Previewing Michigan State

Previewing the Blue Devils and Spartans who will tip off on Wednesday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN beginning at 9:30 PM EST.

Michigan State (5-1) vs. Duke (6-0)
Durham, N.C. -- Cameron Indoor Stadium

Head Coach: Tom Izzo (16th Season)
Record at Michigan State: 369-147
Record v. Duke: 1-4

Projected Starters:
? 1 Kalin Lucas (6-4, 195 Sr.) – 17.5 ppg, 3.3 apg
15 Durrell Summers (6-5, 205, Sr.) – 15.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg
23 Draymond Green (6-6, 230, Jr.) – 14.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg
41 Garrick Sherman (6-10, 240, So.) – 6.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg
10 Delvon Roe (6-8, 230, Jr.) – 6.2 ppg, 5.7 apg

Top Reserves:
34 Korie Lucious (5-11, 170, Jr.) – 7.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg
11 Keith Appling (6-1, 180, Fr.) – 6.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg
5 Adreian Payne (6-10, 225, Fr.) - 3.8, 1.7 rpg
13 Austin Thronton (6-5, 220, Jr.) - 3.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg
25 Derrick Nix (6-9, 270, So.) - 0.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg

Series History: This will be the eighth meeting between the two programs, but the first since the 2005 season. The Blue Devils hold a 5-2 all time advantage in the previous seven contests. Prior to MSU's 78-68 victory in the NCAA Tournament in 2005, Duke had won five straight contests including a 72-50 victory at Michigan State during the teams' previous meeting in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. The Blue Devils own a 63-25 all time mark against teams from the Big 10 Conference.

In the annual ACC/Big 10 Challenge the Spartans are a league best 5-5. Michigan State owns a 3-2 record against North Carolina, an 0-2 mark against Duke, 0-1 against Boston Collete and a 1-0 mark over NC State and Georgia Tech.

The Blue Devils are 10-1 all-time in ACC/Big Ten Challenge games. Duke won its first 10 Challenge games before falling at Wisconsin last season.

Michigan State Roster: Click Here
Michigan State Statistics: Click Here
Michigan State Schedule: Click Here


Quote To Note: "Well, I'm going to go to sleep tonight thinking about turnovers. We have done a very, very poor job of turning the ball over. That kind of negates some of the good things we're doing like shooting almost 50% from the field and 42% from the 3-point line. The turnovers and the missed free throws are concerning. I'm very disappointed in our guard play, early. I think we did have some rust on us from the trip. We practiced better than we played. That's always disappointing and not very encouraging going into a game that we're going into on Wednesday." - Michigan State's Tom Izzo on his team's performance against Tennessee Tech.

Season To Date: Michigan State began the season ranked second in the nation behind Duke and roared out of the gates on a three game win streak. On paper that streak looked impressive as the Spartans were winning by an average of 16 points per game. However, there were early signs of trouble as lightly regarded Chaminade played MSU to a tie game at half time in the opening round of the Maui Invitational. The next night the Spartans were defeated by Connecticut before rallying to beat Washington by five in the third place game. Upon returning home, Michigan State was able to over come a sloppy performance to out-distance Tennessee Tech on Sunday.

Replacements Needed: The Spartans, like Duke, were picked highly in the polls coming off a strong March. And, like his counterpart in Durham, head coach Tom Izzo knew he'd be losing a player who meant a lot ot his team in the form of Raymar Morgan. Morgan, a 6'7 combo forward now playing in Israel, averaged 11.3 points and 6.2 rebounds as a senior and was considered one of the more steady influences. Losing Morgan was expected, but losing rising senior guard Chris Allen wasn't. After playing over 25 minutes per game as a junior (averaging 8.2 points and shooting 40 percent from the perimeter), Allen and Izzo reached an impasse that resulted in the 6-foot-3 guard transferring to Iowa State.

So far the player stepping up in Morgan's absence is junior Draymond Green. Despite being just 6'7, Green has lead the team in rebounding each game and has already recorded three double-digit performances on the boards after playing the role of sixth man a season ago.

Sloppiness Plagued Both Teams: Both Michigan State and Duke enter Wednesday's game coming off performances that probably drew some extra hours in the film room. Though both teams won easily (Duke over Oregon by 27), each established season highs in turnovers. The Blue Devils coughed it up 19 times against the Ducks while the Spartans surrendered the ball 17 times to the 0-3 Golden Eagles. Similarly the Blue Devils shot just 10-of-18 (56 percent) from the free throw line in the second half against the Ducks while the Spartans managed just 9-of-16 (56 percent) from the line against Tennessee Tech.

Izzo was also displeased with his team's focus on rebounding the basketball - something the Spartans have long been known for during his time as head coach. "I don't think this team respects [the effort needed to rebound]," said Izzo. "That's why Wednesday is good. If we do learn to respect it, we'll play well. If not, we'll get embarrassed."

In each of the previous two years the Spartans have led the nation in rebounding margin posting a +9.3 in 2009 and a +8.6 in 2010. In 11 of the last 13 years, Izzo's teams have led the Big 10 in boards. This year, however, is an entirely different case, which has led to Izzo's irritation. The Spartans have been out-rebounded in three of six contests and own just a +2.0 margin on the season.

Welcome Back It took half a calendar year, but the Spartans' leader is back. After tearing his ACL in the NCAA Tournament, Kalin Lucas has returned for his senior season in a big way - leading the team in scoring through the first six games at 17.5 points per contest while shooting 48 percent from the perimeter and 51 percent from the field. While he may be the team's most consistent scorer and senior leader, Lucas is also the team's barometer. In six games he's played poorly twice. Against South Carolina he shot just 2-of-8 from the field to finish with five points, and was saddled with four personal fouls as Michigan State edged the Gamecocks by 9. The second subpar night came against Connecticut and Kemba Walker who not only had a huge night of his own (30 points), but also held Lucas to 4-of-12 shooting and forced him into a 5 to 1 turnover to assist margin as the Huskies pulled off the upset.

Injuries and their subsequent fallout have been all too familiar in the Michigan State program over the past season. Aside from Lucas' ACL, the Spartans have dealt with Roe's knee (see below), screws removed from Garrick Sherman's foot, and freshman Adreian Payne's separated shoulder last fall as a senior in high school. On top of those trips to the infirmary, Michigan State had others injured over the past year. 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.

Who To Watch: Former McDonalds All-American Delvon Roe hasn't had the career many expected thanks to a number of injuries including playing last season with a banged up knee that required surgery after the Spartans' loss to Butler in Indianapolis. Still, the potential is there for a player who may may remind Duke fans of Kyle Singler on the defensive end with his ability to defend the post or the wing. At times he's played on the wing - his likely position at the next level, but when Michigan State is forced to go to a smaller, quicker lineup, Roe will actually slide into the paint as the five while Green moves to the four. It's a look that allows the Spartans to run with teams, and may give Duke trouble much as Marquette did. Still, with all the potential he possesses, Roe hasn't lived up to the billing in the early going. He has reached double figures just once (15 against S. Carolina), and has earned more than 24 minutes just twice while losing his starting spot.

Fresh Faces: Michigan State's two big newcomers are point guard Keith Appling and big man Adreian Payne. Payne hasn't seen a lot of action in close games, while Appling hasn't seen less than 13 minutes of action this season with a high of 23 minutes coming in the blowout opener against Eastern Michigan. Payne's lack of playing time is somewhat unexpected as the 6'10 prospect was considered a five star talent by all the recruiting services, and several draft sites had him as a player to watch for June's draft despite the shoulder injury last year.

Duke Noteables: The Blue Devils will be looking to move to 7-0 on the season against Michigan State, but there are some additional notes worth following:

  • Duke has only lost two home games in the past four seasons, posting a record of 51-2 in Cameron Indoor Stadium during that span. The Blue Devils currently have a 22-game win streak at home.
  • The Blue Devils have won an NCAA-best 80 consecutive non-conference home games. The last home loss against a non-conference opponent for the Blue Devils was on Feb. 26, 2000 against St. John's, 83-82.
  • Duke has trailed a total of 2:18 this season. The Blue Devils have not trailed in the final 30 minutes of any game and have not trailed by more than two points this season.
  • Duke's starting backcourt of Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving is combining to average 31.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 11.5 assists per game. The tandem is also shooting 51.5 percent (67-of-130) from the floor. Smith and Irving have both reached double-figures in scoring in all six games this season.
  • Mike Krzyzewski is one of just six coaches in Division I history to reach 800 career wins. His 874 wins rank fourth among college basketball's victory leaders and first among active coaches. Krzyzewski is three wins shy of passing Adolph Rupp for third place all-time. Krzyzewski is six wins shy of passing Dean Smith as the winningest coach in ACC history.


Three games in seven days was a good early test for these Blue Devils and while three wins will certainly put a smile on the faces of many Duke faithful, the reality was that the team came back to Durham with plenty to focus on in practice. Against Michigan State the Blue Devils will see a much improved version of the Marquette team that gave Duke all manner of trouble in Kansas City. The Spartans strong, athletic, and most importantly…experienced. Luckily the Devils will be playing the game in the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium against a Michigan State team that has just returned from Hawaii, played a game and hopped on a flight to Durham. This will be the second big time opponent freshman phenom Kyrie Irving has faced in as many week. The talented Jersey native passed the first test with flying colors as he bested All-American Jacob Pullen. Now he gets a shot at Kalin Lucas, who is considered the best of the Big 10 and one of the top guards in the country. Another key factor will be how the teams decide to match up with one another. If the teams go small, Michigan State will look to Green early and often in hopes of getting Kyle Singler in foul trouble. On the flip side, Green will have quite a chore chasing Singler around the perimeter, which will isolate Mason Plumlee on Roe. Michigan State has a history of starting seasons slow before tearing their way deep into March. Look for Duke to come away with a victory, but it won't be easy. Michigan State matches up well in a game of small-ball and though they may not rebound as well as their head coach would like, the Spartans do shoot it very well. Any lazy close outs on open looks will result in made baskets in droves.

Duke - 84
Michigan State - 76

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