Dec. 26, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
#11/18 Michigan State (8-2)
vs. Oakland (8-6)
December 27, 2008
5 p.m. EST
Auburn Hills, Mich.
Palace of Auburn Hills
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: FSN - Mario Impemba (Play by Play), Earl Cureton (Color), Trevor Thompson (Sidelines)
Fox Sports Net Clearances
Live: Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports Midwest (Non-St. Louis), Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Wisconsin, FSN Northwest, FSN Rocky Mountain, Fox Sports South (Non-Bobcats), Fox Sports Southwest (TX/LA/AR), Fox Sports West, Comcast Chicago
Delay: Comcast Mid Atlantic, Comcast New England
Complete Release in PDF Format
The Opening Tip
After a few days off for the holiday break, Michigan State returns to action against Oakland at the Palace of Auburn Hills, as the Spartans and Grizzlies meet for the eighth time in 11 years. Oakland is playing at the Palace for the second straight Saturday. This is the last game for the Spartans before opening Big Ten play with a pair of road games at Minnesota and Northwestern.
The Starting Five
2. MSU At The Palace
1. Morgan Closes In On 1,000
With 992 points, Raymar Morgan needs just eight points to become the 38th player in MSU history to score 1,000 career points. Drew Neitzel was the last Spartan to score 1,000 career points, reaching the mark against Marquette in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
Michigan State is 8-2 all-time at the Palace of Auburn Hills. On Dec. 15, 1990, No. 1 UNLV defeated MSU, 95-75. MSU's first victory at the Palace was a 75-72 win over Arkansas in the 1995 Great Eight, out-rebounding the Razorbacks, 47-23, and grabbing 24 offensive boards. The Spartans returned to the Palace for the 2000 Midwest Regional semifinals and finals, using second-half comebacks to defeat Syracuse and Iowa State. One year later, MSU brought a No. 1 ranking into the Palace and defeated Bowling Green, 85-69, behind 21 points from Jason Richardson
. Michigan State hosted the Spartan Clash from 2003-07. After falling to Oklahoma, 80-77 in overtime, in the 2003 Clash, MSU posted consecutive victories against Stanford (78-53) in 2004, Wichita State (83-64) in 2005, BYU (76-61) in 2006 and Texas (78-72) in 2007.
3. Life Away From Home
In its 11th game of the season, Michigan State is playing its seventh game away from East Lansing. This is the sixth neutral site game of the year, the most by a Spartan squad in the regular season since the 2005-06 season. MSU is 4-2 away from the Breslin Center. Gonzaga and Tennessee are the two other teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 to have played just four home games this season.
4. Spartans Hit The Mark
After leading the Big Ten in field-goal percentage for the last five seasons, the Spartans are taking aim at a sixth straight statistical crown. Michigan State currently ranks second in the league in field-goal percentage (.487). Individually, Raymar Morgan ranks second in the conference and third in the nation, connecting on 69.0 percent of his shots. Over the last two games, Morgan has made 14-of-15 shots (.933).
5. Lending A Helping Hand
Michigan State is recording an assist on 65.0 percent of its baskets (186-of-286). The Spartans average 18.6 assists per game, ranking second in the Big Ten and seventh in the nation. Against Alcorn State, MSU established a new school record with 35 assists. Individually, Kalin Lucas ranks second in the conference with 6.50 assists per contest, while freshman Korie Lucious dished out 11 against Alcorn State, the most by any Spartan this season.
MSU vs. Oakland Notes
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Oakland, 7-0. This will be the first ever meeting on a neutral court. The Spartans and Grizzlies are meeting for the third straight season.
Greg Kampe (Bowling Green, `78) is 404-307 in 25 seasons at Oakland. In 2004-05 Kampe led Oakland to a Mid-Con Championship and its first NCAA Division I Tournament. Oakland defeated Alabama A&M in the opening round before falling to eventual national champion North Carolina in the first round.
The Last Meeting
Michigan State defeated Oakland, 75-71, on Nov. 24, 2007 in East Lansing. Goran Suton grabbed 20 rebounds, becoming the first Spartan to accomplish that feat since Kevin Willis in 1983. Oakland held a 25-18 lead with 5:47 left in the first half, but MSU closed the period on a 15-2 run. Each team grabbed 20 offensive rebounds, but OU managed just 13 defensive boards. Raymar Morgan led MSU with 20 points, while Brandon Cassise led the Grizzlies with 20, and Derick Nelson added 19.
Golden Grizzly Notes
Erik Kangas averages 3.5 3-pointers per contest, ranking in the top 25 nationally ... Derick Nelson missed the first 12 games of the season with a broken foot before making his season debut against Eastern Michigan, playing eight minutes ... Oakland has played five teams from BCS conferences, including recording an overtime victory at Oregon (82-79) ... Oakland has made a 3-pointer in 608 consecutive games, the eighth best streak in the nation.
Oakland's roster has several names familiar to fans of high school basketball in the mid-Michigan area. Derick Nelson teamed with Spartan Goran Suton to lead Lansing Everett to the 2004 Class A State Championship. In the title game against Flint Carman-Ainsworth, Nelson led the Vikings with 18 points, while Suton narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds, adding six blocks. Erik Kangas led DeWitt High School to the 2004 Class B State Championshp game. Johnathon Jones led Okemos High School to the 2006 Class A State Championship game, while MSU sophomore walk-on Mike Kebler was his teammate.
Game 10 Notes - Michigan State 67 - Texas 63
* Durrell Summers scored eight of MSU's final 10 points in the final 3:37 and assisted on the other two. His 3-pointer with 18.5 seconds left gave MSU a 65-63 lead.
* Led in large part by Travis Walton, MSU's defense held Texas' A.J. Abrams to eight points on 3-of-10 shooting, including 0-of-4 from 3-point range. On the season, he was averaging 20.9 points and had made a 3-pointer in 16 straight games.
* MSU was out-rebounded 24-17 in the first half, but out-rebounded Texas 17-13 in the second.
* MSU held a 38-14 advantage on points in the paint.
* Goran Suton scored a season-best 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting in his second game back from knee surgery.
* Michigan State recorded a win over Texas for the third straight season.
* The win over No. 5 Texas was MSU's first win over a ranked opponent this season and the highest ranked team the Spartans have defeated since a Dec. 22, 2007 win over No. 4 Texas.
MSU Basketball Notes
It's All About Boardwork
Michigan State has led the Big Ten in rebounding margin in nine of the last 11 years. This season, the Spartans lead the Big Ten at +6.9, and are 6-1 when out-rebounding their opponent, despite missing Goran Suton, the Big Ten's leading returning rebounder, for six games. It's a group effort for Michigan State, as not a single Spartan averages more than six rebounds per game, and six different players have led the team or shared the team lead in rebounding in a single game, including freshmen Draymond Green and Delvon Roe.
Morgan Among Big Ten Leaders
Raymar Morgan currently ranks second in the Big Ten in field-goal percentage (.690), fifth in scoring (16.0 ppg), 13th in rebounding (5.6 rpg) and 11th in free-throw percentage (.717). Ohio State's Evan Turner and Michigan's DeShawn Sims are the only other player in the Big Ten to rank in the top 15 all four categories.
Suton Back In Action
After missing six straight games with a left knee injury, Goran Suton has appeared in the last two games, averaging 11.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in 21.5 minutes. Suton injured his knee in the second game of the season against IPFW on Nov. 19. After his knee did not respond to rest, he underwent arthroscopic surgery on Dec. 4. His first full practice came on Monday, Dec. 15. He returned to action against The Citadel on Dec. 17, scoring four points and grabbing five rebounds in 17 minutes. In a win over No. 5 Texas, Suton played 26 minutes off the bench, scoring a team-best 18 points.
Working On The Defense
In the first six games of the year, MSU's defense allowed opponents to score 72.5 points on 44.7 percent shooting. In the last four games, the Spartans are allowing just 61.8 points on 36.6 percent shooting, including just 30.6 percent from 3-point range.
Juggling The Lineup
Due in large part to Goran Suton missing six games with a knee injury and Delvon Roe continuing to improve from two knee surgeries, the Spartan coaching staff has been forced to make continual adjustments in the rotation. This has led to Michigan State starting seven different starting lineups through the first 10 games of the season. Nine different Spartans have started a game this season. Kalin Lucas and Travis Walton are the only Spartans to start all nine games.
Allen From Distance
Sophomore guard Chris Allen is shooting 43.8 percent from 3-point range in the last five games, connecting on 14-of-32 attempts, while averaging 13.4 points per game. In the first five games of the season, Allen shot just 29.4 percent (5-of-17) from behind the arc. On the season, Allen is shooting 38.8 percent. His teammate Durrell Summers ranks second in the Big Ten in 3-point field-goal percentage, shooting 52.0 percent (13-of-25).
Hitting The Offensive Glass
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds, grabbing 13.50 per game. The Spartans are grabbing 38.0 percent of their missed shots, collecting 135 offensive rebounds compared to 220 defensive boards for the opponent. Against Wichita State, MSU grabbed 19 offensive boards, while the Shockers collected just 16 defensive boards.
Despite undergoing two knee surgeries in the last 12 months, including microfracture surgery last December, Delvon Roe is showing flashes of the skills that had him ranked among the elite high school players in his class nationally. In the first four games of the season, he averaged 15.0 minutes and 3.5 rebounds. In the last six games, he is averaging 6.8 rebounds, 6.3 points and 19.0 minutes per contest. In the last three games, he's averaging 9.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in 20.0 minutes.
Lucas Dishes It Out
Kalin Lucas paces the Big Ten and the nation with a 6.50-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, while ranking second in the conference at 6.50 helpers per contest. Lucas has recorded one or no turnovers in nine of 10 games, and has tallied 34 assists and four turnovers in the last five games. Against Oklahoma State, Lucas recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and a career-best 10 assists. As a freshman, Lucas ranked fifth in the Big Ten in assists (3.81 apg) and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.88), while his 137 assists were the fourth most ever by a Spartan freshman.
The Free Throw Story
Michigan State has done a good job getting to the foul line, making nearly as many free throws (170) as its opponents have attempted (181). The comparison, however, could be even more impressive as the Spartans are shooting just .642 from the charity stripe. MSU is averaging 26.5 free throw attempts per game.
Finding A Shooting Touch
Travis Walton worked hard in the offseason to improve his offensive game, but was unable to find the range during the first two games of the season, making just one of his first six shots. He quickly found the shooting touch in the first two games of the Old Spice Classic, scoring a career-high 16 points in each contest, while shooting a combined 15-of-20 (.750) from the field. On the season, Walton is shooting .467, averaging a career-best 6.5 points per game.
The Turnover Story
In the first two games of the season, Michigan State averaged 9.5 turnovers and held a combined 47-17 edge in points off turnovers. In the five games that followed, the Spartans averaged 17.6 turnovers, resulting in a 93-57 deficit in points off turnovers. In the last three games, MSU is averaging 13.0 turnovers, while opponents are averaging 16.3, resulting in a combined 66-24 advantage in points off turnovers. Last season, the Spartans averaged 13.6 turnovers, which was the lowest average of the Tom Izzo era. This year, MSU is 5-0 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent, and 1-0 when turnovers are equal, but just 2-2 when committing more.
Marquise Gray is a real X-factor for the Spartans in the sense that when he is productive, Michigan State will most always win. Gray has scored in double figures 16 times in his career, and the Spartans are 15-1 in those games. The lone loss came against North Carolina in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, where Gray tallied 11 points. In addition, MSU is 4-0 when Gray grabs 10 or more rebounds and 3-0 when he posts a double-double.
In The Rankings
Michigan State is ranked No. 11 in The Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the USA TODAY/ESPN coaches' poll. Six Spartan opponents are also ranked, including North Carolina (#1 AP/#1 USA Today/ESPN), Texas (#9/8), Purdue (#10/15), Ohio State (#15/13), Minnesota (#23/23) and Michigan (#24/RV)
Spartans Among Big Ten's Leading Returners
Goran Suton is the Big Ten's leading returning rebounder, having averaged 8.2 boards per game in 2007-08, trailing only Indiana's D.J. White. At 14.0 points per game, Raymar Morgan ranked sixth in the conference in scoring last season, but is the second-leading returning scorer. Travis Walton (4.33 apg) and Kalin Lucas (3.81 apg) rank first and third, respectively, among all returning Big Ten players in assists.
Sophomore guard Kalin Lucas has been tabbed a preseason second-team All-American by The Sporting News. Lucas was also chosen as a second-team All-Big Ten selection by Lindy's College Basketball and Athlon Sports College Basketball. Junior forward Raymar Morgan was a first-team all-conference selection as chosen by Lindy's and Athlon. Athlon also selected senior center Goran Suton as a third-team all-league player.
Keys To Success
If recent trends continue, look for Michigan State to pace the conference in rebounding and shooting. Last season, MSU led the league in field-goal percentage (.480) for a fifth-straight season, and in rebound margin (+6.8) for the ninth time in 11 years. The Spartans currently rank second in field-goal percentage (.487) and first in rebounding margin (+6.9).
Hitting The Century Mark
Michigan State has scored 100 or more points in two games this season, including a 118-60 win over Alcorn State and a 100-62 win over Idaho in the season opener. The Spartans have scored at least 100 points 41 times in school history, including eight times under Tom Izzo. The 118 points against Alcorn State tied the second-highest total in school history, while the 100 points against Idaho marked just the second time in school history that MSU has scored exactly 100 points.
Spartans On The Run
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in scoring offense at 79.3 points per game, a sign of the up-tempo pace the Spartans hope to play in 2008-09. This year's edition of the Spartans could challenge the 2004-05 squad for the highest-scoring team of the Tom Izzo era. In '04-05, MSU averaged 78.5 points en route to a Final Four appearance.
An Impressive Streak
Michigan State made its 11th straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2008. It is the longest current streak among Big Ten schools and fifth longest in the nation. Only Arizona (24), Kansas (19), Kentucky (17) and Duke (13) have longer current streaks. It is also the second longest streak in Big Ten history. Indiana appeared in 18 consecutive tournaments between 1986 and 2003.
Spartans In The NBA
Eight former Spartans are currently on NBA rosters, including Maurice Ager (New Jersey Nets), Charlie Bell (Milwaukee Bucks), Shannon Brown (Charlotte Bobcats), Paul Davis (Los Angeles Clippers), Morris Peterson (New Orleans Hornets), Zach Randolph (Los Angeles Clippers), Jason Richardson (Phoenix Suns) and Eric Snow (Cleveland Cavaliers).
Morgan Makes Wooden Award List
Raymar Morgan was selected one of the top 50 preseason candidates for the 2008-09 John R. Wooden Award. The John R. Wooden Award, presented by the Los Angeles Athletic Club, has been presented annually since 1976. Neitzel and Purdue's Robbie Hummel are the only Big Ten players on the preseason list for the Wooden Award.
The Book On Tom Izzo
In his 14th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 313-132 (.703), and 145-69 (.678) in the Big Ten, as the coach of the Michigan State basketball program. In 2005, he passed Benjamin Van Alstyne to become the second-winningest coach in MSU history, trailing only Jud Heathcote (340) in total wins. 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.
Among The Big Ten's Best
Tom Izzo's .678 winning percentage in Big Ten games ranks third all-time among league coaches with at least 10 years of service, behind former Indiana coach Bob Knight (.700) and Purdue's Ward Lambert (.685). In all games, Knight ranks first at .734, followed by Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (.712), Lambert (.709) and Izzo (.703). With 145 conference victories, Izzo ranks 11th all-time.
Izzo Against Ranked Opponents
In his 14 years of coaching, Tom Izzo is 66-65 against ranked opponents.
Izzo Among Best Ever
Through his first 13 seasons, Tom Izzo won 305 games, ranking seventh in college basketball history for most wins by a college coach in his first 13 years.
In Tom Izzo's 13 full years directing the Spartan program, 83 percent of his players who completed their eligibility also left with a degree. In the last nine years, 29 Spartans have received their undergraduate degrees, including five each in 2001, 2003 and 2007.
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 sixth 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 fourth 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 second season with Utah. Stan Joplin, an assistant during Izzo's first season, spent 12 seasons as head coach at Toledo.
Home Sweet Home
During Tom Izzo's career as head coach, the Spartans are 185-22 (.894) at home, including 162-13 (.926) since the start of the 1997-98 season.
Coaches Vs. Cancer
During the 2007-08 season, Tom and Lupe Izzo launched the Michigan State chapter of the Coaches Vs. Cancer program. Now in its second season, the Izzos are looking for an even better year. Signature events for 2009 include the Suits and Sneakers Fundraising Challenge, where employees donate funds for the right to wear sneakers in the work place, an NCAA Final Four Reception (April 3, 2009), and Izzo Goes To Broadway (May 6, 2009), a cabaret style show featuring special guests and professional talent, directed by Broadway director and East Lansing native Greg Ganakas at the Wharton Center on the MSU campus. For more information on any of these initiatives contact Kate Follett from the American Cancer Society at 517-664-1370.