Previewing Michigan State

NC State (4-1) heads on the road tonight to face No. 10 Michigan State (4-1) in the 2007 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Spartans are led by senior Drew Neitzel, one of the nation's top point guards.

  • SCHEDULE
  • ROSTER
  • STATS

    PROJECTED STARTERS
    C - #14 Goran Suton (Jr., 6-10, 245) 9.0 8.6 2.4 1.2 bpg
    F - #41 Marquise Gray (Jr., 6-8, 235) 6.8 4.8 0.0 .813 FG%
    F - #2 Raymar Morgan (So., 6-7, 225) 17.4 8.4 2.0 24-34 FT
    G - #1 Kalin Lucas (Fr., 6-0, 180) 6.2 1.0 3.8 .813 FT%
    G - #11 Drew Neitzel (Sr., 6-0, 185) 14.6 2.2 4.6 13-26 3FG

    STARTING FIVE NOTABLES

  • Goran Sutton became the first Spartan to grab 20 rebounds in a game since Kevin Willis in 1983, with 20 against Oakland. He was Michigan State's leading rebounder in 2006-07, ranking sixth in the Big Ten.

    Raymar Morgan

  • Marquis Gray finished second on the team in rebounding in 2006-07. He led the Spartans in field-goal percentage among players with more than 50 attempts (.578) last season.

  • Raymar Morgan was named to Dick Vitale's All-Rolls Royce Fourth Team. He played with the USA U19 World Championship Team over the summer and was the CBE Classic East Lansing Regional MVP.

  • Kalin Lucas started Michigan State's first five games as a true freshman. He is second on the team with 19 assists, and scored double-figures for the first time vs. Missouri (10 points).

  • Drew Neitzel is the 2007-08 Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, and he is the Big Ten's leading returning scorer from last season. Neitzel is an Associated Press Preseason All-American, and was named to the CBE Classic All-Tournament Team.


    Michigan State Game Notes

    MSU VS. NC STATE NOTABLES
    Series History
    North Carolina State leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 5-1. The Spartans, however, won the only meeting in East Lansing, taking a 78-60 victory at Jenison Field House on Dec. 20, 1976.

    The Last Meeting
    No. 7 seed North Carolina State defeated No. 10 seed Michigan State, 69-58, in the First Round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament in Washington, D.C. (3/15/02). The Spartans took a 30-18 lead into the half, thanks to a 12-2 run. NC State, however, opened the second half on an 11-2 run. The Wolfpack also had second-half runs of 9-0 and 13-3, giving them control of the contest.

    Freshman Chris Hill led MSU with 21 points, while Marcus Taylor added 18 points and six assists. For the Wolfpack, Anthony Grundy and Julius Hodge each scored 16. MSU shot just 32.1 percent from the field, and was outscored, 31-17, at the foul line.

    Coach Lowe
    Sidney Lowe (St. Paul's, 2006) is 24-17 in his second season at North Carolina State.

    Lowe brings 15 years of NBA coaching experience to the Wolfpack bench, including five years as a head coaching including stints with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies.

    Lowe was a four-year letterwinner at North Carolina State, averaging 11.3 points for the 1983 NCAA Championship team.

    Wolfpack Notes
    North Carolina State spent the Thanksgiving weekend at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, capturing the title with a 69-68 win over Villanova ... The Wolfpack are led in scoring (18.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg) by freshman J.J. Hickson ... NC State is allowing opponents to shoot just .354 from the field ... At 6-foot-9, Brandon Costner leads the Wolfpack with 22 3-point attempts, connecting on eight.

    Familiar Foes
    Michigan State freshman Chris Allen and North Carolina State freshman J.J. Hickson were AAU teammates in Georgia. Both were members of the 2007 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution All-State First Team.

    Michigan Connections
    Two Wolfpack freshmen call Michigan their home. Clayton Beard attended Detroit Country Day, winning a Class B State Championship at the Breslin Center last year. Tracy Smith is a Detroit native, but attended Mt. Zion Academy in Durham, N.C.

    MSU NOTABLES
    Finding Success At The Foul Line
    Michigan State is shooting a Big Ten-best .776 from the foul line. The Spartans are averaging 26.8 attempts and 20.8 makes per contest. In fact, MSU has made more free throws (104) than its opponents have attempted (89). In the Spartans' lone loss to UCLA, they made 93.3 percent of their attempts, but attempted just 15 free throws. Last season, MSU averaged 19.2 attempts and 13.8 makes.

    Individually, Raymar Morgan has the most trips to the foul line (34), averaging 4.8 points per game at the stripe. Durrell Summers has connected on all 13 attempts this year. Drew Neitzel is MSU's career leader in free-throw percentage (.868).

    I Love The 80's
    The Spartan offense has scored more than 80 points in three of five games this season. Last season, MSU scored 80 or more points in just five of 35 contests.

    Hitting The Boards
    Through five games, Michigan State has a +12.3 rebound margin. Goran Suton paces the Spartans at 8.6 boards per contest, having grabbed 20 against Oakland, becoming the first Spartan since Kevin Willis in 1983 to record 20 boards in a game. In MSU's four wins, the Spartans have a +16.5 rebound margin, but lost the only game in which they were outrebounded (UCLA; 37-28).

    In 2006-07, MSU posted a +7.0 rebounding margin, outrebounding 24 of 35 opponents while tying three other teams. Last season, three different Spartans (Marquise Gray, Drew Naymick and Goran Suton) grabbed 10 or more rebounds in a single game.

    Maintaining The Defense
    Michigan State is holding its opponents to 38.0 percent shooting overall, and 31.5 percent shooting from 3-point range. Last year, MSU allowed opponents to shoot just 38.4 percent, the lowest percentage since 1958-59.

    Freshmen Contributions
    Michigan State has played three true scholarship freshmen (Chris Allen, Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers) this season. The trio is averaging 23.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 56.6 minutes.

    Home Sweet Home
    During Tom Izzo's career as head coach, the Spartans are 167- 22 (.884) at home, including 144-13 (.917) over the last 11 years.

    Morgan Named Big Ten POW
    Raymar Morgan was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week on Nov. 19, sharing the honor with Indiana freshman Eric Gordon. The Spartan sophomore averaged 19.0 points and 14.5 rebounds in the East Lansing Regional of the CBE Classic, earning Regional MVP honors.

    Neitzel Among Career Leaders
    Drew Neitzel sixth in MSU history with 460 assists. He is the Spartan career leader in free throw percentage (.868) and ranks fourth in 3-point field goals attempted (466) and fifth in 3-point field goals made (189).

    Neitzel Moving Up Scoring List
    Drew Neitzel ranks 32nd in Michigan State career scoring with 1,106 points. He needs four points to pass Al Ferrari (1,109 points) and 41 points to pass Pete Gent (1,146 points).

    Neitzel scored his 1,000th-career point against Marquette in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

    MSU's Sixth Starter
    Under head coach Tom Izzo, Michigan State has a tradition of bringing an experienced starter off the bench on its most successful teams. On the 1999 Final Four squad, Morris Peterson became the first non-starter in league history to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors. In 2000, David Thomas started early in Mateen Cleaves' absence, then became a key reserve. During MSU's run to the 2005 Final Four, seniors Chris Hill and Kelvin Torbert, two three-year starters, accepted reserve roles to aid the bench depth.

    This season, Izzo has opted to bring junior co-captain Travis Walton off the bench to lend experience to MSU's depth. Last year, Walton was the only Spartan to start all 35 games, while ranking second in assists per game. In addition, he is one of the nation's best on-the-ball defenders.

    MSU In November
    Michigan State has an all-time record of 75-23 in games played in the month of November. This includes a 54-3 mark at home. This is the second earliest start to a season in school history. Last year marked the earliest start ever to a regular season as MSU opened on Nov. 8.

    MSU's Block Party
    In 2006-07, Michigan State blocked a school single-season record 162 shots. Drew Naymick led the Spartans with 55 rejections, good for the second-best single-season total in MSU history. Idong Ibok had 33 blocks, the seventh-best single-season total at MSU.

    Naymick currently stands in fifth place on the MSU career blocked shots chart with 78 rejections. He is 19 blocks shy of Matt Steigenga in first place.

    Returning Talent
    The Spartans return 89.8 percent of their scoring (2,043 points), 92.6 percent of their rebounding (1,021 rebounds), 93.2 percent of their assists (522 assists) and 89.4 percent of their minutes (6,256 minutes) from the 2006-07 squad.


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