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Kansas vs. Michigan State Preview


Kansas vs. Michigan State

Kansas concludes it nonconference portion of the 2008-09 season at No. 8/12 Michigan State on Saturday, January 10, at noon (Central) on CBS. The Jayhawks are 11-3 on the season, 0-1 in true road games and 1-2 away from Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas has won three straight and four of its last five games. Michigan State is 12-2 on the season, including 3-0 in Big Ten Conference play. The Spartans have won eight straight and are 5-0 at home this season. Kansas has the nation's second-longest home court winning streak at 33 games, while Michigan State is tied for fourth with Utah State with 26 straight wins at the Breslin Center. Notre Dame is at 44.

 Denverjhawks Thoughts…

This is a winnable game but not one I would expect to win.  Michigan State is a tough team with a good thing going right now being winners of 8 straight.  Playing in Breslin will not be easy and many will point to Arizona as a road test but Tuscon in mid December is full of retirees and vacationers.  Michigan State in early January on the other hand should be rowdy and a truly hostile environment to the extent the Jayhawks will face come conference time.

Truthfully, both these teams mirror each other in a lot of ways.  Scoring wise they are similar, defensively they allow nearly the same amount of points.  The biggest difference is the youth of KansasMichigan State is the Big 10 favorite and will look toward a deep tournament run in March.  Kansas, I’m not sure we really know yet.  All that can change if the Hawks get a win at MSU.  In my mind Kansas needs a fast start to build some confidence.  Slow out of the gates and it might be tough to recover.  Sherron will likely try to throw the team on his back and that isn’t necessarily good when we’re down.  If we do come out quickly, get everyone settled in and a little confident that’s when we need to ride the backs of Cole Aldrich and Sherron down the stretch.  I really don’t know what to expect in this one but far be it for me to pick against my own team, right?  Yeah…yeah…yeah I have said it would be tough, but never said impossible.  Bill Self lives for moments like this and at Breslin he’ll challenge his team to build an identity, defense and toughness.  Back and forth we go, at moments things will look scary but in the end Kansas squeaks it out 74-69.  Ask me if I believe that and I probably won’t look you in the eye, but I keep waiting for this team to find something and this could very well be the game.  Rock Chalk Jayhawk and see you all at the open thread.

More notes, quotes and roster info after the jump...


About Kansas


Kansas is 11-3 on the season after its 91-84 win against Siena Tuesday. The victory was KU’s 33rd-straight win in Allen Fieldhouse, the second-longest home court winning streak in NCAA Division I.  The Jayhawks are averaging 80.6 points per game and giving up 65.3 for a +15.3 scoring margin. KU has been solid at the line with six games of 80 percent or better as the Jayhawks lead the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 73.5 percent. Two of KU's three losses have been by one point to UMass (61-60) and in overtime to Syracuse (89-81), i.e. two possessions.  Junior guard Sherron Collins leads KU in scoring at 17.6 points per game and is coming off 18 points in the win against Siena. Collins has led the team in scoring in 10 of 14 games this season and has a team-high 30 three-point field goals and 70 assists, including nine versus Tennessee last Saturday. Sophomore center Cole Aldrich is next in scoring at 15.4 points per game and has scored 66 points in his last three games – 20 vs. Albany, 22 vs. Tennessee and a career high 24 vs. Siena. He leads the team with 9.9 rebounds per game. Aldrich has led Kansas in rebounding in 11 of the 14 games this season. He also has eight double-doubles, the second most in the Big 12. Aldrich has 39 of KU's 72 blocked shots for a Big 12-leading 2.8 per game. Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor is scoring 10 points per game and leads Kansas with 22 steals. His 1.6 steals per game and 3.6 assists per game lead the Big 12 freshmen class. Freshman forward Marcus Morris comes off the bench and is scoring 8.4 ppg. He is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds, tops among Big 12 freshmen. Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar has made multiple three pointers in four of his last five games and is scoring 7.7 points per outing. Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed, 7.4 ppg, has scored 34 points in his last three games, including a career-high 14 against Siena. Freshman forward Markieff Morris has started the last five contests and is third on the team with a 4.9 rebound average.  He is scoring 5.4 ppg. Freshman guard Travis Releford (3.6 ppg) and freshman forward Quintrell Thomas (2.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg) are each averaging more than seven minutes per contest. Junior guard Mario Little is also logging seven-plus minutes per game in his two outings. Little missed the first 12 contests due to injuries.


About Michigan State


No. 8/12 Michigan State is coming off a 67-58 win against Ohio State on Tuesday. The Spartans are 12-2 on the season, 3-0 in Big Ten play and have won eight straight. MSU has been ranked as high as fifth nationally. MSU is averaging 77.8 points per game and giving up 66.4 for a +11.4 scoring margin. The Spartans control the boards with a +9.6 rebound margin and also average 18.2 assists per game. Junior forward Raymar Morgan leads the team in scoring at 15.2 ppg and rebounding with seven boards per game. Morgan is shooting 60.2 percent from the field. Sophomore guard Kalin Lucas has a team-high 84 assists and 17 steals on the season to complement his 13.3 scoring average. Sophomore guard Chris Allen has made a team-best 28 three pointers this season and is scoring 10.3 points per game. Senior center Goran Suton is second on the team with 6.8 rebounds per contest to go along with his 9.4 points per game. Sophomore guard Durrell Summers comes off the bench to score 8.4 points per outing, while starter Travis Walton is second on the team with 44

assists. Walton, a senior guard, is scoring 8.4 ppg. Freshman forward Delvon Roe (5.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and senior forward Marquise Gray (4.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg) are each averaging more than 13 minutes per game for the Spartans.


The Coaches


In Bill Self's five seasons as head coach at Kansas he has won one national championship, four regular-season Big 12 titles and three league tournament championships. He has guided KU to three NCAA Elite Eights and one Final Four. In his sixth season at KU, Self is 153-35. He is 360-140 in his 16th season overall. KU’s 91-84 win against Siena (Jan. 6) was Self’s 500th game coached for his career. Heading into his sixth season at KU, Self's 81.6 winning percentage (142-32) the previous five years was the highest in NCAA Division I. Included were a combined 70 victories in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Under Self, KU has been ranked in the Associated Press Top 10 in 60 polls and in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Top 10 on 61 occasions. He has posted a 22-9 mark in NCAA Tournament play and has guided his teams to 10-straight 20-win seasons and 11 overall. Self has won eight league crowns in the last 10 years, including four straight at KU. Those other two seasons resulted in runner-up conference finishes. The 2008 Winged Foot Award recipient for winning the national title, Self is a four-time finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003), and The Sporting News named him National Coach of the Year in 2000. In addition, Self is one of four coaches in NCAA Division I history to have led three different teams - Tulsa, Illinois and Kansas - to the NCAA Elite Eight. He has advanced KU to the NCAA Elite Eight three times (2004, 2007, 2008), including the 2008 Final Four. A 1985 graduate of Oklahoma State, Self began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Kansas in 1985-86 under Larry Brown. That team advanced to the Final Four in Dallas. He then returned to his alma mater as an assistant from 1987-93 working under head coaches Leonard Hamilton and Eddie Sutton. Self’s first head coaching position was at Oral Roberts in 1994 where he was 55-54 in four years. He took over at Tulsa in 1998 with three winning seasons before taking over at Illinois from 2001-03. He was named the eighth head coach at Kansas on April 21, 2003. Self is 4-3 against Michigan State, including 1-0 while at Kansas.


Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is in his 14th season at MSU with a 317-132 record. Izzo is a fourtime national coach of the year. He has won one national championship, four Big Ten regular-season titles and two Big Ten Tournament crowns. He has taken the Spartans to 11 straight NCAA Tournaments. Under Izzo, Michigan State is the only team to have appeared in four of the last 10 Final Fours – 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2005 – including the 2000 national championship.


The Series


Kansas leads the overall series with Michigan State 4-3 in a series that dates back to 1960. IN the last meeting then-No. 6 Kansas defeated then-No. 3 Michigan State 81-74 on Nov. 25, 2003, in Allen Fieldhouse in Bill Self’s first season at KU. No team has won more than two straight in the series. Some of the more memorable games include KU’s 96-86 overtime win against Michigan State in the 1986 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Sweet 16 game in Kansas City. KU then defeated North Carolina State to advance to the Final Four in Dallas. In the next meeting, Michigan State defeated Kansas 66-54 in the Great Eight in Chicago, Ill. Michigan State has won both meetings in East Lansing – 81-62 in 1962 and 85-61 in 1979. This will be the first meeting between Kansas and Michigan State at the Breslin Center. Kansas is no stranger to the Big Ten Conference as the Jayhawks have faced all 11 members of the league and is a combined 32-34. The last time KU faced at Big Ten foe was the Michigan State game in 2003.


2008-09 Kansas Roster (*last game starters)

No. Pos. Name Cl.-Exp. Ht. Wt. Hometown (Previous School)

2 G Conner Teahan So.-1L 6-5 215 Leawood, Kan. (Rockhurst HS)

*4 G Sherron Collins Jr.-2L 5-11 200 Chicago, Ill. (Crane HS)

10 G Brennan Bechard Sr-2L (TR) 6-0 185 Lawrence, Kan. (Lawrence HS/Barton Co. [Kan.] CC)

11 F Quintrell Thomas Fr.-HS 6-7 240 Newark, N.J. (Saint Patrick HS)

*12 G Brady Morningstar So.-1L(RS) 6-3 180 Lawrence, Kan. (Free State HS/New Hampton [N.H.] Prep)

14 G Tyrel Reed So.-1L 6-3 185 Burlington, Kan. (Burlington HS)

*15 G Tyshawn Taylor Fr.-HS 6-3 180 Hoboken, N.J. (St. Anthony HS)

*21 F Markieff Morris Fr.-HS 6-9 232 Philadelphia, Pa. (Prep Charter HS/APEX Academy [N.J.])

22 F Marcus Morris Fr.-HS 6-8 225 Philadelphia, Pa. (Prep Charter HS/APEX Academy [N.J.])

23 G Mario Little Jr.-TR 6-5 210 Chicago, Ill. (Washington HS/Chipola [Fla.] CC)

24 G Travis Releford Fr.-HS 6-5 200 Kansas City, Mo. (Bishop Miege HS)

32 G Tyrone Appleton Jr.-TR 6-2 203 Gary, Ind. (Harmony Prep/Midland [Texas] College)

40 G Jordan Juenemann Fr.-HS 6-4 195 Hays, Kan. (Hays HS)

41 G Chase Buford So.-1L 6-3 210 San Antonio, Texas (Alamo Heights HS)

*45 C Cole Aldrich So.-1L 6-11 245 Bloomington, Minn. (Jefferson HS)

54 C Matt Kleinmann Sr-3L (RS) 6-10 250 Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley West HS)

Head Coach: Bill Self (Oklahoma State, 1985)

Assistant Coaches: Joe Dooley (George Washington, 1988); Kurtis Townsend (Western Kentucky, 1982); Danny

Manning (Kansas, 1991)



Michigan State Spartans (*last game starters)

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl-Exp Hometown (Previous School)

00 Idong Ibok C 6-11 260 RS-Sr. Lagos, Nigeria (Montverde (Fla.) Academy)

*1 Kalin Lucas G 6-0 180 So. Sterling Heights, Mich. (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s)

*2 Raymar Morgan F 6-8 225 Jr. Canton, Ohio (McKinley)

3 Chris Allen G 6-3 205 So. Lawrenceville, Ga. (Meadowcreek)

*5 Travis Walton G 6-2 190 Sr. Lima, Ohio (Lima Senior)

*10 Delvon Roe F 6-8 225 Fr. Lakewood, Ohio (St. Edward)

13 Austin Thornton G 6-5 210 RS-Fr. Sand Lake, Mich. (Cedar Springs)

*14 Goran Suton C 6-10 245 RS-Sr. Lansing, Mich. (Everett)

15 Durrell Summers G 6-4 195 So. Detroit, Mich. (Redford Covenant Christian)

20 Mike Kebler G 6-4 200 So. Okemos, Mich. (Okemos)

22 Isaiah Dahlman G 6-6 200 Jr. Braham, Minn. (Braham Area)

23 Draymond Green F 6-6 235 Fr. Saginaw, Mich. (Saginaw)

25 Jon Crandell F 6-8 225 Jr. Rochester, Mich. (Rochester Adams)

34 Korie Lucious G 5-11 170 Fr. Milwaukee, Wis. (Pius XI)

40 Tom Herzog C 7-0 240 RS-So. Flint, Mich. (Powers)

41 Marquise Gray F 6-8 235 RS-Sr. Flint, Mich. (Beecher)

Head Coach: Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan, 1977)

Associate Head Coach: Mark Montgomery (Michigan State, 1992)

Assistant Coaches: Dwayne Stephens (Michigan State, 1993); Mike Garland (Northern Michigan, 1977)



Upcoming Games


13 *KANSAS STATE (B12) ....... 7 p.m.

17 *at Colorado (ABC) ........... 2:30 p.m.

19 *TEXAS A&M (ESPN) .......... 8 p.m.

24 *at Iowa State (ESPN) ............ 1 p.m.

28 *at Nebraska (ESPN2) ....... 6:30 p.m.

31 *COLORADO (ESPNU) ........ 3 p.m.