Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Coming up next, the Indiana Hoosiers

In a half-hour, the MSU basketball team will take on Indiana for a chance at an outright Big Ten championship.  How motivated will the Spartans be after already clinching a share of the title?  After hearing Izzo talk about not being satisfied, and with a senior leader like Draymond Green on the floor, I suspect motivation will not be a factor.  The biggest question might be, how well will Indiana play?  The Hoosiers demolished Minnesota on the road (though I wonder how flat the Gophers may have been after what must have been a demoralizing loss to MSU last week). Still, the Assembly Hall crowd should be revved up, and I expect IU to come out with tremendous energy.  The Spartans biggest challenge might be weathering the initial onslaught of energy that the Hoosiers may bring in the beginning of the game.  I have to give a slight edge to the Hoosiers tonight, but the Spartans should be highly motivated, so it will be a dogfight.

Although the Spartans definitely don't want to back into an outright championship, it still might happen (if IU beats them tonight).  Ohio State has been stumbling, and they have a road game coming up tomorrow night against a desperate Northwestern team that is fighting to get into its first ever NCAA tournament.  It's also senior night in Evanston, so expect even more electricity from the crowd and the Wildcats.  Michigan, the other Big Ten team in line for a share of the conference crown, finishes the season with two road games against Illinois and Penn State.  Though Illinois has had a disappointing season, they may still have one or two wins left in them.  Penn State is a tough out at home (just ask Purdue).

It should be an interesting week of Big Ten basketball.  I'll be tuning in to tonight's game and will try to write a follow-up in here after it's over, win or lose.

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