By Don Phillips
#22 INDIANA (20-5, 10-2) at #8/9 MICHIGAN STATE (20-5, 7-5)
Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016 1:00 p.m. ET
East Lansing, Michigan
Breslin Center (14,797)
TV: CBS (Ian Eagle & Bill Raftery)
Radio: IU Radio Network
(Don Fischer, Errek Suhr and Joe Smith)
Series Record: Indiana leads, 67-52
Last Meeting:at IU 72, MSU 74 (3/7/15)
The win over No. 4/5 Iowa on Feb. 11 improved the Hoosiers to 6-1 against teams in the Top 5 in Assembly Hall since the 2011-12 season.
On Feb. 2 at Michigan, Indiana went on a 28-0 run over a 10:29 span that covered the final 9:05 of the first half and the first 1:24 of the second half to turn an 11-point deficit into a 17-point lead.
Thomas Bryant tallied a season-high 23 points in the win against Minnesota on 11-of-13 shooting from the field. He scored four key points in the final minutes to help IU come back after trailing with less than four minutes to go. The IU defense also held the Gophers to just one 1 point in last 3:54.
Ferrell scored 30 points at Wisconsin on Jan. 26, his second 30+-point game of the season. The last IU player to do that was Eric Gordon during the 2007-08 season.
The Hoosiers won three straight Big Ten opponents at home by at least 25 points (Ohio State-25, Illinois-34, Northwestern-32). The last time Indiana achieved this was the 1987-88 season (Minnesota-29, Northwestern-29, Michigan State-37).
Michigan State has proven to be a strong defensive team in 2015-16. The Spartans rank in the Top 15 nationally in scoring defense (14th, 62.9), field-goal percentage defense (4th, .370) and 3-point field-goal percentage defense (4th, .282). Just 10 teams have shot better than 40 percent from the field and just seven have bettered 35 percent behind the 3-point arc. Over the last four games, MSU is holding opponents to 61.2 points, .353 FG% and .278 3FG%.
Michigan State owns an impressive nation’s-best +12.8 rebounding margin, as the Spartans have out-rebounded 22 of 24 opponents this season, including Louisville by +10, after the Cardinals entered the game with a +21.4 margin. In the Tom Izzo era, MSU has outrebounded 554 of 718 opponents (.772), posting a 439-115 (.792) mark in those games.
The Spartans have led the nation in rebounding in four of the last 16 seasons (2000, 2001, 2009, 2010), ranking in the Top 10 nine times and the Top 25 on 12 occasions. MSU has led the Big Ten in rebounding margin in conference games in 12 of the last 18 years and in 13 of 20 seasons under Tom Izzo.
Michigan State currently ranks first in the Big Ten and fourth nationally, shooting .424 from behind the arc overall. In conference games, the Spartans are shooting a Big Ten-best .452, after shooting .588 over the last three contests (47-80). Individually, the Spartans are led by Bryn Forbes at .503, ranking third in the nation and first in the Big Ten, while Denzel Valentine ranks 10th in the conference at .440.
Valentine leads the Big Ten, averaging 3.3 made 3-pointers per contest, while Forbes ranks second (3.1 pg). Nine different Spartans have made a 3-pointer. MSU ranks fourth in the Big Ten in 3-point field goals made (209, 8.7 pg) overall, and third in conference games (100, 9.1 pg). Defensively, MSU also ranks fourth in the nation in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (.282).
Michigan State is a 7-point favorite at America’s Bookie with the number set at 148 1/2. Check out all the NCAA Basketball free service plays and picks from professional handicappers leading up to March Madness at A1 Service Plays.
Selection: Michigan State