Following a 10-day rest period, fresh off the most difficult schedule a Michigan State basketball team has ever challenged along with exhausting college finals, the sentiment entering Tuesday night's contest at the Breslin Center against Coppin State (3-9) was exceedingly positive.
Afterall, the Spartans entered the game with a losing record, but were returning a healthy Brandon Cotton and fielding a team looking to reestablish themselves after a disappointing start. The opponent? Entering the game, Coppin State was 3-8, and their last victory was Dec. 10th when they squeaked past Morgan State.
Before that, the Eagles hadn't won since November 22nd.
Easy win? In this college basketball season, there are no such things -- especially with Izzo's Spartans.
Coppin State dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Spartans 29-21, and keeping the game knotted up at 57 apiece with under 10 minutes remaining in the contest.
Michigan State utilized a 71% second-half field goal shooting percentage to pull away and secure a 78-71 win. Paul Davis was 8-of-9 for a game-high 22 points, while Kelvin Torbert scored 21 points off the bench and Chris Hill added 18 points.
Despite the win, there is cause for concern in Spartan Land.
Michigan State had a prime opponent to pick on, with a returning stud freshman and plenty of rest. Even Spartans' head coach Tom Izzo, during his weekly radio show, commented on his team's readiness to display what they're capable of. If that's what they did against Coppin State, it's going to be a long season for the Spartans.
With a road contest at Syracuse (#17) on Saturday, and starting their Big Ten schedule at conference-favorite Wisconsin (#18) immediately thereafter, it could get ugly fast for Michigan State -- if it hasn't already.