Hoosiers, Spartans expect “off the chain” environment for top-five matchup

  • 02/19/2013 8:41 am in

IUMSUITH0015When Michigan State coach Tom Izzo addressed the media ahead of Tuesday night’s game with No. 1 Indiana, he talked about the endless storylines involving the game. He wasn’t kidding.

Two top five teams. First place in the Big Ten on the line. A Magic Johnson homecoming. Victor Oladipo’s ankle. Mentor (Izzo) vs. student (Tom Crean). Indiana vs. Michigan State.

To summarize, this is sort of a big game.

“The environment is gonna be off the chain,” Michigan State forward Adreian Payne said.

Added Izzo: “I’d be willing to bet this maybe could be the greatest crowd ever at this place.”

The Hoosiers (23-3, 11-2) will certainly be tested Tuesday night at the Breslin Center in what will likely be their most difficult game of the regular season. Indiana hasn’t won at Michigan State since 1991, and the Hoosiers are playing against a team as hot as any in the country. The Spartans dominated Michigan 75-52 last week.

“They’re playing with tremendous confidence,” Crean said. “They just keep getting better. Their young guys are better. I think they’re one of the best teams in the country because they have so much.”

The last time the Hoosiers visited the Breslin Center, they left with an 80-65 loss. It was the first game of the conference season last year — Dec. 28, 2011 — and one of the worst games in the young career of sophomore Cody Zeller. Hampered by foul trouble and bothered by the physical play, Zeller finished the game with just four points and three rebounds in 23 minutes.

Zeller said he watched the tape of that game many times last season, but he doesn’t watch it much anymore.

“It was one of my rougher games,” Zeller said. “I was in foul trouble and never got in the flow. That’s just part of being a freshman in this league.”

Zeller’s no longer a freshman, and the Hoosiers are a much better team now than they were last season. When the two teams met earlier this season at Assembly Hall, Indiana got Keith Appling into foul trouble and won, 75-70. While it’s easy to say the Spartans should be in good shape as long as Appling doesn’t get in foul trouble this time around, Izzo also pointed out that Payne and Gary Harris played better than usual in the first meeting.

“That kind of balances itself out,” he said. “Indiana’s playing at a level like no other. They’ve sustained it the whole year, which is the most impressive thing you can do.”

Oladipo’s health is not only a popular storyline, but will also have a significant impact on the outcome of Tuesday night’s game. Oladipo left Saturday’s game against Purdue late in the first half after spraining his left ankle and did not play in the second half. The junior guard is expected to play Tuesday, but it remains to be seen how close he will be to 100 percent.

“He’s better. He was good today,” Crean said Monday. “We didn’t push anything to an extreme level, but he’s good, he’s excited.  I think he’s past the point of it really hurting. I don’t think he’s gonna tell anybody anyways.”

In the first meeting, Oladipo turned in one of his best performances of the season. He had 21 points, seven rebounds, six steals and three blocked shots. After the game, Izzo called Oladipo the “Ray Lewis of basketball.” When he met with the media this week, he compared him to former Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves.

“He’s got the highest motor I’ve seen in years,” Izzo said, “He’s got the ability to guard one through four, he’s improved his jump shot so much, he’s better at putting the ball on the floor. … He’s a guy that, winning is the most important thing to him and I think that branches out to the rest of their guys.”

Hoosiers aware of Nix’s comments on Oladipo, Zeller

Last week, Michigan State center Derrick Nix made some comments to the media in which he suggested his team was disrespected. In the interview, Nix said that Oladipo can’t do anything Spartans’ forward Branden Dawson can’t, and that Payne can do everything Zeller can.

“We win just like Indiana,” Nix told reporters, “Oladipo’s the man of the world and Dawson’s not on draft boards. Tell me something Oladipo can do that (Dawson) can’t.”

Crean was asked Monday if he showed his team Nix’s comments. Crean said he didn’t have to.

“They’re all on Twitter, they’re all on Facebook and they read,” Crean said. “There are no surprises there. They don’t need any more of an edge to go into this game. They know who they are, they’re starting to understand what they’re capable of, meaning what we’re capable of. They know the pageantry of it, most of them have been up there. They know the environment, and they’re extremely locked in. I’m sure they’re all aware of that — I know they are — but at the same time, that doesn’t have anything to do with the drive for this game.”

Filed to:

  • HoosierTrav

    Tomorrows Headline: Did Derrick Nix “Nix” Sparty? I really want him to eat his words.

  • I’ve got a midterm at 5pm I’m attempting to study for!

  • SpartyFan

    Do you guys think Nix was trying to be disrespectful of the Indiana players? It wasn’t that at all — he holds the Indiana players in very high regard – he was just sticking up for his own teammates trying to say he thought they were good too.

  • Guest

    Thanks that was a good article. I have a new nickname for him now, the “Nigerian Ninja.”

  • Guest

    Thanks that was a good article. I have a new nickname for him now, the “Nigerian Ninja.”

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    This game has Teddy V written all over it.

  • Guest

    Thanks that is a good article. I’ve got a new nickname for him, the “Nigerian Ninja.”

  • AZIU71

    Izzo says “Greatest crowd ever…” because IT’S INDIANA- IT’S INDIANA, not michigan, not ohio state…

  • This will be a great game. MSU is getting better but they are slower. IU needs to have CWat, CZ and Yogi playing well. You will always get it from Victor and Will. The bench will need to step up. Hopefully we won’t get those calls we got at Illinois. Will come down to the wire and Jordy will sink a three to win it.

  • Kenneth234

    Can you say “meeting canceled due to weather”

  • Kenneth234

    Key is to not lose track of Harris. I think position by position we can defend them man to man (not saying we won’t mix in the zone). Since Harris rarely drives the ball to the basket due likely to his back issues, I would tag Hulls with the assignment of guarding him and not helping on any other Michigan State player. I think this would force Nix to score on Zeller for them to win. If we can keep the game tempo up, Nix will tire and we should be able to keep their other players in check, stay in position to hold our own rebounding and win this game.

  • Kenneth234

    Key is to not lose track of Harris. I think position by position we can defend them man to man (not saying we won’t mix in the zone). Since Harris rarely drives the ball to the basket due likely to his back issues, I would tag Hulls with the assignment of guarding him and not helping on any other Michigan State player. I think this would force Nix to score on Zeller for them to win. If we can keep the game tempo up, Nix will tire and we should be able to keep their other players in check, stay in position to hold our own rebounding and win this game.

  • IUMIKE1

    There are a lot of things that we need to negate that they do really well, matchups that we need to win and things that we have to a good job on, etc. but one of the things that I see as a big thing is Crean working the refs and negating Izzo working the refs, cause as we know all too well he cries long, hard and often to them. Sometimes Crean seems to just accept whatever is called regardless of how many times it was a bad call or just how bad of a call it was period. He has got to make sure that he works them just as hard, if not harder than Izzo does, even to the point of getting T’d up under the right circumstances, if that’s what it takes. People can say what they want about this having no effect on the outcome of the game, but it can and does make a difference, especially in a game like this, where the score will probably tight throughout the entire game. Of the numerous small things that will happen in this game any single one of those could end up being the difference between a win and a loss and this is the only one that is controlled by only one person on IU’s side, and that person is Crean.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Off the topic, but has anyone seen this?

    http://www.youtube.com/amfam?x=us-en_get2thegame_3883_71

  • Arsdale

    A friend of a co-worker works for ESPN and was at the shootaround at MSU an hour ago (1:00 pm). He says that Oladipo was going full speed and looked solid. Trust me, this is a reliable report.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Yes it is. Can’t wait to hear Magic Johnson say “oooh” and “wowwww” about a million times during the game everytime VO makes a play. Hmmmmm will there be more Jordan references with Dickie V sitting right there?

  • Eastwood88_2

    Agreed. I predict they play two more times

  • Eastwood88_2

    Agreed. I predict they play two more times

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Yep, and 2 of those 3 will be going for 1,000 total points scored in their careers tonight. How fun would that be? An AP top 5 win in East Lansing, taking control of the Big Ten standings, earning a regular season Sparty sweep, and putting two more in the 1,000 point club??!!??!!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Just mentioned this below in a reply but would like to put it up as a post to the article:

    Vic and Cody while playing for the win will also be trying to attain 1,000 total points scored in their careers tonight. How fun would that be? An AP top 5 win in East Lansing, taking control of the Big Ten standings, earning a regular season Sparty sweep, and putting two more in the IU 1,000 point club??!!??!!

    All in front of Magic Johnson while Dickie V makes countless Jordan references to Vic. Lol

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Thanks, that was a good article. I’ve got a new nickname for VO, the “Nigerian Ninja.”

  • Eastwood88_2

    This was not a shocking post. Officials can certainly hose us, but oldman have a little faith. Looking for u in the min after. 12 point loss, please

  • I hope not. those are getting rediculous… no one should be compared to Jordan

  • I hope not. those are getting rediculous… no one should be compared to Jordan

  • Robert Weber

    There’s no other realistic way to look at it.

  • kwehner

    Very few will be showing up to your meeting anyway, if its in Indiana, that is.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    This game comes down to how they call fouls and who is tougher. MSU generally wins because they beat the crap out of opposing teams under the boards. My prediction, the first 5 minutes of the second half will decide the winner. Also, expect some good minutes from Derrick Elston tonight as he has the moxie to compete and not be intimidated by the crowd.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    I am 5 Kokanee’s into an 18 pack, striving to take the edge off!!!

  • JohnFromBeyond

    I guess I’m old, but I never heard the expression “off the chain”.

  • Cory Robinson

    IH READERS….This is why we crave IU basketball the way we do, for moments like this one….It just doesn’t get any better than this! Tonight we find out if we really are as good as we CAN be…tonight we answer to all the naysayers and add the period behind the statement: “BEST TEAM IN THE NATION….” There will be no tougher envirement for us to play in nor will a team want to beat us more than EL and the Spartans. What a game it will be. No matter the outcome nor what anybody says on the other side….I am VERY PROUD to be a Indiana Basketball Groupie/Fan/Lifer!

  • stroot

    Does Kokanee exist outside of Canada? I haven’t seen it anywhere since I lived in Edmonton for a few months back in 2008.

  • stroot

    And getting Coach Crean above .500 for the first time in his career at IU.

    And the first IU win at the Breslin Center in like 19 tries.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Plenty of oulets carry it in Montana. Awesome flavor for a Glacier Fresh beer as they promote. Much better than any of our fast food beers. But, we also have tons of micro-brews.

  • calbert40

    I think we have the better overall team. Home court / crowd is obviously a huge advantage, but I think we can negate that if we match their energy, shoot the ball well and play good D. They beat UM so bad, because the Wolverines didn’t do any of those things…especially match their energy.

    At the beginning of the season, this was a game I chalked up as one of our few Ls, but I think we can come out of there with a victory tonight, if we do those things. Also, the pressure is squarely on MSU’s shoulders tonight. If we win, it will be hard to do anything but tie us for the B1G, and we would have beaten them twice anyway.

    Go Hoosiers!!

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    We have not won there since 1991. Appling will NO WAY only play 19 minutes and score 4 points. For IU to win they must play smart (work the clock), limit turnovers, and play like this is the NCAA final game – bring all the tenacious, passionate, intense ENERGY they can . . . make a statement for their essence and their capability!!! imho

  • stroot

    I was in Edmonton for work, and regularly spent time at the nearby casino. The communists up in Canada don’t give away free booze at casinos, which was almost startling to me (I grew up in Indiana and went to IU, but I now live and work in Houston TX, and routinely go to the casinos in Louisiana, all of which can’t wait to get me drunk when I want to gamble).

    Kokanee was the cheapest selection they offered at this particular casino (hey, I was 23 at the time – I didn’t quite understand what good beer tasted like yet), so I drank a lot of Kokanee.

  • stroot

    I was in Edmonton for work, and regularly spent time at the nearby casino. The communists up in Canada don’t give away free booze at casinos, which was almost startling to me (I grew up in Indiana and went to IU, but I now live and work in Houston TX, and routinely go to the casinos in Louisiana, all of which can’t wait to get me drunk when I want to gamble).

    Kokanee was the cheapest selection they offered at this particular casino (hey, I was 23 at the time – I didn’t quite understand what good beer tasted like yet), so I drank a lot of Kokanee.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Agreed, Hulls needs to do a good job with Harris. He cannot allow him to get comfortable behind the arc. He needs to force him to score off the drive if he is going to score. I know that Harris is theoretically and realistically capable of scoring this way, but then again, so was Stauskas. If you cannot shut a guy down, at least take him out of his comfort zone to get his.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    We didn’t have any of those turnovers in the second half. And you could visibly see that Watford was being more cautious and looking where the defender was before rushing it in. They got that fixed, I sure hope there was a reminder the last couple of days.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    dude looks good, eh?

  • WhatsUpKnight

    reserving my response til after the game. 😉

  • SCHoosier

    Dude..its “Hanner time”…”Hammered time??”:)

  • Knuckledrager

    If there’s the slightest doubt, VO shouldn’t play. PERIOD. Even if we lose this game. ’nuff said.

  • IUMIKE1

    Yep, one of my favorites as well. That line has probably been uttered in more than one or two movies but I”m assuming you meant the western that had Kurt Russell beltin’ it out.

  • PDXHoosier

    If I remember the article correctly, he was complaining about how he and his teammates don’t get put on NBA draft boards because the media doesn’t give them attention. Not sure if he meant any disrespect, but the comments can easily be taken as insults. He is good and should get his chance at NBA camps just like everyone else.
    BTW he also retweeted that CZ is a “punk b*tch.” is that disrespectful?

  • PDXHoosier

    as long as he doesn’t do the behind the back dribble in the middle of the lane. drives me crazy

  • PDXHoosier

    as long as he doesn’t do the behind the back dribble in the middle of the lane. drives me crazy

  • PDXHoosier

    I think Teddy V is a shoe-in for this one. Im just imagining a theatrical, bogus charge call in the middle of an MSU run that gets the crowd going crazy.At least Dakich calls him out for trying to get on TV

  • Ben Ancelet

    Oh yeah, Tombstone. One of my favorite movies of all time.

  • jeff

    Horrible coaching…why isn’t Oladipo in. That’s pathetic. Oladipo needs to be in the game down the stretch.