Indiana vs Michigan State Preview and Prediction
Indiana vs Michigan State Preview
It wasn’t too long ago the Michigan State Spartans were the No.1 team in the country, reeling off win after win. It goes to show how much can change in less than two weeks in college basketball. Currently, the Spartans are sitting at the No.9 spot in the rankings after losing two of their last three games, including an 82-72 home loss to rival Michigan on Saturday.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo believes it’s due to parity across the sport.
“As you can see, the league is crazy,” he said. “Teams around the whole country are that way. I’ll be honest with you, I thought we’d probably drop into maybe 20th with the two losses. When I looked at it and why we didn’t, it’s because everybody’s got the same issues we got. Right now I’m not sure anybody is able to handle any success.”
. “We’re going to have to learn,” Izzo said. “We’re going to get people’s best shot and we’re a little young to learn that. Concerning a bunch of juniors and seniors, they’re coming in this week that have been through the wars. So, we’ve just got to grow up quicker and I think we’ll do that, I really do.”
Getting the ball in the post more often would also help the Spartans. Their best interior threat, Nick Ward, scored a combined seven points in losses to Ohio State and Michigan.
“Got to get the ball to Nick more. Got to get the ball out of double teams a little better,” Izzo said. “He’s not doing a good job of getting deep, we’re not doing a good job of passing it in and the coaches aren’t doing a very good job of figuring out how to get it in. That’s what we’ve been working on and what we are going to work on.”
Indiana has won three straight, including a 66-46 thumping of Northwestern in Bloomington on Sunday. The Hoosiers (11-7, 4-2 Big Ten) are now tied for fourth place with the Spartans (16-3, 4-2) in the conference standings. One of the best defensive efforts in years and a hot second half shooting performance carried IU to the win over Northwestern. IU held the Wildcats (who came in averaging 74 points per game) to 46, the third lowest total the Hoosiers had allowed in a Big Ten game since 2000. They also limited the visitors to 26.8% shooting (the 2nd lowest output for an IU opponent since 2000). The Hoosiers shot 60.9% in the second half.
Junior Juwan Morgan is 9th in the league in scoring (17.5), 6th in rebounding (8.3), 5th in steals (1.5) and 7th in field goal percentage (61.8%) in Big Ten play. He had his 6th double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds against Penn State. He is the most improved player in the Big Ten upping his scoring 7.9 points per game since last season overall and +10.2 points in league play.
The Hoosiers also rely heavily on guards Robert Johnson and Josh Newkirk, who combined for 29 points on Sunday.
“I think when you get into league play, you’re only as good as your guards,” coach Archie Miller said. “When you have solid play at the guard spot it helps you.”
The Hoosiers haven’t been effective in true road games this season, losing four of five. If they want to continue moving up the standings, that has to change.
“I think we’re going to go back and try to build each day in practice this week,” Johnson said. “I’m sure we’ll be confident when we head down there.”
I fully expect the Spartans to end their losing ways tonight. The Hoosiers are an improving team, but Archie Miller is in year one of what looks to be a multi-year rebuild to fully compete in the Big Ten. If this game was in Bloomington, it would be a lot closer–but with Indiana struggling mightily on the road, look for Sparty to win the game and cover the points.
LINE: 15 MSU
Michigan State 81 Indiana 62