(East Lansing) For the second time in three games the MSU Spartans and the Indiana Hoosiers will tangle, this time in Bloomington, Ind., which maybe what the Hoosiers need.
Since their last meeting last Tuesday, the two teams have gone in different directions. Following the victory over Indiana the Spartans (12-8 overall, 4-4 Big Ten) took care of Illinois and are the winners of three of their last four games.
The Hoosiers (14-6, 4-3) are coming off a blowout loss to No. 6 Louisville and a devastating 74-61 loss to Big Ten cellar-dweller Northwestern on Wednesday night. The Hoosiers are currently on a four-game losing streak, their first in 18 years.
Indiana is smack dab in the middle of the toughest part of its schedule. The Hoosiers are going through a stretch were seven of nine games will be played away for Assembly Hall.
Indiana head coach Mike Davis explained how difficult it has been to see his team falter on the road.
"Were just not defending," Davis said. "Were giving up drives to the middle, giving up open shots, anytime anyone screens any of our players were not fighting through screens."
Davis said the Spartans, who have their own troubles away from the Breslin Center, played an excellent second half in the first meeting and were able to come away with the victory.
"Theyve just struggled on the road, theyre not struggling at home," Davis said. "They shot 70 percent in the second half against us."
"Michigan State just did what they had to do."
The Spartans ended the game shooting 55.8 percent from the field and were able to hold the Hoosiers to 41.3 percent shooting.
This time around the Hoosiers will have a healthy Bracey Wright to depend on. Wright, who aggravated a previous back injury, played 29 minutes in the first meeting, but only contributed 4 points.
Wright has upped his offensive scoring since then and is still the teams leading scorer, pouring 16.2 points per game.
Davis said he must get more leadership out of his seniors Tom Coverdale and Kyle Hornsby, who have been playing below average lately.
Another advantage the Hoosiers may have is having A.J. Moye back. Moye sat out the last time the two teams met with an illness, but has since become a significant contributor for Davis. Against Northwestern Moye lead the team with 14 points and 8 rebounds.
The Spartans on the other hand, enjoyed a full week off, where head coach Tom Izzo said he can worry a little more about his team than his opponent.
He said he was going to throw in a few more wrinkles, one being maybe adding a new out-of-bounds play, to his game plan and is still not settled on a starting lineup and might still tinker around.
"I liked to have the same five starters, a sixth guy who knows when to come into a game and the seventh and eighth guy," Izzo said.
He said he has considered moving Paul Davis into the starting lineup replacing Erazem Lorbek, but has not decided on that yet.
Izzo said coming off two huge wins at home, the team is ready to continue their success on the road.
"Were hungry to get on the road," Izzo said. "Were looking forward to going to Indiana and Wisconsin, but its not going to be an easy chore."
The Spartans are just 2-7 on the road this season.
Game time is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday.