Nov. 29, 2011
The Opening Tip
Michigan State welcomes Florida State to Breslin Center, as the Spartans are at home in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for the first time since 2007. The Big Ten is looking to win its third straight challenge. MSU brings a four-game win streak into the contest, while a hungry FSU squad has lost its last two games by a combined seven points. The Spartans and Seminoles are two of the best defensive teams in the nation, as MSU ranks 11th in scoring defense and FSU ranks 10th in FG% defense.
The Starting Five
1. Big Ten/ACC Challenge History
Michigan State is 5-6 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and had its 2001 game against Virginia in Richmond cancelled due to unplayable wet floor conditions. The Spartans and Seminoles have never met in challenge history. MSU is 4-1 at home in the challenge, but has not played at Breslin Center since 2007.
2. Green Approaches Milestones
Draymond Green has scored 992 career points, eight points shy of becoming the 42nd player in MSU history to reach the 1,000 point mark for his career. With 770 rebounds, he needs just two boards to tie Raymar Morgan for 10th place in MSU history. 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.
3. Strong Spartan Defense
Michigan State's defensive effort has been impressive in the first month of the season. The Spartans are allowing just 54.0 points (ranking 11th in the nation) on .355 shooting, including .269 from 3-point range. Those numbers are especially impressive when you consider MSU has played No. 1 North Carolina and No. 6 Duke. The Spartans rank fourth in the Big Ten in scoring defense, third in field-goal percentage defense and second in 3-point field-goal percentage defense. During MSU's four-game win streak, the Spartans are allowing just 45.8 points on .314 shooting, including .209 from 3-point range.
4. In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of 34.0-19.7, out-scoring five of its six opponents. 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.
5. Too Many Turnovers
One area of concern for the Spartans has been the turnovers through the first five games. MSU is committing 17.0 per game, while forcing 17.3 by its opponents. The Spartans, however, are averaging 17.8 points per game off opponent turnovers, compared to 13.7 points by opponents off MSU turnovers. The Spartans are 3-0 when committing fewer turnovers than their opponent, but 1-2 when they have more.
MSU vs. FSU Notes
Florida State won the only previous meetings between the two schools, defeating Michigan State, 68-63, on March 17, 1997, in the second round of the NIT at the end of Tom Izzo's second season. It was the last time MSU played an NIT game, as the Spartans have appeared in 14 straight NCAA Tournaments since then, good for the nation's third-longest active streak.
Leonard Hamilton (Tennessee-Martin, '91) is 359-329 in his 24th season as a collegiate head coach, including 159-119 in 10 seasons at Florida State. Prior to taking over the Seminole program, Hamilton spent one season in the NBA, coaching the Washington Wizards. Before his leap to the pros, Hamilton spent 10 seasons as the head coach at Miami and four years at Oklahoma State.
Florida State ranks ninth in the nation in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (.228) and 10th in blocked shots (6.9 bpg) and field-goal percentage defense (.337) ... The Seminoles led the nation in field-goal percentage defense in each of the last two seasons ... Senior center Bernard James has blocked 99 shots in 40 career games ... Michael Snaer (12-of-30) and Deividas Dulkys (13-of-27) have accounted for 25 of Florida State's 35 made 3-point field goals ... Since the start of the 2008-09 season, Florida State is the third-winningest program in the ACC, behind North Carolina and Duke.
Gm. 6 Recap Michigan St. 72 - Eastern Michigan 40
In Michigan State's first true road game of the season, Eastern Michigan scored the game's first basket, only to watch MSU score the game's next 10 points with five straight from Brandon Wood, followed by five straight from Adreian Payne. Although MSU's offense sputtered in the first half, scoring just 25 points, the defense was exceptional, holding Eastern Michigan to 20 percent shooting (6-of-30) and 10 turnovers in the first.
Michigan State got the offense rolling in the second half, scoring 47 points for the half, thanks in large part to a transition game that saw MSU score 12 fast-break points in the half. The Spartans shot 51.5 percent from the field in the second half, and a season-high 48.3 percent for the game. Draymond Green scored 10 of his team-high 14 points in the second half, adding 13 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. The defense continued to be strong, allowing Eastern Michigan to shoot just 28.6 percent for the game, including 13.6 percent from 3-point range. Payne finished with a career-best 12 points and added eight rebounds. Point guard Keith Appling scored eight of his 11 points in the second half, and dished out a career-best five assists, while committing no turnovers. Appling also played a large role in holding Eastern Michigan's leading scorer Darrell Lampley to three points on 1-of-6 shooting.
MSU vs. Eastern Michigan Notes
* Adreian Payne scored a career-high 12 points.
* Keith Appling dished out a career-best five assists.
* MSU held Eastern Michigan to 13.6 percent from 3-point range (3-of-22), the lowest percentage by a Spartan opponent this season.
* Michigan State shot a season-best 48.3 percent from the field.
* After starting the same lineup for the season's first five games, Derrick Nix replaced Adreian Payne in MSU's starting five.
* MSU out-rebounded Eastern Michigan by a narrow 21-19 margin in the first half, but controlled the glass by a 28-10 margin in the second half.
* MSU held a 24-4 edge in second-chance points for the game.
* MSU dominated points in the paint by a 46-16 margin.
MSU Basketball Notes
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 39.9 percent of the scoring and 43.3 percent of the minutes. 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 for MSU. As another point of comparison, Draymond Green has more career points at MSU (992) than all of his teammates combined (936).
Becoming A Point Guard
Keith Appling has been asked to make the transition from the wing to point guard for Michigan State this season. As the season progresses, Appling seems more at home in his new position. In his most recent game, Appling dished out a career-best five assists and committed zero turnovers. While he did not have an assist in the first two games of the season, he's averaging 3.5 assists in his last four games with a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Four different Spartans have led Michigan State in scoring through the first six games of the season. Draymond Green (three times), Keith Appling, Branden Dawson and Austin Thornton have each paced MSU. Derrick Nix, Adreian Payne, Travis Trice and Brandon Wood also have scored in double figures at least once this season, making eight different players to score 10 or more in a game.
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 six opponents by a +11.2 margin, including three by 15 or more, ranking second in the Big Ten and ninth in the nation. 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 422 of 550 opponents (.767), posting a 332-90 (.787) mark in those games.
Getting To The Foul Line
The Spartans have done an excellent job getting to the foul line in the last three games, averaging 32.3 attempts. MSU, however, has struggled to make the most of those opportunities, hitting just 62.9 percent from the foul line. On the season, MSU is averaging 24.0 free throw attempts and shooting 63.9 percent.
MSU In November
Michigan State has an all-time record of 94-28 in games played in the month of November. This includes a 66-3 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 44-0 all-time at home in November.
What A Difference A Year Makes
Through the first six games of the season, Derrick Nix is averaging 5.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 17.3 minutes per contest. Following his 11-point effort in 23 minutes vs. Milwaukee, Coach Tom Izzo called him one of his most reliable players. That's a contrast to last season when Nix averaged just 0.7 points and 2.0 rebounds, playing in just three of the team's first six games. Last year during the Thanksgiving week, Nix did not accompany the team to the Maui Invitational.
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. 27), 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 (139), Kentucky (137) and Duke (135).
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 On Awards Lists
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. He's also one of 30 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
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 had never played a minute for Michigan State prior to this season, 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. This year, Wood's started all six games for MSU, ranking third on the team in scoring at 8.5 ppg.
In The Rankings
Six different Spartan opponents are ranked in at least one of the two polls, including Ohio State (1 AP/1 USA Today), Duke (3/4), North Carolina (5/5), Wisconsin (9/7), Michigan (14/15) and Gonzaga (19/18). MSU is receiving votes in both polls.
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.
Big Ten/ACC Challenge Notes
This is the 13th season of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Michigan State is 5-6 in the challenge and had its 2001 game against Virginia in Richmond cancelled due to unplayable wet floor conditions. The Big Ten has won the challenge the last two seasons.
Dec. 1, 1999 - MSU 86 - North Carolina 76 - Chapel Hill, N.C.
Morris Peterson scores 31 points to hand the Tar Heels their first loss in a home opener since 1928. All-American Mateen Cleaves missed the game with a stress fracture in his foot.
Nov. 29, 2000 - MSU 77 - North Carolina 64 - East Lansing, Mich.
Jason Richardson led MSU with 16 points and Charlie Bell tallied 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while holding UNC All-American Joseph Forte 11 points below his scoring average.
Nov. 28, 2001 - MSU vs. Virginia (Cancelled) - Richmond, Va.
The game was halted at the 15:04 mark of the second half due to unplayable floor conditions as unseasonably warm temperatures caused a steady supply of moisture to collect on the court laid over a sheet of ice used by a minor league hockey team.
Dec. 4, 2002 - MSU 82 - Virginia 75 - East Lansing, Mich.
Michigan State used a 17-0 first-half run to take control of the contest, as Chris Hill led four Spartans in double figures with 22 points.
Dec. 3, 2003 - Duke 72 - MSU 50 - East Lansing, Mich.
Duke out-shot MSU, 59.2%-40.0%, from the field and the Spartans committed 20 turnovers, including 17 in the first half.
Nov. 30, 2004 - Duke 81 - MSU 74 - Durham, N.C.
J.J. Redick and Daniel Ewing each scored 29 points for Duke, including a combined 35 in the first half. MSU pulled within a single point in the final three minutes, but could not overcome shooting 9-of-18 at the foul line in the second half.
Nov. 30, 2005 - MSU 88 - Georgia Tech 86 - East Lansing, Mich.
Paul Davis scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half, but Georgia Tech hit five 3-pointers in the final 1:26 and nearly rallied from a 10-point deficit. Shannon Brown also scored 22 for MSU.
Nov. 29, 2006 - Boston College 65 - MSU 58 - Boston, Mass.
Boston College turned 17 offensive rebounds into 21 second-chance points and held off a late Spartan run to take the victory.
Nov. 28, 2007 - MSU 81 - North Carolina State 58 - East Lansing, Mich.
Goran Suton's 16-point, 12-rebound double-double led the Spartans, as Michigan State jumped to a 41-19 halftime lead and cruised to victory.
Dec. 3, 2008 - North Carolina 98 - MSU 63 - Detroit, Mich.
North Carolina turned 22 MSU turnovers into 27 points and the Spartans shot just 20 percent in the second half, including connecting on just 1-of-14 shots from 3-point range. Raymar Morgan scored 21 to lead MSU.
Dec. 1, 2009 - North Carolina 89 - MSU 82 - Chapel Hill, N.C.
North Carolina led by as many as 19 points in the second half, but MSU battled back to within six points and possession of the ball with 90 seconds left. The Spartans, however, were hampered by poor shooting as MSU shot just 2-of-20 from 3-point range. UNC out-shot MSU, 57.9%-43.0%.
Dec. 1, 2010 - Duke 84 - MSU 79 - Durham, N.C.
Freshman Kyrie Irving scored 31 points to lead Duke past MSU. The Spartans shot 49.2 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from 3-point range, but couldn't overcome 20 turnovers, resulting in 28 Blue Devil points. MSU almost stole a victory thanks in part to 16 offensive rebounds, resulting in 18 second-chance points.
The Book On Tom Izzo
In his 17th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 387-163 (.704), 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 (.732), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Lambert (.709) and Izzo (.703). 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.