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
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
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
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
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
“Right now, we are just focused on getting the spirit and energy
back, and really the believability that you can play and win,”
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.