Ho-hum. Another week in the Big Ten means another NCAA Final Four-type matchup. This time, it’s No. 1 Indiana at No. 4 Michigan State on Tuesday night.
The Hoosiers beat the Spartans 75-70 at home on Jan. 27. With these two teams tied for the league lead, MSU needs a split of the series to negate the head-to-head tiebreaker.
“We have no choice but to let it all hang out,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “I’ve said all along that I thought Indiana was the best team in the league with its depth and size and a couple of other guys playing a little better.
“It’s going to take an incredible effort by my assistants, an incredible effort by my team and an incredible effort by the fans. They are worthy of their ranking. We are worthy of being a very good team.”
Indiana coach Tom Crean, a former Izzo assistant, isn’t buying his old boss saying “we’re kinda worthy.”
“Their team is good, and they’ve been good for a long time,” Crean said. “They are good throughout the season.
“To say that they are doing a great job now discredits what they did in November, December and January. When you look at the overall team, the body of work speaks for itself.”
Indiana has lost 17 straight games at Michigan State. The Spartans are 15-0 at home this season.
Player of the week: Michigan point guard Trey Burke. The 6-foot sophomore from Columbus, Ohio, had 18 points, four assists and three steals in a loss to Michigan State and 29 points and five assists in a win over Penn State. This is the third time Burke has won the award this season and fourth overall.
Rookie of the week: Michigan State guard Gary Harris. The 6-4 freshman from Fishers, Ind., had 17 points, three assists and three steals in a win over Michigan and 14 points and four rebounds in a win over Nebraska. This is the third time Harris has won the award.
Quote of the week
Minnesota coach Tubby Smith, who has coached 729 games, commenting after his team took a 21-5 lead over Iowa, then got outscored 67-30 to lose by 21:
“I don’t know if I have ever seen such a dramatic turnaround in such a short period of time out of any team I have coached. It is about as disappointing a loss as I have had.”
Bits and pieces
Indiana guard Victor Oladipo, who sprained an ankle during Saturday’s game, practiced some on Sunday and should be ready for Tuesday’s game at Michigan State, Crean said. ... The Big Ten is the only league in the country that has three teams with at least 22 wins so far. ... Purdue lost to in-state rival Indiana by 37 and 28 points this season. The Boilermakers had never lost to IU by more than 20 points twice in a season.