Michigan State Opens Big Ten Play Against Minnesota
 
 
 
The Spartans open Big Ten play against Minnesota on Friday.
 
The Spartans open Big Ten play against Minnesota on Friday.
 
 

Dec. 30, 2010

EAST LANSING, Mich. -

No. 20/19 Michigan State (8-4, 0-0) vs. No. 14/13 Minnesota (11-2, 0-1)
 Date Friday, Dec. 31
 Time 4 p.m. ET
 Location East Lansing, Mich. | Breslin Center
 Televison Big Ten Network (Eric Collins, Jim Jackson)
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Listen Live)
(Will Tieman, Gus Ganakas, Matt Steigenga)
 Satellite Radio SIRIUS 122; XM 143
 Tickets Available at MSUSpartans.com
 Game Notes Michigan State | Minnesota
 Statistics  Michigan State | Minnesota
 Internet Coverage  Live Stats (Mobile Users) | Gametracker
 Social Media @MSU_Basketball   |  Facebook

The Opening Tip
Michigan State hosts Minnesota in the Spartans' Big Ten opener. This is the third time in the last four years that MSU has opened league play against the Golden Gophers. The game promises to be a close contest as six of the last eight games in the series have been decided by eight points or less since Tubby Smith took over as head coach at Minnesota. | MSU Game Notes

The Starting Five
1. Big Ten Openers

In its 60 seasons playing basketball in the Big Ten Conference, Michigan State has compiled a 27-33 record in Big Ten openers, including a 15-9 record at home. Tom Izzo is 9-6 in Big Ten openers, including 5-0 at home. Opening at home is somewhat of a recent rarity for the Spartans, as this is just the third time in the last 10 seasons that MSU has started league play in East Lansing. This is the third time in the last four seasons that Michigan State has opened league play against Minnesota, playing in East Lansing for the 2007-08 opener and in Minneapolis for the 2008-09 opener.

2. Big Ten Home Openers
Over the past 60 seasons, Michigan State has posted a 41-19 mark in Big Ten home openers. Tom Izzo is 13-2 in Big Ten home openers, including winning the last eight.

3. MSU In Big Ten Play
Michigan State has won 12 Big Ten Championships, including two straight, since joining the league prior to the 1950-51 season. The Spartans' first ever league game was at Northwestern, where MSU claimed a 67-62 victory on Jan. 6, 1951. All-time, MSU is 532-436 (.550) in league play, including 174-76 (.690) under Tom Izzo, who ranks tied for seventh in league history with 174 conference wins. Izzo has guided MSU to six of its 12 league crowns.

4. Big Ten Strength
Six different Big Ten teams are currently ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25, including Ohio State (No. 2), Purdue (No. 11), Minnesota (No. 13), Michigan State (No. 19), Wisconsin (No. 24) and Illinois (No. 25). The Big Ten (6) trails only the BIG EAST (7) for number of ranked teams, while the Big 12 also has six ranked squads. 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. Last season, MSU played six games against four ranked league opponents.

5. Closing Out 2010
2010 has been a good year for Michigan State basketball. The calendar year saw the Spartans capture a Big Ten Championship and advance to a Final Four. Although this is the second time in three years that MSU has played on New Year's Eve (a 70-58 win at Minnesota in 2008), it is just the 10th time the Spartans have played on the date. Overall, Michigan State is 4-5 on Dec. 31, including 2-2 at home.

MSU vs. Minnesota Notes
Series History

Michigan State leads the all-time series with Minnesota, 59-57, including a 37-19 advantage in games played in East Lansing. The Spartans have won eight of the last nine, 13 of the last 15, and 18 of the last 22 meetings. MSU has won 11 straight at the Breslin Center. Tom Izzo has a 21-8 all-time record against the Golden Gophers.

Coach Smith
Orlando "Tubby" Smith (High Point, '73) is 461-186 in his 20th season as a collegiate head coach, including 74-41 in his fourth season with Minnesota. Prior to his arrival in Minneapolis, he spent 10 seasons as head coach at Kentucky, leading the Wildcats to the 1998 NCAA Championship. His head coaching career also includes a two-year stint at Georgia and four seasons at Tulsa.

The Last Meeting In East Lansing
Michigan State defeated Minnesota, 60-53, on Jan. 13, 2010 in East Lansing. The Spartans closed the first half on an 18-6 run to take a 33-25 lead into the break. Early in the second half, MSU pushed the lead out to 11 points, but the Golden Gophers battled and pulled within two points at 51-49 with 5:10 left. Chris Allen then connected on his first 3-pointer of the day. After a Minnesota basket, Allen made a driving layup to push MSU's lead to five with 1:31 left. Draymond Green helped seal victory with a steal and a block on back-to-back possessions in the final 1:15. The Spartans won despite shooting 36.2 percent from the field, but they committed just 10 turnovers, after Minnesota entered the game forcing conference opponents to commit 19.2 per game. MSU's reserves out-scored Minnesota's, 27-3.

The Last Meeting
Minnesota defeated Michigan State, 72-67, in overtime in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis on March 12. The Golden Gophers led by 10 with just over eight minutes in regulation, but MSU battled back to tie the game with 1:31 left. The Spartans then had two opportunities to take the lead, but turned the ball over twice. Raymar Morgan opened overtime with a three-point play, but Devoe Joseph answered with a 3-pointer. Minnesota then hit one free throw and MSU missed four straight foul shots. Another Joseph 3-pointer and a Lawrence Westbrook three-point play gave Minnesota a 65-58 advantage. Morgan led MSU with 23 points and Kalin Lucas added 18. Draymond Green posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Joseph led the Gophers with 17 points, while Blake Hoffarber connected for 14. MSU missed a season-high 16 free throws, including shooting just 5-of-12 in overtime.

Golden Gopher Notes
Forward Trevor Mbakwe leads the Big Ten with eight double-doubles and in field-goal percentage (.621), while ranking second in the league in rebounding (9.9 rpg) ... Minnesota ranks second in the Big Ten in rebounding margin (+6.7) and leads the conference in offensive rebounds (14.46 orpg) ... The Gophers are tied for the league lead in blocked shots (5.54 bpg) ... Nine different Gophers have started at least one game this season as 11 players average 8.8 minutes or more.

Gm. 12 Notes • Texas 67 - Michigan State 55
* Michigan State shot a season-low 29.0 percent from the field. In fact, it was the first time the Spartans have shot less than 30 percent in a game since March 11, 2006 (.283 vs. Iowa).
* Adreian Payne made his first collegiate start, but was plagued by foul trouble and played just nine minutes.
* Michigan State's starting front line of Payne, Delvon Roe and Draymond Green shot a combined 3-of-18 from the field.
* MSU held a 49-42 advantage on the glass, including grabbing a season-high 18 offensive rebounds.
* Michigan State connected on a season-low three 3-pointers.
* With his 17 points, Kalin Lucas moved into a tie with Raymar Morgan for 10th place in Michigan State career scoring (1,597 points).

MSU Basketball Notes
Too Many Turnovers

One of Michigan State's early season issues has been turnovers, as the Spartans average 16.2 per contest. MSU opponents are averaging 16.0 points per game off turnovers, compared to just 14.3 points for the Spartans. Michigan State is 4-0 when the opponent commits more turnovers and 4-4 when it has more turnovers than the opponent.

Home Sweet Home
During Tom Izzo's career as head coach, the Spartans are 213-27 (.888) at home, including 190-18 (.913) over the last 14 years.

Tough Early Slate
During the non-conference schedule, Michigan State played five teams that have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 at some point this year. MSU's four losses have come to teams with a combined record of 46-3 and that are all currently ranked in the top 13 of the AP Top 25. The Spartans played seven of 12 non-conference games against teams in the top 75 of the Sagarin Ratings (through games of Dec. 29).

Moving Up The Scoring Chart
Kalin Lucas ranks tied with Raymar Morgan for 10th in MSU career scoring with 1,597 points. The Spartan senior needs 121 points to pass Mike Robinson (1,717 points) for ninth place and 122 points to pass Paul Davis (1,718 points) for eighth place in MSU history.

Better From The Foul Line
Free-throw shooting has been an area of concern for Michigan State this year, as the Spartans rank ninth in the conference with a .673 percentage. MSU, however, is showing improvement as of late, shooting .786 (55-of-70) over the last three games. MSU is also doing a better job getting to the foul line, averaging 23.3 attempts, including at least 20 in every game. In the four games prior to the last three, MSU did not attempt more than 16 free throws in a single contest.

Solid Defensive Effort
Michigan State is turning in a strong defensive effort this season, holding teams to 66.5 points per game and allowing opponents to shoot just 39.7 percent from the field, including 34.8 percent from 3-point range. MSU has held five opponents below 40 percent and just four have topped 45 percent. No Spartan opponent has shot better than 50 percent, as MSU has out-shot its opponent in nine of 12 contests.

Spartans Enjoy Home Cooking
Michigan State is averaging 78.3 points in six games at the Breslin Center, shooting .466 from the field, including .400 from 3-point range. Durrell Summers leads the attack, averaging 18.3 points at home, shooting .519 from the field and .515 from 3-point range (17-of-33). The defense has also fed off the home crowd, limiting opponents to 58.5 points and a .343 field-goal percentage.

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 14.9 points in 29.2 minutes. He was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Nov. 29, averaging 20.5 points over four games. Over the last three games, he's averaging 17.3 points, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals.

MSU's Mr. Everything
Junior Draymond Green is one of the nation's most versatile players. He leads the team in rebounding (8.9 rpg), steals (1.8 spg), and 3-point field-goal percentage (.467), while ranking second in assists (3.8 apg) and blocks (1.2 bpg), and third in scoring (11.8). Green ranks third in the Big Ten in steals and rebounding, sixth in 3-point field-goal percentage, 11th in blocks and 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 12 double-doubles in his career.

Spartans From Distance
Michigan State is shooting .400 from 3-point range this season, ranking third in the Big Ten. The Spartans' best 3-point percentage under Tom Izzo is .401, established by the 2003-04 squad. Five different Spartans have knocked down 11 or more 3-pointers led by Durrell Summers, with 27. Draymond Green is shooting a team-best .467 from 3-point range, as four of the five Spartans hitting 11 or more threes are shooting better than 40 percent (Summers - .450, Appling - .423, Lucas - .405). As a team, MSU ranks seventh in the Big Ten with 7.50 3-pointers per game, after finishing last in the conference last season (5.1).

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 8.9 minutes or more, while nine have averaged 9.8 or more. MSU's bench is out-scoring opponents' reserves by 12.0 points per game (25.8 ppg-13.8 ppg), out-scoring the opponents' bench in 11 of 12 games this season.

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.

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 405 of 522 opponents (.776), posting a 321-84 (.793) mark in those games. This year, MSU has out-rebounded eight of 12 opponents, posting a +4.1 margin. MSU has out-rebounded seven of its last eight opponents. The Spartans are 6-2 when out-rebounding their opponent, and 2-2 when failing to do so.

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. Six different league schools (Michigan State, Illinois, Ohio State, Purdue, Minnesota and Wisconsin) are ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25, while Northwestern 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. 20 in the Associated Press and No. 19 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll. 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), Connecticut (4/4), Syracuse (5/5), Purdue (12/11), Texas (13/14), Minnesota (14/13), lllinois (23/25) and Wisconsin (-/24).

Sherman Hits The Mark
Garrick Sherman is shooting a strong .674 from the field this season. Since opening the season with a 3-of-6 effort, Sherman has hit 28 of his last 39. At one point, he connected on 10 straight shots this season.

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 1,101 points for his career, he needs nine to pass Al Ferrari (1,109 points) for 34th and 46 to pass Pete Gent (1,146 points) for 33rd in MSU history.

Nation's Best Sixth Man
After starting four of the season's first seven games, Draymond Green and the Spartan coaching staff decided Green would resume his role as the team's sixth man. Last season, Green was a unanimous selection for Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, and was named National Sixth Man of the Year by Yahoo! Sports. Green, however, has started the last three games.

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 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds on the 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.

Quite A Class Already
Although they have played just three-plus seasons, Spartan seniors Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers and Mike Kebler have won 94 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.

The Shooting Story
The Spartans are shooting .458 from the field, including .400 from 3-point range. The exception to the strong shooting is at the foul line, where MSU is shooting .673. Defensively, MSU is holding opponents to a .397 field-goal percentage, including .348 from behind the arc.

Award Candidates
Seniors Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers have been named preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden and Naismith Awards. Lucas is also a candidate for the Cousy Award, presented to the nation's top point guard.

Spartan Newcomers
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 (Orlando Magic). 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
Coach Izzo

In his 16th year, Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, '77) is 372-150 (.713), 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 (.713), 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.