After their worst offensive performance in nearly three years, the Hoosiers (12-6, 2-3 Big Ten) head to one of toughest venues in all of college basketball. Not exactly ideal, but it's the reality of conference play.
"We didn't follow the game plan, to put it very simply," Indiana coach Tom Crean said of the first meeting. "The other thing was that we weren't strong enough with the ball. We were a little sloppy with it at times. The biggest thing for us was the 13 points that Michigan State got off ‘live ball' turnovers in that game. But there are certain things you need to do against Michigan State and when we have done them the last couple years, we have done a pretty good job. Obviously we had a different team the last couple years with different players, but there are still certain things in every game that become ‘gameplan specific' for that game. There are certain personnel tendencies that guys have that you have to take advantage of.
"The other thing was we really let Gary Harris get far too comfortable and loose in the game and he did a phenomenal job. And now he is playing even better than he was then. There is no question that we could have played a lot better (in the first game) and we didn't. So hopefully we will learn from some of that right now."
After Saturday's loss, Crean said he would hold a midnight practice if it weren't against the rules and said the team would practice the next morning. On Monday, he said he didn't have a full practice on Sunday but that the team would do some work Monday.
The No. 3 Spartans (17-1, 6-0) will likely play without center Adreian Payne, who has missed the last three games due to injury. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Monday that Payne was "doubtful" and it would likely come down to a game time decision.
But even without Payne, Michigan State has been playing very well. The Spartans have won all three games in his absence by double figures, including Saturday's 78-62 victory at Illinois.
"Gary Harris is playing at an extremely high level and I think that has a lot to do with it," Crean said. "I think they have different players that are showing different things on different nights. Denzel Valentine might not have a great game one night but then he turns around and has a tremendous game.
"They are showing the product of the fact that they have a pretty good understanding of how they play. The new guys that come in, much like some of the other better teams in this league, they are adjusting to the veterans. And the veterans help them along rather than the other way around. That is a sign of a great team with where they are at."
Michigan State really doesn't have an obvious weakness. It averages 115.9 points per 100 possessions, ranking 20th nationally, and allows only 91.3 points per 100 possessions, ranking 11th.
After Saturday's loss to Northwestern, Indiana dropped 23 spots in the KenPom rankings, from No. 55 to No. 78. KenPom likes Michigan State to beat Indiana 80-64, with an eight percent chance of the Hoosiers pulling out a win.