
If recent trends continue, look for Michigan State to pace the conference in rebounding and shooting. Last season, MSU led the league in field-goal percentage (.480) for a fifth-straight season, and in rebound margin (+6.8) for the ninth time in 11 years.

A Noteworthy Frontcourt
Michigan State's frontcourt is ranked among the nation's best according to both Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn (No. 4) and Lindy's College Basketball (No. 4).

Big Ten Favorites
Michigan State men's basketball team was picked to finish second in the Big Ten in a vote by a 22-member media panel. Purdue was named the preseason conference favorite at Big Ten Basketball Media Day in Chicago on Sunday, Oct. 26. Spartan junior Raymar Morgan was named preseason All-Big Ten. Purdue swingman Robbie Hummel was named the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year. In addition to Morgan, he was joined on the all-league team by teammate E'Twaun Moore, Michigan's Manny Harris and Wisconsin's Marcus Landry. The Badgers round out the top three in the preseason team rankings.

MSU's Home-Court Advantage
Michigan State has won 35 straight non-conference home games at the Breslin Center, good for the third-longest active streak in the nation. Only Duke (62; Nov. 23 vs. Montana) and Sam Houston State (44; Nov. 20 vs. North Texas) have longer active streaks. Since the Breslin Center opened for the 1989-90 season, Michigan State has posted a 255-37 (.873) home record, including 158-13 (.924) in the last 11 seasons. Last year, the Spartans were 17-0 at Breslin, finishing the season as the only Big Ten squad with a perfect home mark. Michigan State has won 21 straight home games, dating back to Feb. 3, 2007, a loss to No. 4 Ohio State.

Morgan Makes Wooden Award List
Raymar Morgan was selected one of the top 50 preseason candidates for the 2008-09 John R. Wooden Award. The John R. Wooden Award, presented by the Los Angeles Athletic Club, has been presented annually since 1976. Neitzel and Purdue's Robbie Hummel are the only Big Ten players on the preseason list for the Wooden Award.

An Impressive Streak
Michigan State made its 11th straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2008. It is the longest current streak among Big Ten schools and fifth longest in the nation. Only Arizona (24), Kansas (19), Kentucky (17) and Duke (13) 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.

Spartans In The NBA
Eight former Spartans are currently on NBA rosters, including Maurice Ager (New Jersey Nets), Charlie Bell (Milwaukee Bucks), Shannon Brown (Charlotte Bobcats), Paul Davis (Los Angeles Clippers), Morris Peterson (New Orleans Hornets), Zach Randolph (Los Angeles Clippers), Jason Richardson (Charlotte Bobcats) and Eric Snow (Cleveland Cavaliers).

The Book On Tom Izzo
Coach Izzo
In his 14th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 307-130 (.703), and 145-69 (.678) 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.

Among The Big Ten's Best
Tom Izzo's .678 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 (.703). With 145 conference victories, Izzo ranks 11th all-time.

Izzo Against Ranked Opponents
In his 14 years of coaching, Tom Izzo is 65-64 against ranked opponents.

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.

Graduating Student-Athletes
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 182-22 (.892) at home, including 159-13 (.924) 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.

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