This is what it’s all about at Michigan State, or is it? The Spartans take on No. 18 Indiana tonight in Bloomington for the outright Big Ten title.
The No. 5-ranked Spartans (24-5 overall, 13-3 B1G) already secured a piece the title last weekend when Wisconsin topped Ohio State. With a win tonight over the Hoosiers, the Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines can longer grasp a piece of the championship. If the Spartans lose tonight and again on Sunday to Ohio State, there could be a chance that all three would share the championship.
“We’re playing for a lot more than sharing a Big Ten title,” senior Draymond Green said.
The Spartans have won six in a row against Indiana, including the conference opener way back on Dec. 28. MSU might have won that game 80-65, but that game was far from a blowout.
MSU, however, is a more well-oiled machine at this point in the season and the Hoosiers know it.
“They really seem to be clicking on all cylinders right now,” Indiana Tom Crean said. “They are certainly a worthy champion in the way that they have played the conference season, so we know that we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
If the Spartans are going to win tonight, they’ll need to keep super freshman Cody Zeller in check. He averages 15 points per game, but MSU held him to only four points in the first game. And if they do win, it will lock the Spartans in as a No. 1 seed. They will have done what No. 1 Kentucky was unable to do, and as the regular season Big Ten champ, there is no other choice for the selection committee to make.
But if you think this is where the goals stop for the Spartans, think again.
“This is our seventh in my era, so been there, done that before,” Izzo said of a Big Ten championship. “It’s going to be great, and there’s going to be a day for it to be really special for hopefully you, for me, for them, for our fans. It’s just not now because our goal at the beginning of the year is to play deep into the NCAA tournament and win a Big Ten championship.”
No. 5 Michigan State at No. 18 Indiana
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Line: Spartans by 2