EAST LANSING – Not many people picked the Purdue Boilermakers as contenders for a Big Ten title in preseason. Tom Izzo did. The Michigan State head coach thought the youngsters from West Lafayette were a dark horse to win the conference.
"They were my sleeper pick," Izzo said today at his weekly news conference.
Purdue sits alone atop the Big Ten standings with a 10-1 conference record, their only blemish a loss at the Breslin Center. It's no fluke: They have beaten Wisconsin twice, including Sunday in Madison where the Badgers had a 16-game conference winning streak, won at Illinois and defeated Iowa and Penn State twice, lower-tier teams who beat Michigan State.
"We know we're going to have to play our best basketball down there to win," Izzo said.
Beating the Boilermakers again will require more fortitude than the Spartans mustered the first time around. Izzo said his team got "punched in the mouth" and was out-physicaled in the first matchup a month ago.
"I think that Purdue is the most physical team in the league," Izzo said.
Watch Izzo talk about which Michigan State team Purdue reminds him of, how the Boilermakers have reeled off 9-straight wins, what it will take to beat them and more.
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