Izzo Faces off against Former Assistant Coach in Matchup

This will be a game you do not want to miss, as the Michigan State Spartans’ head coach Tom Izzo faces off against his old assistant coach and current Indiana head coach, Tom Crean.

The No. 3 Spartans (17-1, 5-0) are preparing to battle against the Indiana Hoosiers (12-6, 2-3) at the Breslin Center Tuesday night.

Michigan State goes into the game winning their past ten games and having an 8-1 record at home.

Last season, the Hoosiers won both matchups against the Spartans, but the departures of Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller leave Indiana with a young team compared to the experienced Michigan State Spartans.

This will be the second time around that the Spartans take on the Hoosiers. The first time these two teams met the Spartans defeated Indiana 73-56. Michigan State utilized Indiana’s 13 turnovers and turned them into 20 points.

Gary Harris had 26 points against the Hoosiers, 17 of which were in the first half alone. The Hoosiers will be looking to lock Harris down this time around.

Both teams enter this second round dual as different teams than they were the first time they met.

A banged up Michigan State Spartan team has forced other key players to step up, as big man Adreian Payne has been hurt with a sprained foot. Payne is questionable, yet unlikely to play, for the upcoming game on Tuesday.

Indiana, on the other hand, has taken control over their turnovers and has key players who are now settling into their roles.

The Spartans enter Tuesday’s game allowing 63.8 points per game, while the Hoosiers allow 68.1 points per game. Indiana is all about the rebound game, standing second overall in the conference for most boards per game (43.2).

In Michigan State’s last game against the Fighting Illini, they were victorious, 78-62. The Spartans as a team shot 55.8 percent from field goal range, 40 percent from behind the arc and 63.6 percent from the line.

Harris was the top performer with 23 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Denzel Valentine and Keith Appling also contributed 15 points apiece.

In Indiana’s last game against Northwestern they fell short, 54-47.  The Hoosiers as a team shot 25 percent from on field goal attempts range, 22.2 percent from three point range and 76.5 percent from the free throw line.

For Tuesday, Indiana’s key players to watch for are Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh.

Ferrell, a shooting guard, is averaging 17.4 points per game and stands third on the Big Ten’s offensive scoring leaderboard right behind the No. 2 scorer, Harris (17.9). He contributed nine points in the Hoosiers last game against Northwestern.

Indiana’s 6-foot-10 power forward, Vonleh, leads the conference in rebounds per game (9.2) and is averaging 12.4 points per game. Vonleh had 17 points in Indiana’s loss to the Wildcats Saturday night.

In order for the Spartans to win this game they need their big guys to step up. Indiana’s big guys make it their mission to get each board and Michigan State needs to be physical while staying out of foul trouble. Playing strong defense on Vonleh will be key to shutting the Hoosiers down.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center and will be televised on ESPN.


Hayleigh Geurink is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.

Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports


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