Earlier this week, Tom Izzo said he was going to use Wednesdays game against North Carolina to see how much progress his team has made so far this season.
After MSU disposed of the sixth-ranked Tar Heels by 13 points, the MSU mens basketball coach said he was encouraged by what he saw.
I was pleased with a lot of things, even though Im not sure we were great, he said. We have a long way to go but we made some progress.
First, Izzo noted how well freshman guard Marcus Taylor and freshman center Zach Randolph are developing.
I think I found out that the freshmen are learning how to compete and thats big, he said.
Next, Izzo said he admired the grit and determination that senior guard Charlie Bell, senior forward Andre Hutson and sophomore guard Jason Richardson showed Wednesday.
Those three kids were warriors at times, he said. They played tired. They played hurt.
Up next for No. 3 MSU (4-0) is Illinois-Chicago (2-2). Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Breslin Student Events Center, where the MSU mens basketball team has won 32 games in a row. Only Utah has a longer home winning streak, with 54.
The Flames are currently 2-2 with both losses coming on the road. The Spartans also own the nations longest winning streak with 15 games.
MSU is 11-3 all-time against Illinois-Chicago. The last time the two teams played, MSU rolled to a 77-33 victory two years ago.
Illinois-Chicago is led by a trio of players averaging about 11 points a game - guard Joel Bullock and forwards Joe Scott and Maurice Brown.
The team itself averages 72 points a game, while yielding 67.3 points.
For Illinois-Chicago, points will be a premium since the Spartans allow opponents to score an average of 60.5 points a game.
MSU averages 86.5 points per game and wins by a 26-point margin. Illinois-Chicago only wins by a mere 4.7 points.
Welcome to the club
With his 14-point effort Wednesday, Andre Hutson was the 30th Spartan to surpass 1,000 career points. Hutson currently has 1,003 points and is the 30th leading scorer in school history. Senior guard Charlie Bell has 1,095 points and is MSUs 25th all-time leading scorer.