Indiana vs. Michigan State Gameday

HoosierNation.com previews the matchup pitting No. 9/8 Indiana (10-2/2-0) and No. 14/15 Michigan State (12-4/0-2), which tips off Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.

Game Particulars: Indiana vs. Michigan State
No. 9/8 (AP/Coaches) Indiana (10-2/2-0) travels to East Lansing, Mich., to face No. 14/15 Michigan State (12-4/0-2) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. Indiana enters the game on a five-game winning streak, while Michigan State won 10 in a row before dropping Big Ten road games at Illinois and Wisconsin last week. Indiana owns a 61-40 edge in the all-time series, but hasn't won in East Lansing since 1991 – streak of 11 consecutive losses. A year ago, Indiana won the teams' only meeting 78-74 in overtime in Bloomington. Indiana scored the final six points of regulation to send the game to overtime, and then scored eight straight in the extra period to pull away. Bracey Wright led IU with 32 points, while D.J. White added 17.

IU is coached by Mike Davis, who is in his sixth year as Indiana's head coach and owns a 106-69 career mark, including a 4-5 record against Michigan State. Indiana has been to the postseason in four of Davis' five seasons (three NCAA invitations). Michigan State, meanwhile, is coached by Tom Izzo, who is in his 11th year in East Lansing and owns a 245-101 record at the Big Ten school. Izzo has led the Spartans to four Final Fours in the last seven years, including a national championship in 1999. He is 10-7 all-time against Indiana.

The game will be televised by ESPN, with Brent Musburger (play-by-play) and Steve Lavin (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2005-06 Schedule

Michigan State 2005-06 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
#9/8 Indiana (10-2/2-0)
PG- Lewis Monroe (6-5, 192, Sr.) – 4.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.7 apg
SG-Marshall Strickland (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 13.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg,, 2.3 apg, 51.5% 3 pt. shooting
WG – A.J. Ratliff (6-2, 183, So.) 3.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 33.3% 3 pt. shooting
PF – Robert Vaden (6-5, 225, So.) 14.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.8 apg, 51.8% 3 pt. shooting
C - Marco Killingsworth (6-8, 270, Sr.) – 19.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.3 apg, 62.9% FG shooting

#14/15 Michigan State (12-4/0-2)
PG- Drew Neitzel (6-0, 175, So.) – 8.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 5.3 apg, 47.1% 3 pt. shooting
SG- Shannon Brown (6-2, 205, Jr.) – 1518.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 42.2% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Maurice Ager (6-5, 202, Sr.) – 20.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.1 apg, 37.0% 3 pt. shooting
PF- Marquise Gray (6-8, 228, Fr.) – 3.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.5 apg
C – Paul Davis (6-11, 270, Sr.) – 18.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.7 apg, 58.3% FG shooting

Indiana 2005-06 Statistics

Michigan State 2005-06 Statistics

INJURY UPDATE
Indiana – D.J White is out indefinitely with a broken left foot, which he suffered Saturday against Ohio State. He is expected to miss at least 4-6 weeks, and very well may be done for the season. Lewis Monroe's status, meanwhile, is also up in the air after the senior point guard was unable to practice on Monday. James Hardy also remains absent from the team. IU Coach Mike Davis said the 6-7, 215-pound forward remains out with a myriad of injuries dating back to the football season.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
What happens in the first five minutes? – Michigan State is in desperate need of a win, and they'll likely come out and play like that from the game's opening tip. Indiana, meanwhile, has to bounce back from the emotional letdown of finding out that D.J. White is most likely out for the remainder of the season. The first five minutes will tell just how focused Indiana is on seizing a golden opportunity to put the Spartans out to pasture when it comes to winning the Big Ten regular season championship. While Marco Killingsworth has been among the country's best post players, he's often struggled in the early going of games, committing a couple of turnovers before he finds his rhythm. That kind of slow start wouldn't bode well for the Hoosiers.

Can Indiana Keep Maurice Ager from getting untracked? - Having witnessed Maurice Ager's 36-point barrage against Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational first hand, it's almost unfathomable to picture this sharpshooter averaging just 10.0 points in MSU's first two Big Ten games. He's done that thanks to 8-of-27 shooting, including just two 3-pointers in nine attempts. While he's still a bit overshadowed by teammates Paul Davis and Shannon Brown, Ager is among the most complete wing players in college basketball. He's usually a lights-out 3-pointer shooter, and he combines that with the ability to attack off the dribble, score in transition and play above the rim. It will likely be up to A.J. Ratliff to try to slow him down. Ratliff can match his athleticism, something very few players can do. Keep an eye on Ager early, as Michigan State figures to try to get him going early after his recent struggles.

Big Men Are Big Trouble - Indiana would love to have the luxury of alternating Marco Killingsworth and D.J. White on Paul Davis. Davis is Michigan State's 6-11, 270-pound center who can score around the basket with the best of them, while also having the skills to step outside and shoot from 15-18 feet. White's injury, though, means the responsibility will fall to Killingsworth. Killingsworth isn't as adept at stepping outside and defending on the perimeter as White, so watch for Davis to try to hurt Indiana with the mid-range jump shot. Ultimately, Killingsworth's best defense might be a good offense. While Davis hasn't fouled out of any games yet this season, he's always been foul prone, and has a tendency to pick up a foolish foul or two during the course of a game. Killingsworth, meanwhile, is as good as anyone in the country in getting to the foul line, always looking for contact when he elevates.

Can Indiana hold its own on the boards? - The loss of D.J. White is significant, particularly on the boards. IU Coach Mike Davis admitted after Michigan's Graham Brown pulled down 21 rebounds last week that his team was never going to be a great rebounding team this season, and White's absence makes that even more of an issue. Michigan State, meanwhile, is known for its relentless work on the boards, boasting a +7.0 rebounding margin this season. If Indiana doesn't block out on the defensive end – an area that has been lacking recently – watch out for athletes such as Marquise Gray, Shannon Brown and Ager to crash the boards for rim-rattling putbacks. That will get the crowd going, something else IU wants to avoid.

QUOTABLES
"It's going to be a dogfight. It's going to be like war. They've lost two away games now, and they are going to fight like hell to get a win against us." – IU freshman Ben Allen.

"This is a big game for us. I've been to Michigan State before, and two years ago we came out with a lot of energy, and we just lost it at the end. They have a great atmosphere, and their players feed off that. It's going to be really intense.

"We have a pretty good chance up there. The first five minutes will be the biggest part, and then from there we just need to do what we need to do to win the game." – junior guard Rod Wilmont.

"Losing DJ hurts, but I think Ben and Kline and those guys can step up and play. They just have to play our system." – Mike Davis.

"They're a good basketball team. You can't look at their conference record, because anyone can lose two games on the road, especially at Illinois and Wisconsin. They're going to come out Wednesday night and really push the ball up the court. I'm sure they were concerned about DJ and Marco playing together. But Coach Izzo is a great coach and he'll have his guys ready to play."-IU Coach Mike Davis.

"We have to go in there and try to win. This can't be a game that we go into saying, ‘well, if we lose, it's no big deal.' It's a big deal."-IU Coach Mike Davis.

DID YOU KNOW…
Indiana ranks 12th in the latest RPI ratings, while Michigan State is 21st. Indiana is 1-1 against teams currently ranked in the RPI's top 25 (L. vs. Duke, W vs. Ohio State), 1-0 vs. teams ranked No. 26-50 (W vs. Kentucky) and 3-0 vs. teams ranked 51-100 (W vs. Michigan, W vs. Butler, W vs. Charlotte)…Michigan State averaged 82.5 points in its 12 non-conference games but only 56.5 in its first two Big Ten contests…Michigan State opens the Big Ten season against four consecutive ranked teams (Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio State), and Tom Izzo is 55-50 all-time against ranked opponents…in the last seven years, Michigan State is 105-7 at the Breslin Center…Indiana has seen its rebounding margin plummet since the start of league play. After owning a +6.5 rebound margin in non-conference games, Indiana has been out-rebounded by an average of 9.5 in league games…Michigan State is 9-1 when it out-rebounds its foes and 3-3 when it doesn't…Maurice Ager has scored 20+ points in 11 of Michigan State's 16 games, tops on the team. Paul Davis has eclipsed 20 seven times, while Shannon Brown has done it six times. Each of the three has one 30+ point game this season…Paul Davis ranks 13th on MSU's all-time scoring list with 1,432 points. He needs 37 points to pass Charlie Bell for 12th, and he'll likely pass Bell, Chris Hill, Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson during the Big Ten slate…Indiana has won 30 straight games when it shoots 50 percent or better from the floor, and is 41-3 during Mike Davis' tenure when IU hits the 50 percent mark.

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