Preview: No. 9 Spartans look to bounce back against Indiana
Who: Indiana University
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Where: Breslin Center
TV/Radio: FS1/ 94.9 WMMQ-FM (Lansing)
MSU head coach Tom Izzo has noticed a trend he thinks is important to note in MSU’s losses before Indiana comes to town.
In all three of MSU's losses, opposing scorers have gone off for career-highs: Grayson Allen scored 37 for Duke, Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop scored 32 and Moritz Wagner had 27 for University of Michigan.
Izzo said he thinks for the Spartans (16-3, 4-2 Big Ten) to beat the Hoosiers (11-7, 4-2), they must bring their best to avoid their third loss in the last four games.
“I think one thing we got to figure out is, you know, this team is. ... People are going to play their best games against us,” Izzo said on Tuesday. “And whether we’re ready for that or not, too young for it, it seems to be a little bit of a problem.”
Indiana, however, has won its last three games, despite losing forward De’Ron Davis, who was ruled out for the remainder of the season on Jan. 10 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn right Achilles tendon he sustained in practice.
Izzo announced Tuesday wing Kyle Ahrens was also ruled out for the remainder of the season. Ahrens, a 6-foot-6 junior from Versailles, Ohio, initially sustained a stress reaction in his right foot during the summer and hasn’t played at all this season. He averaged 2.6 points and 1.1 rebounds in eight-plus minutes last season.
Davis, a 6-foot-10 native of Park Hill, Colorado, started in 15 games and averaged 4.3 rebounds and 9.6 points. However, the Hoosiers still have their top scorers, forward Juwan Morgan and guard Robert Johnson.
Morgan leads all scorers and is the team’s top rebounder, averaging 16.0 points and 7.5 boards. Johnson is averaging 13.4 points in 33.3 minutes and has started all 17 games this season.
Though opponents have found success shooting against the Spartans recently, Indiana comes in shooting 46 percent from the floor this season and 30.5 percent from 3-point range. MSU is also averaging more rebounds than the Hoosiers, 42.4-37.5
Izzo said his focus on Friday won’t be on what first-year coach Archie Miller or the Hoosiers do, but rather on getting MSU back into a rhythm.
“It’s probably more about us than it is about them, got to take care of our own issues,” he said. “Got to get the ball to Nick (Ward) more. Got to get the ball out of double teams a little better. Although when I go back and look at the film, it hasn’t happened as much as you’d think. He’s not doing a good job of getting deep, we’re not doing a good job of passing it in and the coaches aren’t doing a very good job of figuring out how to get it in.”
Casey Harrison: MSU 84, IU 68
Michael Duke: MSU 85, IU 69