Indiana vs. Michigan State Gameday

Now in the midst of a six-game losing streak, Indiana looks to end its skid against Big Ten co-leader Michigan State at Assembly Hall. Hoosier Nation previews Tuesday's game against the Spartans, complete with match-ups, statistics, keys to the game, and quotes from both players and coaches about the contest…

Game Particulars: Indiana (9-15/3-9) vs. Michigan State (20-6/10-3)
Tom Crean gets a chance to see a friendly face, but not necessarily a friendly foe when Indiana hosts No. 10 Michigan State tonight at 7 p.m. at Assembly Hall. Crean will be going up against his former boss, Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo, for the third time since taking over the IU program. A year ago, the Hoosiers were drubbed in East Lansing 75-47, but they put a scare into the Spartans in Bloomington in early March before falling, 64-59. Verdell Jones led Indiana in scoring in both contests, scoring 13 at the Breslin Center before leading IU with 15 in Bloomington. Michigan State's win in Bloomington a season ago wrapped up an outright Big Ten championship for Izzo's squad, and they're fighting for a conference crown again this season. That championship seemed all but assured after Michigan State opened league play 9-0, but three straight losses to Wisconsin, Illinois and Purdue have dropped it back into a tie with Ohio State for the league lead.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and 11th year overall. Crean owns a 205-136 career mark and a 15-39 record at Indiana. Michigan State, meanwhile, is coached by Tom Izzo, who is in his 15th season at Michigan State. Since taking over the Spartan program in 1995, Izzo has compiled a 356-143 record, has won five Big Ten regular season championships, and has earned five Final Four trips.

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

Indiana 2009-10 Schedule

Michigan State 2009-10 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (9-15/3-9)
PG- Jeremiah Rivers (6-5, 214, Jr.) – 6.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.4 spg, 39.6% FG shooting, 53.8% FT shooting
SG – Jordan Hulls (6-0, 172, Fr.) – 6.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.7 spg, 40.2% 3 pt. shooting, 78.6% FT shooting
WG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 183, So.) – 14.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.0 spg, 39.9% FG shooting, 27.1% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Christian Watford (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 12.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.6 apg, 39.7% FG shooting, 81.3% FT shooting
C – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 248, So.) – 4.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.5 apg, 62.0% FG shooting, 40.0% FT shooting

OFF THE BENCH:
Derek Elston (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 5.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.4 apg, 45.0% FG shooting, 38.9% 3 pt. shooting
Bobby Capobianco (6-9, 238, Fr.) – 1.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.4 apg, 41.3% FG shooting, 33.3% FT shooting
Devan Dumes (6-2, 192, Sr.) – 6.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.1 apg, 33.6% FG shooting, 32.1% 3 pt. shooting
Daniel Moore (5-10, 172, So.) ¬– 1.5 ppg, 0.6 rpg, 0.4 apg, 64.3% FG shooting, 80% FT shooting

Michigan State (20-6/10-3)
PG – Kalin Lucas (6-1, 190, Jr.) – 15.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.0 spg, 37.0% 3 pt. shooting, 80.3% FT shooting
SG – Chris Allen (6-3, 205, Jr.) – 9.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.2 apg, 41.3% 3 pt. shooting, 79.4% FT shooting
SF – Raymar Morgan (6-8, 230, Sr.) – 10.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.6 bpg, 52.9% FG shooting, 63.3% FT shooting
PF – Delvon Roe (6-8, 230, So.) – 7.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.9 bpg, 56.5% FG shooting, 67.0 % FT shooting
C – Derrick Nix (6-8, 280, Fr.) - 2.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.2 bpg, 7.6 mpg, 48.8% FG shooting, 19.5% FT shooting

OFF THE BENCH:
Durrell Summers (6-4, 205,Jr.) – 10.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.1 apg, 43.7% FG shooting, 26.0% 3 pt. shooting
Draymond Green (6-6, 235, So.) – 10.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.1 apg, 0.9 bpg, 53.5% FG shooting, 68.6% FT shooting
Garrick Sherman (6-10, 235, Fr.) – 2.2 pr,g 1.5 rpg, 0.1 apg, 8.0 mpg, 59.5% FG shooting, 57.1% FT shooting

Indiana 2009-10 Statistics

Michigan State 2009-10 Statistics



WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Will Indiana's occasional issues with transition defense be a problem again? – There are plenty of things about Michigan State that concern the Hoosiers, including the improved health of reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Kalin Lucas and MSU's Big Ten-best +9.5 rebounding margin. But the thing that has probably topped the concern chart is Michigan State's transition game. Few teams in the country are better at attacking in transition, whether it's off a turnover, a long rebound, or even a made basket. Lucas is generally the player with the ball in his hands, and he's able to get to the rim, kick the ball out to Chris Allen for open 3s, or feed athletic big men Raymar Morgan, Delvon Roe or Draymond Green, all of whom are willing and able to beat opposing big men down the floor for baskets. While transition offense has been a staple of Izzo's teams in recent years, transition defense has been a problem at times this season for the Hoosiers. That's especially been true against opposing big men who are willing to sprint down the floor and make themselves available for fastbreak opportunities. It's going to be imperative that IU's guards find a way to keep Lucas from make straight line drives to the other end of the court, and equally important that big men like Derek Elston get back on defense and take away the easy finishes for MSU's big men. Indiana's big men can't afford to be attempting to catch up to Morgan and Roe in transition – they need to beat them down the floor and force MSU to execute out of the halfcourt.

Will Indiana have a reserve make the kind of significant contribution that will offset what Michigan State gets out of Draymond Green? -The 6'6", 230-pound Green doesn't start for Izzo's squad but there are some that would argue that he's the best player on the Spartan roster. The sophomore from Saginaw leads Michigan State in rebounding (8.2), blocks (23) and steals (35), while ranking fourth in scoring (10.0) and third in assists (3.1). He can score inside and out, is a very good passer, and is as good a sixth man as there probably is in the country. Michigan State knows it can count on close to a double-double and 25 minutes from Green off the bench, and Indiana is going to need to get some sort of productivity from its reserves to help offset that. It's unclear whether or not Devan Dumes will be available since he's been sick recently, but he's a possibility depending on his health. Bobby Capobianco could fill that role as well, since he's physically a relatively good match-up against Green. There's also the possibility that Jordan Hulls could fill that role if Indiana opts to go back to its three-forward line-up to try to neutralize Michigan State' rebounding prowess. Whoever it is, the Hoosiers are going to need a big effort from someone off the bench.

Will Derrick Nix shooting a free-throw? - Indiana fans have witnessed their share of struggles at the free-throw line. Against Purdue, missed front ends of one-and-ones by Jordan Hulls, Derek Elston and Verdell Jones late in the game very well could have been the difference between a three-point loss and a huge upset win over IU's arch-rival. Hoosier fans have also witnessed the season-long struggles of Tom Pritchard, who has made only 18-of-45 attempts from the line, or 40 percent. There's also been the problems of starting point guard Jeremiah Rivers, who dipped to 50 percent at the line a couple of weeks ago before making six out of his last seven attempts to climb to 53.8 percent. But as bad as Indiana has been at times at the free-throw line (where they shooting a Big Ten-worst 67.4 percent), it's nothing compared to the struggles that Spartan freshman Derrick Nix has endured at the line. The 6'8", 230-pound freshman from Detroit's Pershing H.S. started the season by making only one of his first 21 attempts at the free-throw line. He's shown modest improvement since – admittedly, it would be hard not to – but he's still only 9-of-41 on the year at the free-throw line for 19.5 percent. Nix is expected to start at center thanks to the recent demotion of Durrell Summers from the starting line-up, so Nix's free-throw skills may be on display early.

QUOTABLE:
"We're focused on getting that spirit and energy back and really the believability that you can play and win. That's what I think we've lost in these games, and it's a product of not having the leadership anywhere near where it needs to be, and not having guys that are truly confident that they can really make a difference." – Tom Crean

"Like I said to them, there are three things that there has got to be for them to be successful for us to improve and really for them to move forward in this program. Number one, there's got to be an energy on defense. Number two, there's got to be a toughness in the rebounding game, and number three, there's got to be unselfishness on offense. That means some guys are going to score more than other guys. That means some guys are going to distribute more than other guys. It's not about playing a role, it's more about really understand what it takes to win. That's what we're really locked into." – Crean

"(Against Wisconsin) Christian Watford needed to play through to learn one of two things. Either he needed to learn he was really tired and he was going to play to exhaustion and then come out, or that he's in a lot better shape than he realizes, and we don't always see that when he starts out. That's what we learned. That's what I wanted to make sure he learned. I didn't leave him out there to get a certain amount of numbers. I left him out there to learn a lesson, because that lesson has to come back. We need him to play at a high level all the time." – Crean

"You look around the league almost everybody has gone through their peaks and valleys already this year. Purdue had the losses, Ohio State had the losses without Turner, Tom (Izzo) has been through it, Illinois was through it earlier. That stuff is real. It hits everybody. All those people have places to go, to go deep into that bench, or go get some people and there isn't a huge drop-off. We haven't had that this year." – Crean

"It's very difficult (to struggle). You hate to lose, but it's something you got to through, and I'm willing to work through it. Coming in here, I knew it wasn't the best team or had the most talent, but I'm willing to fight through that." – Christian Watford

"We're still together. We go hard at each other every day. We compete against each other. But in the locker room after practice we're teammates. That's the main thing." – Watford

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