Michigan St.-Indiana Preview

With Kalin Lucas apparently healthy, Michigan State appears back

on track following its roughest stretch this season.

After snapping a three-game losing streak, the 11th-ranked

Spartans look for a fourth straight victory over struggling Indiana

on Tuesday night in a Big Ten matchup at Assembly Hall.

Nursing a sprained ankle, Lucas had 24 points with six assists

as Michigan State (20-6, 10-3) won 65-54 at last-place Penn State

on Saturday.

While that snapped the Spartans’ longest skid in three years,

and kept them tied atop the conference standings, it gave promise

that Lucas (15.8 points per game) is healthy again.

The reigning conference player of year played 35 minutes in his

best game since injuring his ankle in a 67-49 loss at then-No. 16

Wisconsin on Feb. 2. The junior then missed a loss at Illinois, and

came off the bench with 12 points on 2 of 6 shooting in a 12-point

home loss to former No. 6 Purdue last Tuesday.

“It’s hard to play well against good teams without your

quarterback, and our quarterback might have played his best game of

the year,” said Spartans coach Tom Izzo, whose team averaged 62.0

points on 41.3 percent shooting during their three-game skid.

Lucas didn’t miss a beat over the weekend as Michigan State used

a 13-0 second-half run to keep the Nittany Lions winless in league

play.

That’s a good sign for the Spartans, who conclude a stretch of

playing six of eight on the road. Lucas is a big reason why

Michigan State is 5-2 away from home in conference play, as he

averages 16.7 points on 52.1 shooting in six Big Ten road

games.

Izzo, however, would like to see more support so his squad won’t

have to rely completely on Lucas as he continues to mend. Chris

Allen had 14 points Saturday, but was the only other Spartans

player in double figures.

“We have to get everyone healthy and shooting better,” said

Izzo, who’ll coach his 500th game while facing his former assistant

and good friend Tom Crean on Tuesday.

Michigan State has shot well during a three-game winning streak

against Indiana, making 51.5 percent of its shots while averaging

80.7 points. Lucas had 15 and Raymar Morgan’s dunk with 27 seconds

helped the Spartans snap a four-game road slide to the Hoosiers

with a 64-59 win in the teams’ last meeting March 3.

Morgan is averaging 5.2 points in his last five games, but 17.0

on 13 of 15 shooting in his last two against Indiana.

While Michigan State appears headed in a positive direction once

again, Indiana (9-15, 3-9) looks to avoid extending its season-high

losing streak to seven after falling 83-55 at Wisconsin on

Saturday.

Christian Watford scored 15 points and Verdell Jones overcame

the flu to add 11 for the Hoosiers, who’ve shot 39.2 percent and

averaged 56.0 points while losing their last three by a combined 62

points.

“Right now, we are just focused on getting the spirit and energy

back, and really the believability that you can play and win,”

Crean said.

Though Jones (14.6 ppg) is likely to play, key reserve Devan

Dumes could miss a second straight game with the flu as the

Hoosiers try to snap a three-game home losing streak. Jones scored

15 against the Spartans at home last season.

Indiana has lost 13 in a row against Top 25 opponents after

beating then-No. 14 Purdue 77-68 on Feb. 19, 2008.