LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – In two weeks Michigan State moved from the best team in the country to the third-best team in the Big Ten. Losing to Ohio State and Michigan and needing overtime to beat Rutgers will do that to a team’s reputation.

Some wondered if that made Friday night a good time for Indiana to visit the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich. The teams were tied for third in the league with 4-2 records.

One word answer:


Michigan State 85, Indiana 57.  Or as one Twitter observer said, “Men Vs. Boys.”

Give Michigan State coach Tom Izzo five days to keep his team in the practice lab and chances are the Spartans will start looking like the team everybody expected them to be in November.

They did, blocking shots, making threes, dominating the paint and playing the Muscle Beach style that Izzo loves. 

The Spartans were too strong, fast, deep and relentless for the Hoosiers, ringing up 18 straight points in the first half and rolling to their best win in two weeks. Izzo's team was already taller and wider than Indiana inside but State's advantage grew after IU forward Juwan Morgan injured an ankle with less than four minutes to play in the first half.

According to several reporters at the game, Morgan left the Breslin Center on crutches:

Morgan, IU's top scorer and rebounder, did not return -- even to the bench. On his post-game radio show, IU coach Archie Miller said that he did not know the severity of Morgan's injury. He will be evaluated when the team returns to Bloomington. He was kept in the locker room for treatment. Morgan finished with two points and three rebounds in 16 minutes.

Izzo was so focused on getting his team back on track that he recruited former Yankee Alex Rodriguez to deliver the pre-game pep talk and then watch the game from student seating.

Indiana started like the team that had won its last three Big Ten games against Minnesota, Penn State and Northwestern. Robert Johnson scored eight points as IU moved to a 10-9 lead.

But this was not Minnesota, Penn State or Northwestern. It was an edgy Michigan State team that was embarrassed by a home loss to in-state rival Michigan last Saturday.IU went from 10-9 ahead to 27-10 behind – and that was not the most alarming development of the first half.

Without Morgan and center De’Ron Davis, who is out for the season with Achilles’ tendon surgery, Indiana had nobody to deal with the Spartans’ mountainous front line of Nick Ward, Jaron Jackson Jr. and Miles Bridges.

It didn’t work.

IU was outscored in the paint 38-18. Michigan State is the top shot-blocking team in the nation, and the Spartans swatted seven more against IU.

Indiana relied on jump shots, mostly three-point shots. That’s not an Indiana specialty. IU took 26 of its 59 shots from distance. But the Hoosiers were eight of 26 from the three-point line. Indiana got 21 points from Robert Johnson, 14 from Josh Newkirk and nine from Justin Smith. Nobody else scored more than five.

Indiana has little time to regroup. Almost none. The Hoosiers play three times in the next eight days – Monday vs. Maryland, Wednesday at Illinois and Sunday Jan. 28 at home with Purdue.

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