Chapel Hill, N.C. - Dean E. Smith Center
9:00, ESPN (Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale)
"[Tom Izzo] is one of my favorite coaches – there's no question about that. His team is a team I enjoy watching play. I've enjoyed watching them play years when we were not going to play them… He's so competitive himself. His teams play very hard [and] they play unselfishly." – UNC head coach Roy Williams
"We're definitely all excited to play… The guys who played in that game last year are definitely going to be prepared to play." – UNC forward Deon Thompson
"If they beat us, we're not going to give them any trophy. If we beat them, we're not going to get another one. It's a regular season game. We're going to try to play as hard as we can." – Williams
Season to Date: The Spartans enter Tuesday night's ACC/Big Ten Challenge contest with a 5-1 record. Tom Izzo's club opened the season with four straight victories over Florida Gulf Coast (97-58), Gonzaga (75-71), Toledo (75-62) and Valparaiso (90-60) before falling to Florida (77-74). MSU responded on Saturday by throttling Massachusetts, 106-68.
Green Experience: Michigan State returns three starters from last season's national championship game appearance and a host of key contributors. Point guard Kalin Lucas leads the way with a 17.2-points-per-game average, while Durrell Summers (13.2), Chris Allen (12.3) and Draymond Green (10.2) are also averaging double-digit point totals. Forward Delvon Roe is contributing 7.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest, but he is also averaging 3.3 fouls per game.
Gaudy Statistics: The Spartans are outscoring their opponents by 20.2 points, outrebounding them by 11.5 boards and dishing out 9.8 more assists per game. However, Michigan State is only connecting on 62.9 percent of its free throw attempts (95-of-151).
A Bizarre Loss: Michigan State's loss to Florida occurred despite the prime statistics suggesting otherwise. The Spartans shot 52.5 percent (31-of-59) to the Gators' 41.0 percent (25-of-61), and those shooting figures were even more skewed after halftime as MSU connected on 15 of its 30 shots (50 percent) compared with UF hitting just 10 of its 29 attempts (34.5 percent). The Gators' starting backcourt of Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker combined for 4-of-22 shooting, including a 2-of-15 mark from 3-point range. Furthermore, the Spartans won the rebounding battle, 42-24. But two key statistics explain the loss – Michigan State committed 23 turnovers and missed all six free throw attempts in the second half, while Florida knocked down 16 of its 18 charity-stripe throws over the final 20 minutes.
Izzo's Milestone: Izzo earned his 341st victory as Michigan State's head coach when his club defeated UMass, 106-68, on Saturday night in Atlantic City. The 15-year Spartan coach set the record the same week predecessor Jud Heathcote was inducted into the National Collegiate Hall of Fame. Izzo owns a 341-138 record at MSU. Following the game, Izzo's players presented him with a plaque that had the mold of a footprint. The inscription read: "You've left your footprint. 341 wins."
Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the Spartans, 89-72, for their fifth NCAA national championship in Detroit on Apr. 6, 2009. North Carolina jumped out to a 17-7 lead and Michigan State was unable to cut that deficit back to single digits, watching the margin quickly grow to 36-13. Ty Lawson guided UNC with 21 points, eight steals and six assists, and Wayne Ellington (19) and Tyler Hansbrough (18) delivered more firepower than MSU could handle.
Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 9-3. The Tar Heels have won all five contests against the Spartans in the NCAA Tournament, including three times in the last five years ('09 championship game, ‘05 Final Four and ‘07 second round).
1 Kalin Lucas (6-0, 190, Jr.) - 17.2 ppg, 3.7 apg
15 Durrell Summers (6-4, 205, Jr.) – 13.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg
2 Raymar Morgan (6-8, 230, Sr.) – 8.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg
10 Delvon Roe (6-8, 230, So.) – 7.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg
41 Garrick Sherman (6-10, 235, Fr.) – 2.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg
3 Chris Allen (6-3, 205, Jr.) – 12.3 ppg
23 Draymond Green (6-6, 235, So.) – 10.2 ppg, 8.7 rpg
34 Korie Lucious (5-11, 170, So.) – 6.2 ppg, 5.3 apg
50 Derrick Nix (6-8, 280, Fr.) – 3.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Roe ... Lucas
Green ... Morgan
Allen ... Summers
(Photos by Associated Press)