Indiana vs. Michigan State Gameday

Indiana (18-8/8-5) whipped Michigan State (20-8/7-6) by 22 when the two teams met last month in Bloomington, but the Hoosiers figure to have their hands full against a Spartan team that is coming off a nine-point win over No. 1 Wisconsin earlier in the week…

Game Particulars: Indiana (18-8/8-5 Big Ten) vs. Michigan State (20-8/7-6 Big Ten)
Coach Kelvin Sampson's squad will face one of its toughest tests of the season tonight when it faces a red hot Michigan State team at 9 p.m. at the Breslin Center. A four-game losing streak earlier this month had many thinking Michigan State might miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997, but the Spartans have since won three in a row, including a 32-point win over Iowa last weekend and a nine-point win over No. 1 Wisconsin Tuesday. Indiana, meanwhile, has lost three out of its last five and hasn't won in East Lansing since 1993.

IU is coached by Kelvin Sampson, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and owns an 18-8 record in Bloomington and a 473-265 career mark in 23-plus seasons. Michigan State, meanwhile, is coached by Tom Izzo, who in his 12th year at the helm of the Spartan program. Izzo owns a 275-117 record in East Lansing, has led Michigan State to four Final Fours (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005) and won the 2000 national title.

The game will be televised by ESPN, with Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Dick Vitale (color commentary) and Erin Andrews (sideline reporter) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2006-07 Schedule

Michigan State 2006-07 Schedule

Indiana (18-8/8-5 Big Ten)
PG- Armon Bassett (6-1, 176, Fr.) – 8.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.9 apg, 40.5% 3 pt. shooting
SG- A.J. Ratliff (6-2, 185, Jr.) – 9.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, 40% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Roderick Wilmont (6-4, 205, Sr.) – 12.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.0 apg, 39.6% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Mike White (6-6, 232, Jr.) – 3.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.2 apg, 51.9% FG shooting
PF – D.J. White (6-9, 251, Jr.) – 14.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.3 apg, 2.2 bpg, 52.2% FG shooting

Michigan State (20-8/7-6 Big Ten)
PG – Travis Walton (6-2, 195, So.) – 6.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 5.5 apg, 32.5 mpg
SG- Drew Neitzel (6-0, 180, Jr.) – 18.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.3 apg, 41.1% 3 pt. shooting
SF- Raymar Morgan (6-7, 225, Fr.) – 11.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 49.5% FG shooting
PF – Marquise Gray (6-8, 235, So.) – 70 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 57.1% FG shooting
C – Drew Naymick (6-10, 245, Jr.) – 3.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 45.7% FG shooting

Indiana 2006-07 Statistics

Michigan State 2006-07 Statistics

Does IU have someone who can contain Drew Neitzel? – Spartan Drew Neitzel is not only Michigan State's leading scorer, but he's at his best in big games. He's coming off a 28-point effort in a 55-46 win over No. 1 Wisconsin and scored 29 in a near upset of No. 2 Ohio State earlier this season in Columbus. He's also been on a tear as of late, connecting on at least five 3-pointers in three of Michigan State's last four games. The good news for IU is it contained him last month in Bloomington, limiting him to 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting. The bad news, though, is that Earl Calloway was largely responsible for holding him in check. With Calloway appearing to be at best questionable for tonight's contest, a lot will fall to others to chase Neitzel in the halfcourt and then be wary of him in transition. If Calloway doesn't start, expect to see A.J. Ratliff on the floor in his place, with the responsibility of contesting Neitzel's looks. Joey Shaw could also draw the assignment at times. Both Ratliff and Shaw have the sort of length that could limit Neitzel's perimeter opportunities.

What will Indiana get out of Mike White, Lance Stemler, Ben Allen and possibly Xavier Keeling? Indiana won't have the luxury of going with a small lineup very often against Michigan State. Since Raymar Morgan returned from an injury last month, Tom Izzo's squad has been able to go with a more traditional two forward, two guard, one center lineup. That, in turn, forces opponents to counter with more "bigs" than perhaps they're used to, especially if they want to hold their own the glass. With that in mind, expect to see Ben Allen log some quality minutes in the post against players like Drew Naymick and Idong Ibok, while Mike White and Xavier Keeling could be important in trying to combat the athleticism of Marquise Gray and Raymar Morgan on the frontline. Lance Stemler, meanwhile, came off the bench against Minnesota and played 30 minutes and should be an important piece to IU's puzzle today as well. While he probably won't start because he'd have a difficult time matching up with Gray, a solid shooting night from Stemler could present some match-up problems for Izzo to deal with.

Can Indiana win the turnover battle? This normally a football stat, but turnovers will be huge tonight. In last month's game in Bloomington, the Spartans shot a very respectable 48.6 percent from the floor, yet scored on 51 points and was whipped by 22. Why? Because they turned it over 20 times, a stat that helped IU hoist 23 more shots than the Spartans (60 vs. 37). Michigan State is among the league's worst at protecting the basketball, turning it over an average of 15.1 times/game (10th in the Big Ten). The Spartans have turned it over 20 or more times on three occasions since conference play opened, and they've lost each of those contests by an average of 17.7 points. In contrast, Indiana ranks third in the Big Ten with only 12.3 turnovers/game, and hasn't turned it over 20 times in a game since its November loss to Butler.

Can Indiana deal with the crowd? - The Breslin Center is always one of the most raucous arenas in the Big Ten thanks to a student section that is in the lower bowl around the court. The atmosphere figures to be especially charged tonight, thanks to the presence of ESPN Gameday for the first time in East Lansing, and Michigan State's recent run of success. Indiana's challenge could have been even more daunting when one considers the fact this is Michigan State's final regular season home game, and thus "Senior Night." But…the Spartans don't have any seniors on the roster.

"Our goal for Saturday, for whoever plays, is to go out there, compete and be tough as nails. Playing hard isn't good enough, we have to compete." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"You have to be tough as nails to win on the road or you just have to have a really great team. Wisconsin and Ohio State can win on the road, but it seems like everybody else is able to beat each other at home. I don't remember being in a conference where the home court advantage was so huge." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"Armon is a point guard and if you look at Drew Neitzel last year, his role has been altered with Travis Walton being there. Everybody has to change roles sometime. Armon's area of improvement is leadership, and it is hard for a freshman to look at their elders when he is used to being one of the guys, especially at this time of the year. Errek Suhr is probably more comfortable as the leader, I just think we are better with Armon as the point guard and Errek coming off the bench playing his role." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"I am a big picture type of guy. We are 8-5 in the league and if you look at the second half of many of our games, we have been in there. There hasn't been a game yet we haven't been there. We're 18-8 and in every game we have played we have had a chance to win. We have to find a way to keep our core together. I look at our team and how we have won all of our home games. We have been in every single game on the road. I am proud of this team, I have nothing to complain about. I wish we could have been tough enough to pull out one or two more wins on the road, but we weren't. We have three games left and we are going to try like heck to win the next three. There isn't a game we have left that we can't win." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson. Top Stories