Spartans Back On The Road
Michigan State plays at The Citadel on Monday night.
Dec. 6, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Michigan State (6-2)
vs. The Citadel (6-4)
December 7, 2009
7 p.m. EST
McAlister Field 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: ESPNU - Mike Gleason (Play by Play), Mark Gottfried (Color)
The Opening Tip
Michigan State hits the road for the fourth time in the last five games, traveling to The Citadel for a Monday night contest. The Spartans are also playing their second straight game against a team from the Southern Conference, having defeated Wofford, 72-60, on Friday night. This is the fifth game for MSU in the last 11 days, with four of the five away from East Lansing. This is the third meeting between the Spartans and the Bulldogs in the last four years.
The Starting Five
1. Willing To Play On The Road
Tom Izzo has always lived up to his "anyone, anywhere" scheduling motto. Not only have the Spartans played at places like Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina and UCLA, to name just a few, he's also taken his team to schools to which most power programs would not travel. Over the last five years, MSU has played five true road games against team from non-BCS conferences. In addition to this trip to The Citadel, MSU played at IPFW in 2008, at Bradley in 2007 and at Hawaii and Green Bay in 2005.
2. Raymar On The Mark
Over the last three games, Raymar Morgan has proven to be quite a force on the offensive end of the court, averaging 18.0 points and shooting 71.0 percent from the floor. Against UMass, he scored 17 points, hitting 8-of-10 shots. At North Carolina, Morgan led MSU with 18 points, connecting on 7-of-10 shots. Most recently, he scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 5-of-5 from the line, adding 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
3. Attacking The Offensive Glass
Michigan State is averaging 16.0 offensive rebounds per contest, leading to 18.25 second chance points per game. The Spartans are grabbing 43.7 percent of their misses. Against Florida, MSU grabbed 60 percent of its misses, collecting 18 offensive boards, compared to just 12 defensive boards for the Gators. Michigan State also grabbed more offensive boards than its opponent had defensive boards against Wofford. MSU has totaled 18 or more offensive rebounds in three of the team's seven games. The Spartans are paced in offensive rebounds by Delvon Roe with 3.0 per contest.
4. Spartan Defense
One of Tom Izzo's early concerns about his team was the defense, having lost 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Travis Walton and outstanding post defender Goran Suton. For the most part, however, the Spartans have responded early, limiting opponents to 39.5 percent on the season, as only one opponent has shot better than 41.0 percent (North Carolina-57.9 percent). MSU has been equally stingy on its 3-point defense, holding teams to a Big Ten-best 27.4 percent shooting behind the arc, holding four of eight opponents below 23 percent.
5. Offensive Balance
Through eight games, Michigan State has proven it has several different offensive weapons as five Spartans currently average in double figures. Kalin Lucas paces the Spartan offense at 16.4 points per game, followed by Durrell Summers (12.1 ppg), Raymar Morgan (11.3 ppg), Chris Allen (11.1 ppg) and Draymond Green (10.8 ppg). MSU has had four or more players score in double figures in seven of the eight different games, as eight different players have scored 10 or more points at least once this season. Kalin Lucas has scored in double figures in all eight games, and 19 straight dating back to last season.
MSU vs. The Citadel Notes
Michigan State leads the all-time series with The Citadel, 2-0. The Spartans are 6-0 all-time against the Southern Conference, going 3-0 against Furman and 1-0 against Wofford in addition to the two wins over The Citadel.
Ed Conroy (The Citadel, '89) is in his fourth season at his alma mater, posting a 39-64 record. His coaching career includes a three-year stint as head coach at Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C., where he posted a 41-40 overall record, for a combined mark of 80-104. He also served as an assistant at Coastal Carolina, following two years as an assistant at Tennessee.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated The Citadel, 79-65, on Dec. 17, 2008, in East Lansing. The Spartans hit 57.1 percent of the their first half shots, and held The Citadel to 36.4 percent shooting in the half, but the Bulldogs hit 5-of-11 attempts from behind the arc and trailed by just eight at halftime. MSU held a double-figure lead for most of the second half. Raymar Morgan led MSU with 26 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 11-of-12 from the field and 4-of-5 from the foul line. The Citadel outscored MSU, 30-6, from 3-point range, but the Spartans outscored the Bulldogs, 23-9, from the foul line.
Junior guard Cameron Wills has scored in double figures in 14 straight games, while junior guard Zach Urbanus has scored 20 or more points in three straight games ... Urbanus ranks fifth in Bulldog history with 183 career 3-pointers, and is shooting a remarkable .507 from behind the arc this season ... Wells was named to the CollegeInsider.com Preseason Mid-Major All-America team and was the The Sporting News Preseason Southern Conference Player of the Year ... At 7-foot-0, Joe Wolfinger leads The Citadel in rebounding (6.9 rpg), but is also shooting .424 from 3-point range.
Game 8 Recap - MSU 72 - Wofford 60
* Raymar Morgan recorded his eighth career double-double and his first of the season, leading the Spartans in scoring (19) and rebounding (11). He becomes the fifth different Spartan to post a double-double this season.
* Delvon Roe recorded a career-high five blocks.
* Michigan State's plus-20 margin on the glass (43-23) tied a season high.
* MSU grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, compared to 12 defensive boards for Wofford.
* Kalin Lucas dished out a season-high nine assists.
* Spartan senior Isaiah Dahlman made his first start of the season and the first since starting eight games as a freshman. Isaiah's brother Noah led Wofford with 19 points.
MSU Basketball Notes
At least one Spartan has recorded a double-double in six of MSU's eight games, as five different Spartans have posted a double-double. Delvon Roe (vs. Toledo,10 pts., 11 reb.; vs. Valparaiso 10 pts., 17 reb.) and Draymond Green (vs. FGCU, 11 pts., 10 reb.; vs. Florida 15 pts., 11 reb.) each have two, while Raymar Morgan (vs. Wofford, 19 pts., 11 reb.), Derrick Nix (vs. FGCU, 11 pts., 14 reb.) and Durrell Summers (vs. Gonzaga, 21 pts., 11 reb.) have each tallied one.
Another Tough Schedule
Although the season is just eight games old, Michigan State has already played three teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. The Spartans defeated No. 17 Gonzaga and lost to No. 13 Florida and No. 10 North Carolina. The Tar Heels are the only other team currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 to have played three or more games against currently ranked opponents, as they have played four.
It's All About Boardwork
Last season, Michigan State led the nation in rebounding margin at +9.3, marking the third time in the last 10 years the Spartans have paced the nation. MSU has led the Big Ten in rebounding margin in 10 of the last 12 years. In the Tom Izzo era, MSU has out-rebounded 376 of 481 opponents (78.2 percent), posting a 298-78 (.793) mark in those games. This season, MSU has out-rebounded its opponents by a margin of +11.1, bettering seven of eight teams and tying North Carolina on the glass.
Sophomore Draymond Green is proving to be one of the most versatile players in the Big Ten and one of the conference's premier sixth men, coming off the bench in six of eight games. Through eight games, he is averaging a team-best 8.1 boards per game. He's recorded double-figure rebounds in three of eight games, and trails only Korie Lucious and Kalin Lucas with his 22 assists. Further demonstrating his versatility, he ranks fifth in scoring (10.8 ppg), second in steals (10) and second in blocks (7). He's recorded two double-doubles on the season.
MSU's All-Time Leader
With MSU's 106-68 win over UMass, Tom Izzo became the winningest coach in Michigan State history with his 341st career victory, passing his mentor Jud Heathcote. Izzo began working for Heathcote in the 1983-84 season, and was elevated to associate head coach in July 1990. On March 30, 1993, Izzo was named Heathcote's hand-picked successor following the 1994-95 season. Following the game, Izzo said "I do feel like, because Jud has been so instrumental on my behalf and got me the job, that I'll just look at it as we have 681 wins between us."
Finding Their Shooting Touch
After shooting .454 from the field in the first three games of the season, including .278 from 3-point range, the Spartans shot better in the next three contests, connecting on 55.6 percent of its shots, including 46.9 percent from 3-point range. Even including MSU's 43.0 percent effort (10.0 percent from 3-point range) at North Carolina, the Spartans are still shooting 52.3 percent over the last five games, including 36.9 percent from behind the arc.
Moving Up The Scoring Chart
With 20 points against Florida, Kalin Lucas became the 40th Spartan to record 1,000 career points. The Spartan junior ranks tied for 37th in MSU history with 1,059 points, standing equal with Earvin "Magic" Johnson (1,059 points), three behind Johnny Green (1,062 points) and 22 behind Goran Suton (1,081). Lucas has scored in double figures in 18 straight games, dating back to last season. His teammate, Raymar Morgan, currently ranks 22nd in MSU history with 1,269 points. He needs seven points to pass Quinton Brooks (1,275 points) and move into 21st place on MSU's all-time scoring list.
Taking Care of the Ball
Korie Lucious has posted impressive numbers in his role as a reserve point guard. He's averaging a team-best 4.9 assists per game and his 4.33 assist-to-turnover ratio leads the Big Ten. Last season, he averaged just 1.2 assists with a 1.12 assist-to-turnover ratio. Raymar Morgan has also improved his ball handling. Entering the season with a career 0.57 assist-to-turnover ratio, he has improved to 1.33 (16 assists, 12 turnovers) this season.
Life Away From Home
After playing its first four games at the Breslin Center, Michigan State is in a stretch where it plays four of five games away from home. Last season, MSU was 19-5 away from East Lansing, including 10-4 on a neutral court, while also establishing a school record with eight Big Ten road wins. This season, MSU is 1-2 away from Breslin.
Hall of Famers
Former Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote and Spartan All-American Earvin "Magic" Johnson were inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday night (Nov. 22) in Kansas City. In fact, following MSU's 90-60 win over Valparaiso on Sunday, Tom Izzo boarded a private plane to fly to Kansas City for the ceremony. Heathcote finished his 19-year coaching career as Michigan State's all-time winningest coach with 340 victories, capturing three Big Ten titles and the 1979 NCAA Championship. He coached seven All-Americans, 15 All-Big Ten honorees and 23 NBA Draft picks. Overall, he posted a 420-273 record in 24 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Johnson was a member of the 1979 NCAA Championship team and a two-time All-American. Despite playing just two seasons at MSU, he totaled 1,059 points and 491 assists. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. The event was taped by ESPNU and broadcast on Dec. 13 at 9 p.m.
Nine different Spartans are averaging 8.5 minutes or more, including seven at 20.1 minutes or more. Kalin Lucas leads Michigan State with 29.6 minutes per contest after averaging a team-best 31.9 minutes per game last season. The Spartans have also used six different starting lineups through the first eight games, as eight different Spartans have started a game. Lucas and Durrell Summers are the only players to start all eight games, although MSU has used the same lineup in three of the last four games. Last season, MSU used 14 different starting lineups, including nine in the first 12 games.
Center Derrick Nix had one of the top freshman debuts in Michigan State history. Nix's 14 rebounds set an MSU freshman debut record, besting the previous mark of 10 held by Matt Steigenga and Ben Tower. Nix (11 points, 14 rebounds) also became just the second freshman in MSU history to debut with a double-double, joining Steigenga (15 pts., 10 reb.). Nix is the 2009 Hal Schram Mr. Basketball honoree, having led Detroit Pershing to a Michigan Class A State Championship.
MSU's Three-Guard Attack
Michigan State features one of the best backcourts in the nation. In fact, Lindy's College Basketball Magazine ranked it the best. The foundation of the backcourt is the junior trio of Chris Allen, Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers, giving MSU one of the most athletic and offensively potent attacks in the country. Through eight games, the trio is averaging a combined 39.6 points (Lucas-16.4, Summers-12.1, Allen-11.1). Korie Lucious adds 5.8 points off the bench.
Home Sweet Home
During Tom Izzo's career as head coach, the Spartans are 198-24 (.892) at home, including 175-15 (.921) over the last 13 years (1997-98 to present). MSU has defeated 44 consecutive non-conference opponents at the Breslin Center, dating back to a Dec. 3, 2003, loss to Duke.
Big Ten Favorites
After winning the 2009 Big Ten regular-season title by four games, Michigan State was selected as the preseason conference favorite for the 2009-10 men's basketball season, as voted upon by a 24-member media panel. Purdue and Ohio State were chosen to finish second and third, respectively. Reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Kalin Lucas was tabbed as Preseason Player of the Year.
Experience At Many Positions
Michigan State returns seven of its top nine scorers from last year's Final Four squad, and five players that averaged 17.9 minutes or more per game last season. Eight current Spartans enter the season having started at least one game for Michigan State.
Not So Much At One
The position of concern for the Spartans will be at center. Michigan State must replace Goran Suton, Idong Ibok and Marquise Gray, three five-year players that appeared in 380 games (starting 162), playing a combined 5,808 minutes over the course of their careers. Their void must be filled by the trio of red-shirt junior Tom Herzog, and true freshmen Derrick Nix and Garrick Sherman. Herzog enters the season with 29 games of experience (starting 1), for a combined 100 minutes of action. The trio of Gray, Ibok and Suton combined for 13.9 points and 12.1 rebounds per contest.
Another Strong Non-Conference Schedule
Michigan State will be tested early and often during its 2009-10 non-conference schedule. The Spartans will take road trips to play at North Carolina and Texas. The last time MSU played two ranked non-conference teams on the road was 2003-04 (No. 6 Kansas, No. 17 Syracuse). In addition, MSU hosted Gonzaga and played Florida on a neutral court in the Legends Classic in Atlantic City.
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 the last decade or so. Six different league schools (Michigan State, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and Purdue) have been ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 this season. The last time that MSU played five different ranked schools during league play came during the 1999 season when the Spartans played six different ranked league opponents. In addition, all five members of the 2009 All-Big Ten First Team are back.
Junior Kalin Lucas and senior Raymar Morgan have been named preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award. In addition, Lucas earned a spot on Dick Vitale's Preseason All-Rolls Royce Team and was named the nation's best point guard by Lindy's College Basketball. He was also named preseason first-team All-Big Ten by Lindy's and Athlon Sports College Basketball. Morgan was named a fourth-team preseason All-American by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He also earned all-league accolades from Lindy's and Athlon. Delvon Roe earned all-league honors from Athlon, while Durrell Summers was recognized by Lindy's.
Honors For Spartan Backcourt
Lindy's College Basketball selected Michigan State as having the nation's best backcourt. Villanova, California, Kansas, Washington, Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Mississippi and Purdue round out the top 10.
Spartans In The NBA
Five former Spartans are currently on NBA rosters, including Charlie Bell (Milwaukee Bucks), Shannon Brown (Los Angeles Lakers), Morris Peterson (New Orleans Hornets), Zach Randolph (Memphis Grizzlies) and Jason Richardson (Phoenix Suns).
The Book On Tom Izzo
In his 14th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 342-139 (.711), and 160-72 (.690) 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 a 106-68 win over UMass for his 341st career victory. 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. He earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 1998 and 2009.
Among The Big Ten's Best
Tom Izzo's .690 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 just ahead of Purdue's Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Izzo (.711), and Lambert (.709). With 160 conference victories, Izzo ranks eighth all-time.
Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 14 seasons, Tom Izzo won 336 games, ranking seventh in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 14 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). Gregory is in his seventh 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 fifth 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 third season with Utah. Stan Joplin, an assistant during Izzo's first season, spent 12 seasons as head coach at Toledo.