Dec. 3, 2010
The Opening Tip
Michigan State is back at home to host Bowling Green. The Spartans look to remain perfect at Breslin Center this season, with their 51st straight home win over a non-conference opponent. The game features two versatile forwards as Scott Thomas leads the Falcons in scoring, rebounds and assists, while Draymond Green is among the Spartans' top three in all three statistics.
The Starting Five
1. Spartan Depth
In 2009-10, seven Spartans averaged more than 20 minutes per game, while nine averaged 7.2 minutes per contest. This season, 10 different Spartans have averaged 8.0 minutes or more, while nine have averaged 9.9 or more. MSU's bench is out-scoring opponents' reserves by 11.9 points per game (26.6 ppg-14.7 ppg), out-scoring the opponents' bench in all seven games this season.
2. Home Sweet Home
During Tom Izzo's career as head coach, the Spartans are 211-26 (.890) at home, including 188-17 (.917) over the last 14 years. MSU has defeated 50 consecutive non-conference opponents at the Breslin Center, dating back to a Dec. 3, 2003, loss to Duke.
3. He's Back
Kalin Lucas tore his left Achilles in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. He then put off surgery for a week to attend the Midwest Regional, cheering on his teammates to the Final Four. Since then, he spent the summer rehabbing daily for hours on end. Lucas has started the season on a strong note, averaging a team-best 17.0 points and 30.0 minutes. He is the current Big Ten Player of the Week (Nov. 29), averaging 20.5 points over four games last week. Most recently, he played 36 minutes at Duke, the most he's played since the injury.
4. MSU's Mr. Everything
Junior Draymond Green is one of the nation's most versatile players. He leads the team in rebounding (9.0 rpg), steals (2.3 spg), blocks (2.0 bpg) and 3-point field-goal percentage (.524), while ranking second in assists (3.7 apg), and third in field-goal percentage (.574) and scoring (14.3). Green ranks third in the Big Ten in rebounding and steals, while ranking fourth in 3-point field-goal percentage and blocks, seventh in field-goal percentage and tied for 12th in assists. Green has stated a goal of trying to become just the third player in school history to record a triple-double (Earvin Johnson, Charlie Bell). Green is MSU's active leader with 11 double-doubles in his career.
5. Spartans From Distance
Michigan State is shooting a Big Ten-best .432 from 3-point range this season. The Spartans' best 3-point percentage under Tom Izzo is .401, established by the 2003-04 squad. Six different Spartans have knocked down three or more 3-pointers, and four have hit 11 or more, led by Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers, with 12 each. Draymond Green is shooting a team-best .524 from 3-point range. As a team, MSU ranks tied for second in the Big Ten with 7.71 3-pointers per game, after finishing last in the conference last season (5.1).
MSU vs. Bowling Green Notes
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Bowling Green, 8-3, including a 5-1 advantage in games played in East Lansing. The two teams last met in East Lansing on Dec. 28, 1993, with MSU claiming a 62-49 victory. Tom Izzo is 1-0 in his career against Bowling Green.
Louis Orr (Syracuse, '80) is 147-133 in his 10th season as a collegiate head coach, including 47-53 in his fourth season at Bowling Green. His coaching career also includes stops at Siena (2000-01) and Seton Hall (2001-06). He led the Pirates to two NCAA Tournament appearances, and earned Big East Coach of the Year honors in 2003. In 2009, he earned MAC Coach of the Year honors after leading the Falcons to a share of the regular-season title. This will be Orr's second time leading a team into the Breslin Center, as his Seton Hall squad fell to MSU, 68-64, during the 2001-02 season.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Bowling Green, 85-69, on Dec. 27, 2000, at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Spartans were ranked No. 1 in the country and the win gave them a 10-0 record, equalling the best start in school history. MSU led by just four points, 47-43, with 15:19 left in the second half. Charlie Bell then scored six straight points, and eventually the Spartan advantage grew to 21. Michigan State dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Falcons, 50-22, including a 23-4 advantage on the offensive glass. Jason Richardson led all scorers with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Bell contributed 18 points and five assists to the Spartans.
Although the Falcons are shooting just .369 from the field, Bowling Green has shot 40 percent or better in each of the last two games ... Junior forward Scott Thomas is tied for the team lead in scoring and leads the Falcons in both rebounding and assists ... The game at Michigan State marks Bowling Green's fifth game in the state of Michigan in the Falcons' first eight contests of the season ... Point guard Joe Jakubowski entered the season with 85 starts, the same number as Kalin Lucas, good for 10th most in the country among point guards ... Through the first seven games of the season, Bowling Green has used six different starting lineups, as nine different players have at least one start.
Gm. 7 Notes Duke 84 - Michigan State 79
* Duke's 84 points marked the most by a Spartan opponent this season.
* MSU committed 12 of its 20 turnovers in the first half, leading to 22 Blue Devil first-half points. For the game, Duke held a 28-14 advantage in points off turnovers.
* Michigan State did not commit a turnover in the game's final 10:42.
* Led by Korie Lucious' career-high 20 points, Michigan State held a 25-9 advantage in bench points.
* Lucious dished out a team season-high eight assists.
* Draymond Green returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench for three straight games.
* Michigan State grabbed a season-high 16 offensive rebounds, converting them into 18 second-chance points, also a season high.
MSU Basketball Notes
Sherman Can't Miss
Garrick Sherman is shooting a remarkable .733 from the field this season, leading the Big Ten in field-goal percentage. Since opening the season with a 3-of-6 effort, Sherman has hit 19 of his last 24. At one point, he connected on 10 straight shots this season.
Another Strong Non-Conference Schedule
Michigan State will be tested early and often during its 2010-11 non-conference schedule. Four opponents (Duke, Syracuse, Texas, Washington) appeared in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. All four of those squads also appear in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25.
Big Ten Even Stronger
While MSU's non-conference slate is rough, the Big Ten schedule is even tougher, as the conference will feature its strongest lineup in decades. Five different league schools (Michigan State, Illinois, Ohio State, Purdue and Minnesota) are ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25, while Northwestern and Wisconsin received votes.
Big Ten Favorites
Michigan State was selected as the preseason conference favorite for the 2010-11 season, as voted on by a panel of media. Ohio State and Purdue were picked to finish second and third, respectively. 2009 Big Ten Player of the Year Kalin Lucas was tabbed as Preseason Player of the Year.
In The Rankings
Michigan State is currently ranked No. 6 in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll Top 25. Eight different Spartan opponents are ranked in at least one of the two polls, including Duke (1 AP/1 USA Today), Ohio State (2/2), Syracuse (8/7), Minnesota (15/13), Texas (19/20), Illinois (20/21), Purdue (22/18) and Washington (23/22).
Moving Up The Scoring Chart
Kalin Lucas ranks 15th in MSU career scoring with 1,537 career points. The Spartan senior needs four points to pass Chris Hill for 14th place (1,540 points), five to pass Mateen Cleaves for 13th place (1,541 points) and 18 to pass Maurice Ager (1,554 points) for 12th place in MSU history.
Summers Reaches 1,000
Durrell Summers became the 41st player to top 1,000 career points with his 21-point effort vs. Tennessee Tech. With 1,021 points for his career, he needs eight to pass Kevin Smith (1,028 points) for 40th in MSU history.
Dealing With Injury
One of the early storylines for the 2010-11 Spartans will be how they deal with injuries and how different players battle back from injury. Many different players missed significant time in the offseason due to injury. Most notably, Kalin Lucas is attempting to come back from an Achilles injury suffered in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament against Maryland. Shortly after the season concluded in April, Delvon Roe had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. Garrick Sherman had screws removed from his foot, left over from a high school injury. Freshman center Adreian Payne separated his shoulder late in his high school senior season and missed several months. Fellow freshman Russell Byrd suffered a broken foot in May, and when the foot never fully healed, he underwent a second surgery in early October. Austin Thornton suffered a back injury that kept him out of action for several weeks. Even Durrell Summers suffered a mild knee sprain and missed an opportunity to work with the USA Basketball Select Team. Korie Lucious missed a couple weeks in early October after surgery to fix a torn meniscus.
Acting The Part
November 16 proved to be an especially busy day for Delvon Roe. At 7:30 p.m., the theatre major played the role of "Charles the Wrestler" in William Shakespeare's "As You Like It" put on by the MSU Department of Theatre at the Wharton Center. At 10 p.m., he resumed his normal role of starting power forward for the Spartans, playing one of his best games at MSU, recording 15 points, five rebounds and six assists. Roe also performed on stage on Nov. 17 and 18 prior to leaving for Maui. Feeling his healthiest since before injuring his knee in the first game of his senior year of high school, Roe is averaging 6.2 points and 5.7 rebounds on the young season. Roe's increased movement has also benefited him on the defensive end, where he's able to play some on the perimeter. For example, he helped hold Duke All-American Kyle Singler to 5-of-14 shooting.
It's All About Boardwork
Michigan State has led the nation in rebounding margin in each of the last two seasons, posting a +9.3 margin in 2009 and a +8.6 margin in 2010. The Spartans have led the nation in rebounding margin in four of the last 11 years. MSU has led the Big Ten in rebounding margin in 11 of the last 13 years. In the Tom Izzo era, MSU has out-rebounded 401 of 517 opponents (.776), posting a 318-83 (.793) mark in those games. This year, MSU has out-rebounded just three of six opponents, posting a +2.0 margin. Recently, however, the rebounding effort has been better, as MSU has out-rebounded each of its last three opponents by a +5 margin.
Quite A Class Already
Although they have played just three-plus seasons, Spartan seniors Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers and Mike Kebler have won 91 games in their careers. That total already ranks as the eighth winningest class in school history. The 2008 class ranks seventh with 98 wins. If the Spartans win 29 games this season, they will equal the 2001 class (115) as the most successful group in school history.
Spartans On Target
Michigan State has opened the season shooting the ball well. The Spartans are shooting .495 from the field, including .432 from 3-point range (54-of-125). The exception is at the foul line, where MSU is shooting .637. Defensively, MSU is holding opponents to a .402 field-goal percentage, including .364 from behind the arc.
Seniors Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers have been named preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden and Naismith Awards. In addition, Lucas earned a spot on Dick Vitale's Preseason All-Rolls Royce Second Team and was named the nation's No. 1 floor leader by Athlon Sports College Basketball. He was also named preseason first-team All-Big Ten by Lindy's and Athlon Sports College Basketball. Summers was named a Second-Team Preseason All-American by Sporting News.
An Experienced Group
Michigan State returns nine letterwinners and three starters from last year's Big Ten Championship and Final Four squad. The Spartans return three of their top four scorers and seven of their top nine. The Spartans return 71.7 percent of their scoring, 72.9 percent of their rebounding and 76.9 percent of their assists. Entering the season, Michigan State's returning roster had combined to play in a Big Ten-best 615 contests, 31 more than Northwestern. MSU's roster had combined for 221 starts, which was just the seventh-highest total in the league. MSU's combined minutes played total of 10,255 ranked fifth in the conference.
Michigan State's roster features four freshmen: Keith Appling, Russell Byrd, Alex Gauna and Adreian Payne. Appling was a high school teammate of Derrick Nix at Pershing High School, capturing the Class A state title in 2009. Individually, he was a 2010 McDonald's All-American and winner of the 2010 Hal Schram Mr. Basketball Award. Byrd is an outstanding perimeter shooter from Fort Wayne, Ind., who averaged 23.2 points and 10.1 rebounds as a senior. However, he broke his foot in May, and when it did not heal fully, he underwent a second surgery in October. Gauna is a skilled big man from Eaton Rapids, Mich. Gauna was a 2010 Class B All-State honoree after averaging 21.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks as a senior. Payne led Jefferson Township High School to the 2010 Ohio Division IV state championship, averaging 15.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.0 blocked shots as a senior. An extremely talented and athletic forward, Payne was one of the top 25 players in America as a senior.
Spartans In The NBA
Five former Spartans are currently on NBA rosters, including Charlie Bell (Golden State Warriors), Shannon Brown (Los Angeles Lakers), Morris Peterson (Oklahoma City Thunder), Zach Randolph (Memphis Grizzlies) and Jason Richardson (Phoenix Suns). Brown is a key reserve guard for the Lakers and has been a major contributor on back-to-back NBA Championship squads. Randolph was selected as a reserve for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. Richardson has averaged more than 18 points per game over the course of his 10-year career.
The Book On Tom Izzo
In his 16th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 369-148 (.714), and 174-76 (.696) 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 15 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 .696 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks second all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700) and ahead of Purdue's Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Izzo (.714), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712) and Lambert (.709). With 174 conference victories, Izzo ranks tied for seventh all-time.
Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 15 seasons, Tom Izzo won 364 games, ranking sevent in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 15 years.
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). 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.