Dec. 29, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
#11/11 Michigan State (9-3)
vs. UT Arlington (5-4)
December 30, 2009
7 p.m. EST
East Lansing, Mich.
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: Big Ten Network - Tom Hamilton (Play by Play), Greg Kelser (Color)
The Opening Tip
Michigan State hosts UT Arlington in the final regular-season non-conference game of the year for the Spartans. While the other 10 league schools open league play during the week, MSU has a bye in the first slot of the season. The Spartans are undefeated at home this season (7-0) and have won 46 consecutive non-conference games at Breslin Center.
The Starting Five
1. Turnovers, Defense Make A Difference
Two key factors have emerged as a difference between winning and losing for Michigan State: turnovers and field-goal percentage defense. The Spartans are averaging 18.7 turnovers in their three losses, including 23 vs. Florida and 22 vs. Texas, leading to 19.3 points for the opponent per game. In nine wins, MSU is averaging just 13.3 turnovers, leading to just 14.4 opponent points. Defensively, MSU is 9-0 when holding teams below 40 percent shooting, but 0-3 when an opponent shoots above 40 percent. With North Carolina (.579) and Texas (.561) both shooting well above 50 percent, the Spartans are allowing opponents to shoot .514 in their losses, compared to .358 in victory.
2. Big Ten Strength
With MSU opening Big Ten play on Saturday, it's a good time to consider the strength of the conference. Eight different league schools (Michigan State, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin) have been ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 this season, including five in the current poll (PU-No. 4, MSU-No. 11, OSU-No. 15, UW-No. 23, NU-No. 25). 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.
3. Better At The Foul Line
Michigan State has struggled at the foul line this season, converting at a .670 percentage. The Spartans, however, are showing improvement recently, hitting 80 percent of their attempts in each of their last two games (combined 36-of-45), raising the team's average from .644 to its current mark.
4. 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 485 opponents (.781), posting a 301-78 (.794) mark in those games. This season, MSU has out-rebounded its opponents by a margin of +10.2, ranking sixth in the nation (as of Dec. 21), bettering 10 of 12 teams, and tying one. The Spartans are 9-1 when out-rebounding an opponent, but 0-2 when failing to do so.
5. Hitting Their Shots
As a team, MSU is shooting .501 from the floor, ranking second in the Big Ten and 11th in the nation (as of Dec. 21). Individually, seven Spartans are connecting on better than 50 percent of their shots, led by Tom Herzog at .800 (8-of-10). Among players with more than 30 attempts, Delvon Roe paces the way at .621 (36-58).
MSU vs. UT Arlington Notes
This is the first ever meeting between the Spartans and the Mavericks. Michigan State is 5-0 all-time against the Southland Conference, posting a 3-0 mark against Lamar and a 2-0 record against Nicholls State.
Scott Cross (UT Arlington, '98) is 55-47 overall in his fourth season as a collegiate head coach. Cross led the Mavericks to their first-ever NCAA Tournament in 2008 after winning the Southland Conference Tournament. As a student-athlete at UTA, Cross was a two-time Academic All-American, earning three leters.
UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo came to Arlington from Michigan State where he served as the dean of MSU's College of Communication Arts and Sciences ... Senior guard Marquez Haynes, who opened his career at Boston College, is the leading scorer in the Southland Conference at 25.2 ppg ... Haynes and his fellow backcourt senior Brandon Long have accounted for 53 percent (377 of 711 points) of the Mavericks' scoring this season ... Senior forward Tommy Moffitt, the Mavericks' leading rebounder at 7.7 rpg, is currently out of action after breaking his left foot in early December.
Game 12 Recap - Texas 79 - MSU 68
* For the first time all season, Michigan State was out-rebounded, 32-31.
* In the first half, MSU shot 50.0 percent from the field, including 71.4 percent from 3-point range, but dipped to 38.5 percent in the second half, including 12.5 percent from behind the arc.
* Michigan State hit just one of its final nine field-goal attempts in the final 8:53.
* The Spartans equaled their season-best effort, hitting 80 percent (16-of-20) of their foul shots.
* Texas' win snapped a Spartan three-game winning streak against the Longhorns over the last three seasons.
* Although it was the sixth meeting between the Spartans and Longhorns, it was the first to be played on a campus site.
* The No. 2 Longhorns were the second Top 10 team the Spartans have played on the road this season, having previously played at No. 10 North Carolina.
MSU Basketball Notes
Attacking The Offensive Glass
Michigan State is averaging 14.3 offensive rebounds per contest, leading to 17.0 second chance points per game. The Spartans are grabbing 41.8 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 games. The Spartans are paced in offensive rebounds by Delvon Roe with 2.8 per contest.
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 39.6 percent on the season, as only two opponents (UNC and Texas) have shot better than 41.0 percent. MSU has been equally stingy on its 3-point defense, holding teams to 30.8 percent shooting behind the arc, holding five of 12 opponents to 25 percent or lower.
Through 12 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 15.8 points per game, followed by Raymar Morgan (10.5 ppg), Chris Allen (10.3 ppg), Draymond Green (10.3 ppg) and Durrell Summers (10.3 ppg). MSU has had four or more players score in double figures in nine of the 12 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.
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 nine of 12 games. Through 12 games, he is averaging a team-best 8.3 boards per game. He's recorded double-figure rebounds in four games, and trails only Korie Lucious and Kalin Lucas with his 35 assists. Further demonstrating his versatility, he ranks first in steals (18), second in blocks (8) and field-goal percentage (.595), and third in scoring (10.3 ppg). He's recorded three double-doubles on the season. And despite coming off the bench in a majority of the contests, he ranks third on the squad in minutes per game.
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 .485 from the field this year, including a team-best .400 from behind the 3-point arc.
Lending A Helping Hand
According to the most recent NCAA statistics (as of Dec. 21), Michigan State ranks fourth in the nation in assists. With a current average of 19.1 assists per game, the Spartans have recorded an assist on 62.6 percent of their baskets.
At least one Spartan has recorded a double-double in eight of MSU's 12 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 seven games, Raymar Morgan is averaging 13.0 points and shooting 63.3 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.).
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 51.9 percent over the last nine games, including 37.6 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 33rd in MSU history with 1,116 points, standing 30 behind Pete Gent (1,146 points). Lucas has scored in double figures in 23 straight games, dating back to last season. His teammate, Raymar Morgan, currently ranks 20th in MSU history with 1,306 points. He needs 72 points to pass Julius McCoy (1,377 points) and move into 19th 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 4.2 assists per game and his 2.63 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fifth 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 1.47 (25 assists, 17 turnovers) this season.
Life Away From Home
Michigan State is 2-3 away from home this season, including 1-2 on an opponent's home court, with losses at Texas and North Carolina. 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.
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 8.6 minutes or more, including seven at 20.8 minutes or more. Kalin Lucas leads Michigan State with 30.0 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 12 games, as nine different Spartans have started a game. Lucas is the only player to start all 12 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 12 games, the trio is averaging a combined 36.5 points (Lucas-15.7, Allen-10.3, Summers-10.3). Korie Lucious adds 6.2 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 was tested often during its 2009-10 non-conference schedule. The Spartans played true road games 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.
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 345-140 (.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.