East Lansing, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - The Breslin Center is the site for this evening's Big Ten Conference clash between the Indian Hoosiers and the third- ranked Michigan State Spartans.
Michigan State traveled to Bloomington earlier in the season and routed Indiana in a 73-56 final. The victory ended a three-game win streak for the Hoosiers in the series, which they lead by a 68-48 margin.
The Hoosiers don't have a ton of momentum entering this difficult test. On Saturday, they brought Northwestern to Assembly Hall and fell in a 54-47 decision. The loss was the third in the last five games for Indiana, which is 12-6 overall, but only 2-3 in Big Ten action. The Hoosiers return home to face Illinois next.
It was that same Illinois team that Michigan State made easy work of in Champaign on Saturday, to the tune of a 78-62 final. The Spartans are a perfect 6-0 in conference and have won 10 straight games overall. They will host in-state rival Michigan next time out.
Noah Vonleh finished with a double-double (17 points, 12 rebounds) against Northwestern. Aside from his freshman forward's effort, Tom Crean got very little from the rest of his team, with the Hoosiers sinking a paltry 25 percent of their field goal attempts.
Roster turnover has clearly dropped the efficiency level for Indiana this season. The Hoosiers are third in the Big Ten in scoring and fourth nationally in rebounding, but they are only connecting on 44.9 percent from the floor. Vonleh (12.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg) has been a revelation in his rookie campaign, leading the Big Ten in rebounding. Yogi Ferrell (17.2 ppg, 4 apg) is the more explosive offensive threat, but he hit just 2-of-14 shots from the field to finish with nine points against Northwestern. Will Sheehey (10.4 ppg), who is a 3-point marksman, tallied only two points in the loss, missing all three of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Gary Harris poured in a game-high 23 points and Denzel Valentine had a double- double consisting of 15 points and 11 rebounds in Michigan State's win over Indiana. The Spartans shot 55.8 percent from the floort and claimed a 38-25 edge on the glass.
Tom Izzo's squad has been controlling foes from a defensive standpoint this season, allowing just 63.8 ppg on the ninth-best opponent field goal percentage (.377) in the country. The Spartans are also second in the Big Ten in both scoring (80.4 ppg) and field goal percentage (.479), while coming in third nationally in assists (18 apg). Harris (17.9 ppg) leads the way, and he is second in the conference in scoring, placing him just a spot ahead of Ferrell. Keith Appling (16.1 ppg, 4.6 apg) is another strong scoring guard, as well as a talented distributor. Adreian Payne (16.2 ppg 7.7 rpg) has left a hole on the interior as he suffered a sprained right foot, but Branden Dawson (10.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg) is a solid frontcourt performer.