Time at a premium for Spartans in Indy

With everyone in the lineup, Michigan State is hoping to make sure time doesn't run out before getting everything clicking again. Indianapolis provides three potential games -- and the Spartans want to see all three for the sake of rhythm and more.

Michigan State has three games under its belt with its full lineup back intact and finally healthy.

But it has taken time to get things clicking again as many pieces have been added back in around the same time.

The Spartans have 16 turnovers in each of those three games, in which they are 1-2. Needless to say, the rhythm isn't back yet as Adreian Payne, Keith Appling and Branden Dawson returned to the court.

As the Big Ten Tournament starts, the reality has set in that time is running short to get things back to where they were early in the season.

"We are running out of time," Payne asid. "t's pressure, but we've just gotta continue to use the time we've got to get better."

Izzo said there is the possibility time could run out before his team gets rolling on all cylinders.

"It could, it really could," Izzo said. "Rhythm is something that takes time to develop."

The Spartans have the opportunity to get three more games to work out the kinks if they advance to Sunday's tournament finals. To double the games played together heading into the NCAA Tournament is something the Spartans know is important.

"We need to practice more, we need to play more," Izzo said. "I've never felt like losing a game in that tournament. … I think for the most part with this team there's no question the more games we play the better it's gonna make it for us in the NCAA (Tournament)."

More than just gaining rhythm is at stake, though. Payne added that the confidence gained from winning would be big for the Spartans.

"It's very important," Payne said. "Winning games gives your team confidence and builds chemistry and makes you feel better. That's what you definitely need going into the tournament."

The Spartans have shown flashes of the form they showed early in the season when they opened 18-1 – the best start in school history.

In Sunday's 69-67 loss to Ohio State, a 12-0 second-half run fueled by Gary Harris was a prime example.

"That is who I think we are but you can't be who you are for minutes you gotta do it for a lot of minutes," Izzo said. "So we got to figure out, defend without fouling, we got figure that out."

The chance to gain more games gets underway Friday night against Northwestern.


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