Baby-stepping Spartans face man-sized test in Columbus

BY foxsports • February 14, 2011

Feb. 14, 2011

For the Michigan State basketball team, there's no better way to try to earn back some respect around the Big Ten, even nationally, than going into Ohio State.

Senior guard Kalin Lucas said he and some of his teammates were talking last week about how they wanted the Buckeyes to stay undefeated for Tuesday night's game.

That didn't happen. Ohio State had its perfect season end Saturday at Wisconsin, but this remains a great opportunity for the Spartans to show they're better than many people believe.

"Yeah, yeah, it is," Lucas said. "So we've got to bring our A game. We've got to make sure we come out with a lot of energy and be aggressive. It's going to be a dogfight game."

Michigan State showed signs of life in its last game, a 75-57 victory over Penn State on Thursday. It came after five losses in six games, including two straight by a total of 46 points.

Spartans coach Tom Izzo said his team hadn't exactly "conquered the world," but that it did indeed take "a step in the right direction."

"Baby steps," Izzo stressed. "We're trying to work our way out of hell."

The fastest way out would be to an upset of the first-place Buckeyes (24-1, 11-1 Big Ten). It's the only time the teams meet this season in the Big Ten's 18-game schedule.

Whether Michigan State can win on the road against a quality team remains doubtful. Izzo called facing Ohio State a "daunting task."

The Spartans (14-10, 6-6) have lost their past five road games

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