Dec. 2, 2011
The Opening Tip
One year after meeting Nebraska Omaha in an exhibition contest, the Spartans host the Mavericks in a regular-season game as UNO is reclassifying as a Division I institution. The Spartans are coming off an impressive 16-point victory over Florida State and bring a five-game win streak into Sunday's contest. The Mavericks face Northern Illinois and former MSU assistant on Saturday afternoon, before completing the trip to East Lansing.
Student Ticket Update
With a large number of Izzone members traveling to the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis to cheer on the Spartan football team, the Izzone is inviting all current MSU students to attend Sunday's men's basketball game vs. Nebraska Omaha (Dec. 4 - 2 p.m.) for free. All current Izzone members (both upper and lower bowl) will sit in the lower bowl (while tickets last) and should enter through Gate A. All other students must enter through Gate C and will need to show valid student ID. Breslin Center gates open at 12:30 p.m.
The Starting Five
1. Spartans Ride Five-Game Winning Streak
Michigan State is riding a five-game winning streak. Last year, MSU's longest winning streak was just three games to open the season. This is MSU's longest win streak since winning 10 straight from Dec 2009-Jan 2010.
2. 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 seven opponents by a +9.7 margin, including three by 15 or more, ranking second in the Big Ten and ninth in the nation (through Nov. 27). 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 423 of 551 opponents (.768), posting a 333-90 (.787) mark in those games.
3. Spartan Double-Doubles
Three different Spartans have recorded a double-double this season. Draymond Green leads the way with three double-doubles in the season's first seven games. Adreian Payne posted a double-double vs. Texas Southern and Brandon Wood recorded one vs. Florida State.
4. Strong Spartan Defense
Michigan State's defensive effort has been impressive in the first month of the season. The Spartans are allowing just 53.3 points (ranking 11th in the nation through Nov. 27) on .360 shooting, including .259 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 second in the Big Ten in scoring defense, second in field-goal percentage defense and second in 3-point field-goal percentage defense. During MSU's five-game win streak, the Spartans are allowing just 46.4 points on .328 shooting, including .208 from 3-point range.
5. The 1,000-Point Club
With a second-half tip-in vs. Florida State, Draymond Green became the 42nd player in MSU history to reach the 1,000 point mark for his career. With 1,008 points, he needs 21 to move past Kevin Smith (1,028 points) into 41st place in MSU history.
MSU vs. UNO Notes
This is the first official meeting between Michigan State and Nebraska Omaha. The two teams met last season in an exhibition contest, with MSU claiming a 102-72 victory behind 25 points from Kalin Lucas, 16 points from Draymond Green and 15 from Keith Appling. Mitch Albers led UNO with 14 points.
Derrin Hansen (Nebraska Wesleyan, '91) is 112-73 in his seventh season as a collegiate head coach, all at Nebraska Omaha. Prior to becoming head coach, Hansen was an assistant for seven years at UNO. He already has the second-most victories of any coach in program history. He has coached or assisted teams that have earned five trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament, while also garnering two regular-season league titles and three tournament crowns.
Nebraska Omaha is in its first year as a reclassifying Division I school in 2011-12. The Mavericks will play 16 Division I games, three Division II opponents and nine NAIA opponents. UNO will join the Summit League in 2012-13 ... Senior guard Mitch Albers leads the Mavericks at 19.4 ppg, having earned all-conference honors last season; Albers already ranks fifth in UNO career scoring at 1,394 points ... Through games of Nov. 30, UNO ranked 18th nationally with 17.1 assists per game ... UNO is shooting .477 from the field, but is allowing opponents to shoot .409 from 3-point range.
Gm. 7 Recap Michigan State 65 - Florida State 49
Michigan State used a strong defensive effort and great toughness to defeat Florida State, 65-49. Florida State made the first push, jumping out to a 9-4 lead, but Michigan State answered with seven straight points. FSU led 18-17 when MSU went on a 13-0 run, including back-to-back 3-pointers from Travis Trice and Keith Appling and capped by a stunning transition layup from Adreian Payne on a three-point play. But Florida State scored eight unanswered points in the final 3:21 of the half and trailed by just four at the break, 30-26. Brandon Wood scored 10 first half points, while FSU's Bernard James had 11 points and nine rebounds in the half, but would finish with just 13 points and 13 boards.
MSU made a quick run to start the second half, jumping up 38-30. The Spartans then had the ball in transition, but when an alley-oop failed, Florida State got an uncontested 3-pointer, sparking a 12-1 run to take a 40-39 lead with 11:52 left. Wood keyed the MSU comeback, getting a steal and fast-break dunk and assisting on a Draymond Green 3-pointer to ignite a 17-4 run that put the game out of reach. Florida State would close the game scoring just nine points in the game's final 11:51, and shot just 38.9 percent for the game, including 20.0 percent from 3-point range. Appling scored 17 of his career-high 24 points in the second half, including 13 in the final 9:11. Wood finished with 16 points, his personal best as a Spartan, as well as a team-best 10 rebounds and five assists. Draymond Green scored 16 points, becoming the 42nd player in MSU history to reach 1,000 points in his career.
MSU vs. Florida State Notes
* Keith Appling established a new career high with 24 points and equaled his career best with seven rebounds.
* Brandon Wood recorded his second career double-double with 16 points (personal best as a Spartan) and a team-high 10 rebounds, adding a team-best five assists.
* With a second-half tip-in, Draymond Green became the 42nd player in MSU history to score 1,000 career points. Green also moved into the MSU career Top 10 in rebounding.
* The trio of Appling, Green and Wood out-scored Florida State, 56-49.
* Michigan State committed a season-low 13 turnovers, and out-scored Florida State,18-8, in points off turnovers.
* Michigan State shot season-high percentages from the foul line (.750) and the 3-point arc (.421).
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 38.8 percent of the scoring and 43.0 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 (1,008) than all of his teammates combined (985).
Climbing The Rebounding Charts
With 778 career rebounds, Draymond Green ranks 10th in MSU history, 25 behind Lindsay Hairston (803) in ninth place. 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 one postseason game, Green would need to average 9.03 rebounds to reach 1,000 for his career.
Four different Spartans have led Michigan State in scoring through the first seven games of the season. Draymond Green (three times), Keith Appling (twice), 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.
The Turnover Story
One area of concern for the Spartans has been the turnovers through the first seven games. MSU is committing 16.4 per game, while forcing 17.4 by its opponents. In its most recent game, MSU committed a season-low 13 turnovers against a very good Florida State defense. The Spartans, however, are averaging 17.9 points per game off opponent turnovers, compared to 12.9 points by opponents off MSU turnovers. The Spartans are 4-0 when committing fewer turnovers than their opponent, but 1-2 when they have more.
In The Paint
Michigan State has out-scored its opponents in the paint by an average of 32.3-20.9, out-scoring five of its seven 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.
Getting To The Foul Line
The Spartans have done an excellent job getting to the foul line in the last four games, averaging 29.3 attempts. MSU, however, has struggled to make the most of those opportunities, hitting just 65.0 percent from the foul line. On the season, MSU is averaging 23.4 free throw attempts and shooting 65.2 percent. In their most recent game, the Spartans connected on 15-of-20 attempts for a season-high 75.0 percent.
What A Difference A Year Makes
Through the first seven games of the season, Derrick Nix is averaging 5.1 points, 3.4 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 0.5 points and 2.0 rebounds, playing in just four of the team's first seven games, as he 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 Dec. 1), 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 (144), Connecticut (139), Kentucky (137) and Duke (136).
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 seven games for MSU, ranking third on the team in scoring at 9.6 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.
The Book On Tom Izzo
In his 17th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 388-163 (.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 (.729), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Lambert (.709) and Izzo (.704). 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.