Spartans and Longhorns Meet In Top-10 Showdown
Michigan State plays at Texas on Tuesday night.
Dec. 21, 2009
#9/9 Michigan State (9-2)
vs. #2/2 Texas (10-0)
December 22, 2009
7 p.m. EST
Frank Erwin Center
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 - Dave O'Brien (Play by Play), Jay Bilas (Color)
The Opening Tip
Michigan State travels to No. 2 Texas for its fifth game away from home this season, including its third on an opponent's home court. The Spartans and Longhorns are meeting for the fourth-straight season and the sixth time in the Izzo-Barnes era, although this will be the first game on a campus site. It's been a competitive series, with each game being decided by single digits. MSU is back in Austin for the first time since capturing the Austin Regional at the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
The Starting Five
1. Success At Frank Erwin Center
Although Michigan State has never played Texas in Austin, it does have a history of success at the Frank Erwin Center. In 2005, Michigan State defeated Duke, 78-68, and Kentucky, 94-88 (2ot), in the Austin Regional of the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the fourth of five Final Fours under head coach Tom Izzo. MSU became the first team in NCAA Tournament history to defeat Kentucky and Duke in the same tournament.
2. 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 11 of the last 13 years. In the Tom Izzo era, MSU has out-rebounded 379 of 484 opponents (.783), posting a 301-78 (.794) mark in those games. This season, MSU has out-rebounded its opponents by a margin of +11.2, ranking fifth in the nation (as of Dec. 14), bettering 10 of 11 teams and tying UNC on the glass.
3. 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 38.2 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 29.9 percent shooting behind the arc, holding five of 10 opponents to 25 percent or lower. The Spartans have held four straight opponents to 60 points or fewer, including three straight in the 50s.
4. Offensive Balance
Through 11 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 16.1 points per game, followed by Draymond Green (10.9 ppg), Raymar Morgan (10.8 ppg), Chris Allen (10.2 ppg) and Durrell Summers (10.2 ppg). MSU has had four or more players score in double figures in seven of the 11 different games, as eight different players have scored 10 or more points at least once this season, and six different players have led the team in scoring in a single game. Kalin Lucas has scored in double figures in all 10 games, and 22 straight dating back to last season.
5. Attacking The Offensive Glass
Michigan State is averaging 14.9 offensive rebounds per contest, leading to 17.9 second chance points per game. The Spartans are grabbing 43.2 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 in games against Wofford and The Citadel. MSU has totaled 18 or more offensive rebounds in three of the team's 11 games. The Spartans are paced in offensive rebounds by Delvon Roe with 2.9 per contest.
MSU vs. Texas Notes
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Texas, 3-2. All five games have been played on a neutral court, with the Spartans winning the last three contests. Every game in the series has been decided by nine points or less with MSU winning the last three by six points or less.
Rick Barnes (Lenoir-Rhyne, '77) is 482-239 overall in his 23nd season as a collegiate head coach, including 280-105 in 12 seasons at Texas. His coaching career also includes stints at George Mason, Providence, Clemson and Texas. Along the way he has guided his teams to a total of 17 NCAA and three NIT appearances.
The Last Meeting
No. 19 Michigan State defeated No. 5 Texas, 67-63, on Dec. 20, 2008, at the Toyota Center in Houston. The Longhorns held a seven-point lead midway through the first half, but MSU cut the deficit to 34-32 at halftime. With MSU trailing 61-57, Durrell Summers hit a 3-pointer. After a missed three by A.J. Abrams, Summers missed a layup in transition, but got his own rebound and kicked the ball out to Kalin Lucas for a free-throw line jumper, giving MSU a 62-61 lead with 3:03 left. Two and a half minutes later, Summers knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner, giving MSU a 65-63 lead. MSU was out-rebounded, 24-17, in the first half, but out-rebounded UT, 17-13, in the second. Goran Suton led MSU with 18 points off the bench. MSU's defense held Abrams to eight points on 3-of-10 shooting, nearly 13 points below his average. Gary Johnson led the Longhorns with 20 points.
Morgan Against The Longhorns
The play of Raymar Morgan is a large reason the Spartans have won their last three games against Texas. In three games, Morgan is averaging 14.7 points and 4.3 rebounds. As a freshman, he scored 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, adding five rebounds. As a sophomore, he connected on 6-of-11 from the field and 6-of-8 at the foul line, while also recording four assists, three rebounds, two steals and a career-best three blocks. Last year, he scored just eight points, but hit all three field goals, and added five rebounds and four assists, including the helper on Durrell Summers' game-winning 3-pointer.
Texas has limited its first 10 opponents to an average of 57.4 points per game on a combined 33.5 percent FG shooting ... Four Longhorns are averaging double figures in scoring, while nine active players are averaging at least 11.6 minutes per game ... Texas boasts a +11.1 rebounding margin ... Senior Damion James is averaging a double-double, leading UT in scoring (16.4 ppg) and rebounding (10.6 rpg) ... Freshmen guards J'Covan Brown (13.1 ppg) and Avery Bradley (11.9) are among the four Longhorns scoring in double figures.
Game 11 Recap - MSU 80 - IPFW 58
* With 14 points, Raymar Morgan moved into 20th place on MSU's all-time scoring chart.
* Michigan State coverted 21 IPFW turnovers into 24 points.
* The Spartan defense held IPFW to 31.1 percent shooting, a season low for an MSU opponent, holding the Mastodons to just 28.6 percent shooting in the second half.
* The win was Tom Izzo's 200th victory at the Breslin Center in 224 games.
* IPFW out-rebounded Michigan State, 22-18, in the first half, but the Spartans held a 22-12 advantage on the glass in the second half.
* Delvon Roe tied for the team lead with 14 points, marking the sixth different Spartan to lead the team in scoring this season.
* Michigan State recorded 22 assists on 28 baskets.
MSU Basketball Notes
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 eight of 11 games. Through 11 games, he is averaging a team-best 8.4 boards per game. He's recorded double-figure rebounds in four games, and trails only Korie Lucious and Kalin Lucas with his 31 assists. Further demonstrating his versatility, he ranks first in steals (16), second in scoring (10.9 ppg), blocks (8) and field-goal percentage (.605). He's recorded three double-doubles on the season.
Lucas On Target
Kalin Lucas has elevated his shooting accuracy as a junior. Having entered the season with a career field-goal percentage of .410, Lucas is shooting .504 from the field this year. He is one of eight Spartans to connect on better than 50 percent of their shots. As a team, MSU is shooting .506 from the floor, ranking second in the Big Ten and 11th in the nation (as of Dec. 14).
Lending A Helping Hand
According to the most recent NCAA statistics (as of Dec. 14), Michigan State ranks fifth in the nation in assists. With a current average of 19.7 assists per game, the Spartans have recorded an assist on 63.3 percent of their baskets.
At least one Spartan has recorded a double-double in eight of MSU's 11 games, as five different Spartans have posted a double-double. Draymond Green (vs. FGCU, 11 pts., 10 reb.; vs. Florida, 15 pts., 11 reb.; vs. Oakland, 19 pts., 12 reb.) leads the way with three, while Delvon Roe (vs. Toledo, 10 pts., 11 reb.; vs. Valparaiso, 10 pts., 17 reb.) and Raymar Morgan (vs. Wofford, 19 pts., 11 reb.; vs. The Citadel, 11 pts., 10 reb.) each have two. Derrick Nix (vs. FGCU, 11 pts., 14 reb.) and Durrell Summers (vs. Gonzaga, 21 pts., 11 reb.) each have tallied one.
Raymar On The Mark
Over the last six games, Raymar Morgan is averaging 13.8 points and shooting 63.6 percent from the floor. Among his better efforts, Morgan scored 17 points vs. UMass, hitting 8-of-10 shots, and 18 points at North Carolina, connecting on 7-of-10 shots. Versus Wofford, he tallied 19 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season, and followed with a second straight double-double vs. The Citadel (11 pts., 10 reb.).
Another Tough Schedule
Although the season is just 11 games old, Michigan State has already played three teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. The Spartans defeated No. 25 Gonzaga and lost to No. 18 Florida and No. 10 North Carolina.
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 52.7 percent over the last eight games, including 37.3 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 34th in MSU history with 1,105 points, standing four behind Al Ferrari (1,109 points) and 31 behind Pete Gent (1,146 points). Lucas has scored in double figures in 22 straight games, dating back to last season. His teammate, Raymar Morgan, currently ranks 20th in MSU history with 1,298 points. He needs 80 points to pass Julius McCoy (1,377 points) and move into 20th 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 ranks second on the team with 4.4 assists per game and his 3.20 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks tied for second in 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 1.71 (24 assists, 14 turnovers) this season.
Life Away From Home
The Texas game marks Michigan State's fifth game away from East Lansing this season, including the third on an opponent's home court. 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 2-2 away from Breslin, including 1-1 on an opponent's home court.
Home Sweet Home
During Tom Izzo's career as head coach, the Spartans are 200-24 (.893) at home, including 177-15 (.922) over the last 13 years (1997-98 to present). MSU has defeated 46 consecutive non-conference opponents at the Breslin Center, dating back to a Dec. 3, 2003, loss to Duke.
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."
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 8.3 minutes or more, including seven at 20.7 minutes or more. Kalin Lucas leads Michigan State with 29.5 minutes per contest after averaging a team-best 31.9 minutes per game last season. The Spartans have also used eight different starting lineups through the first 11 games, as nine different Spartans have started a game. Lucas is the only player to start all 11 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 11 games, the trio is averaging a combined 36.5 points (Lucas-16.1, Allen-10.2, Summers-10.2). Korie Lucious adds 5.9 points off the bench.
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 345-139 (.713), 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 Izzo (.713), Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712) 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.