What to Expect: Michigan State

  • 01/21/2014 9:04 am in

Indiana will play its third Big Ten game against a top five team tonight when the Hoosiers travel to No. 3 Michigan State. The Spartans are 17-1 overall and 6-0 in league play.

The game will be broadcast at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and on the IU radio network:

It looked like Indiana might be turning a corner when it knocked off then-No. 3 Wisconsin on Tuesday night at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers had their second straight Big Ten win with a great chance at a three-game streak with Northwestern coming to town.

But sometimes looks can be deceiving.

The same Indiana team that was good enough to put 75 points on Wisconsin and beat the Badgers for the first time in its last 13 tries couldn’t beat one of the league’s bottom three teams at home.

The road gets no easier from here as Indiana goes to Michigan State, which is playing its best basketball of the season without Adreian Payne. It’s soul searching time for these young Hoosiers, who aren’t expected to win tonight but need to play much better than Saturday’s performance to keep things competitive and have a chance in East Lansing.


The Spartans are beginning to hit their stride and the scary part about it for the rest of the league (and the country, for that matter) is that Payne has missed the last three games and seems unlikely to play again tonight. A sprained right foot is what ails Michigan State’s best post player and Tom Izzo has stated that he won’t play him until he’s 100 percent.

The game plan begins with Harris, who dropped a career-high 26 points on Indiana earlier this month in Bloomington and is beginning to play like the league’s preseason player of the year. The sophomore from Hamilton Southeastern has his effective field goal percentage above 50 and is third in scoring in conference games (18.0 ppg).

Joining Harris in the backcourt is senior Keith Appling, who has often struggled against Indiana, and sophomore Denzel Valentine, who does a little bit of everything. Appling is hitting more than 45 percent of his 3-point tries and leads the Spartans with an assist rate of 25.5. Valentine is a solid distributor (23.1 assist rate) and defensive rebounder (17.8 DR%) that doesn’t shoot a high percentage from the field.

Up front, Branden Dawson is putting together his best season to-date and finally looks the player who once earned McDonald’s All-American honors. Dawson is hitting close to 60 percent of his field goal attempts and is very good on the glass on both ends with an offensive rebounding percentage of 12.1 and a defensive rebounding percentage of 20.9. Matt Costello has entered the starting lineup in Payne’s absence and is coming off a stat line of eight points, six blocks and five rebounds in Michigan State’s win over Illinois on Saturday.

Two key bench contributors to watch are junior guard Travis Trice, who is hitting 41.2 percent of his 3-point tries and forward Kenny Kaminski, who is hitting 58.6 percent of his attempts from distance. On Monday’s Big Ten teleconference, Tom Crean called Kaminski an “x-factor” for the Spartans and having a 6-foot-8 forward who can stretch the floor is an added bonus to an already balanced offense.



Michigan State has been locking teams down in conference play, which is a major concern for Indiana after it was only able to muster up 47 points to Northwestern on Saturday. Michigan State leads the conference in defensive efficiency through six games, allowing just .90 points per possession. The Spartans are also leading the Big Ten in defensive effective field goal percentage (44.1) and defensive turnover percentage (20.2).

If there’s one area where IU may be able to find success offensively, it could be the perimeter, as Michigan State is just eighth in league play in defending the 3-point line. That, however, assumes IU can shoot better than the 4-of-18 mark it mustered up against the Wildcats at Assembly Hall.

When the Spartans have the ball, Indiana has to be concerned with finding guys like Harris, Appling, Trice and Kaminski on the perimeter while also keeping a body on Dawson, who really hits the offensive glass hard and Costello, who is capable of finishing plays if IU helps off of him.


The Pomeroy numbers give a bleak outlook in this game for Indiana, predicting an 80-64 win for Michigan State and just an eight percent chance of IU pulling the upset. Sagarin is a little less ambitious, favoring the Spartans by 14.5. Given where both teams are currently at, Indiana winning in East Lansing would probably be a bigger upset than Northwestern’s win in Bloomington over the weekend. The numbers are that lopsided.

That said, this is an important game for Indiana to at least regain some of the confidence that may have been lost against Northwestern and avoid an embarrassing loss with a critical stretch of schedule following this game. Despite the earlier hiccup to North Carolina, Michigan State is playing like one of the top three teams in the country and is the clear favorite to win the Big Ten.

It’s gut check time for Indiana.

Filed to:

  • CreamandCrimson

    8%…that’s being rather generous in my opinion. I would put it around 1% but that’s cool. Here’s what I’m looking for:
    -Is there some fight in this team? There was in the Wisconsin game. There was in the Penn State game after falling way behind. There is going to have to be tonight or they will get destroyed.
    -Our Hoosiers have improved on the turnover numbers since the beginning of the Big Ten season, can that continue in a hostile environment?
    -Gary Harris is going to put up numbers, there’s no doubt about that. Who is willing to step up and prevent him from going bonkers?
    -Can Yogi Ferrell break out of his shooting slump? He can’t play any worse than he did on Saturday.
    -Bottom line, winning this game (or even being particularly close at the end) is a long shot. I want to see how this team responds to the adversity they are currently experiencing. If they can show some fight, I’ll feel much better about our chances after this trip to East Lansing.

  • RatKingSports

    What to Expect: Michigan State

    … A Bloodbath.

  • Kyl470

    Well they shocked the world when they lost to Northwestern, maybe they will shock the world again and win tonight.

  • chiswede

    I expect to get our a.. handed to us. I HOPE that we win.

  • Hoosierfan2335

    We are athletic enough to beat anyone in the country and so inexperienced and young that we could lose to anyone. This was evident in both games last week. Which team shows up? I expect that we compete hard, but MSU is just a much better team than we are and they don’t want to lose two years in a row against us at home.

  • calbert40

    Breslin has not been a nice place for us to play over the years. We won there last year, but honestly, I expected us to lose that game even with that team. I expect tonight to be a difficult game.

    With that said, I am looking for improvement over Saturday. I would like to see better ball movement, better energy, better spacing and PLEASE better shooting. While I certainly hope we shock everyone tonight, I will be pleased if we improve in those areas.

  • Joshua Haltom

    Though I will have my Hoosier gear on over here in Baltimore, MD (though I grew up, lived and coached near Bloomington, IN) as I watch the game tonight I think our chances of victory are less than the noted 8%. I think that in keeping realistic expectations there are a few small victories the Hoosiers can taste while still not achieving a win. As I have said several times before on this site I think our eggs are in the Big Ten Tournament basket in regards to making the tournament. The rest of this season is hopefully lessons building up to that.

    1) Yogi. I feel like the Pacers last year had Good Lance vs Bad Lance and this year we are experiencing Good Yogi vs Selfish Yogi. I think one victory is Yogi having a 4/1 ratio of drives (4) to jumpers (1). If he finishes strong at the rim and not this awkward body shifting he does then MSU will respect his finish at the rim. They will respect his drive at the rim if he is knocking down jumpers. Any coach will tell you respecting the drive and respecting the finish are two completely different things. We go as Yogi goes and lately Yogi is playing somewhat selfish and turnover prone at times, however, some of that selfishness is maybe necessary given how we struggle on offense all around.

    2) Stanford. Not sure why Crean played him and Marlin at comparable minutes vs Northwestern after Stanford started having some real terrific glimpses for a young guy playing alongside Yogi. If Stanford can get the minutes and make the impact he is capable of in that atmosphere against Appling and Harris then this can really be a launching pad for the kid.

    3) Noah. Obviously. I think IU fans want to see the kid do well, because he is a Hoosier, but every game he does well his Draft Stock becomes more concrete and then it is Hanner-time all over Hoosier Nation next year. I don’t know if we or Hanner are ready for that. If Noah can near a double-double I think it is a small victory even in defeat.

    4) The white kids not named Will. Ok, in all seriousness, though this pre-season this would of sounded like a joke: If we are going to play Marlin, AE, and Howard at the tune of 30 minutes per game (collectively) they must become a threat. That means Marlin taking a shot when the shot clock doesn’t force him, AE catching in rhythm and letting a three fly, Howard knocking down (or attempting) a jumper from the elbow where he frequently has the ball. When those three are on the floor they have shown to be almost zero threat within the offense since most of Howard and AE points have come on hustle plays. Three guys posing zero threat means three defensive guys sagging, doubling, and taking chances in passing lanes. With a team like ours prone to high turnover games we can’t allow the defense to take these risks with no penalty.

    As always, this is just my opinion and not the Truth or the Law. Look forward to watching and GO HOOSIERS!

  • Lobills

    This one might get ugly. I appreciate the stats Alex lists above, but I’d go one step further to gain a better understanding of how we stack up offensively/defensively.

    Once the sample size is large enough, why not use CONFERENCE ONLY stats to gauge success levels? Teams have wildly different non conf. schedules that can greatly skew their overall performance or lack thereof. Whereas how you play against your peers offers a clearly picture of how you’re performing IMO. Here are some stats I typically follow. It’s none too encouraging.

    Offense………………B1G (rank)…………………..National (rank)

    TO %……………………..2nd…………………………….81st

    All are dreadful and so is the TO%, but that has improved markedly the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, this trend continues. I don’t think the other offensive numbers are likely to though. We are getting to the line and shooting at a high % when getting there. We’ll definitely need this to continue.

    Defense………………..B1G (rank)…………………National (rank)


    FT Rate…………………….3rd……………………………24th

    Again, not very encouraging numbers. We are, however, not fouling at a high rate and I believe the FT differential is going to continue to be a key in determining the outcome for the rest of this season.

    Overall, these numbers are less than encouraging and likely won’t be improved upon tonight at East Lansing. Just something to follow as the season progresses.

    I would like to know if Alex/ITH would consider switching to CONFERENCE ONLY stats. If so, what would a large enough sample size to start drawing some conclusions. I think after 6 games or 1/3 of the B1G season is enough.

  • Gregory Spera

    Well, I’ve already been totally shocked twice in a row…

  • CreamandCrimson

    “I think we have a shot.”…based on our lack of shooting prowess, I expect us to miss that shot wildly.

    Anyway, I agree with most of what you wrote. Particularly the note about Crean going from genius to clueless in less than a week. I have my issues with Crean but he’s not a dummy and every result (positive/negative) hinges on a lot more than just CTC.

  • ForeverIU

    When I think MSU I think rebounding and I think Harris (shooting). If we can contain Harris and win a very bloody rebounding battle, I think we have a good chance. I also don’t see us winning this one without Jeremy. Don’t ask me why, I just see it. Maybe because he is a good shot blocker and foul shooter.

  • Joshua Haltom

    This is close to the tune I am singing as well. I think there are several key victories we can have for our young team even in defeat up at MSU tonight.

  • Joshua Haltom

    Not trying to be the devils advocate, just genuinely interested on who you think those minutes come from? I think Marlin/Howard (Payne not playing tonight) and anyone but Stan.

  • OhioHoosier

    Stan on Gary please!

  • Darkside9861

    You thought the hangover from Wisconsin was bad. The Northwestern taste in their mouths will be there for a while. (Look at Ohio State. Love that though BTW) I dont see much tonight unless TC plays the guys putting up the points. Once we get on a roll he pulls them out. We have won once in last 18 years at Breslin which was last year and we barely came away with that one. Top teams play their players almost all game long. We dont do that for some odd reason. Give Robinson some damn minutes. That kid is growing. Shows signs of Victor.

  • ForeverIU

    Not sure but I’d say some of the minutes vacated by Troy?

  • ForeverIU

    Need to also keep an eye on Kaminski. Seems like they go to him for threes when Gary is not producing.

  • Joshua Haltom

    Yeah, I would like to see Marlin minutes go to JH and Troy minutes go to Stan, Howard minutes go to DD

  • ForeverIU

    Do you know if DD is still struggling with injury?

  • Joshua Haltom

    I do not. If he is then I would rather him not play period. I don’t think an injured DD is better than a healthy anyone else.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Tom Crean was asked if it was a health issue. Here’s his response:
    ““I don’t think it’s that. I think it’s a matter of creating enough
    opportunities in practice that will put him in over someone else.” Crean
    specifically mentioned the recent play of Jeff Howard and Austin
    Etherington as two guys have been doing a good job recently.”

    So, in my opinion, I don’t think it’s a health issue anymore. I think Devin is being outworked by Austin Etherington and Jeff Howard and if that’s the case, he should probably remain behind them in the playing rotation.

  • iuoiu

    I want to see him back, but want it to be because he has embraced whatever behaviors or goals that Crean gave him for a return to playtimeville. I want JH 2.0, not a return of the old one.

  • ForeverIU

    LOL. Crean is a diplomat. I really like Austin.

  • ForeverIU

    I’m realistic with JH. I’d settle for JH 1.5 for now. I can’t help but think of JH as a freshman this year, and therefore forgive him some of the freshman mistakes. I’d want to take as many chances with him as I would with Troy, for example. I can see him getting minutes a la Hanner model. Bring him in and sub him out after good plays. Gradually work on his confidence. We need him to get solid experience this year, not just minutes but productive minutes. But if I don’t see him in the game, I would not be surprised either. I trust that Crean knows best how to manage this issue, and no way do I want to see him get minutes if he has not been focusing during practice.

  • ForeverIU

    See CreamandCrimson below.

  • OhioHoosier

    I expect either Devin or Jeremy to see more minutes than usual tonight to help with there stretch size between dawson and Kaminsky, (even though the two have little in common…maybe expect is not the right word since I have little to know evidence, but this year nothing is out of the question.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Just curious…why can’t you help but see JH as a freshman? I thought he got sufficient experience last season, has been around the program (and the weight/conditioning program) for a while and hasn’t had to deal with any injuries that I know of. I’m just curious, not criticizing your line of thinking.

  • ForeverIU

    With the core five players last year and Will as a 6th, I don’t think Hollowell got solid experience, although you can argue he was playing against the cream of the crop in practice and that his minutes were not atypical for a freshman. Basketball experts can speak to this better, but I also don’t think there was enough definition in his role this year. All that coupled with the “mental” component, I think Jeremy is being “re-invented”, so to speak, and thus should be treated as a freshman in this respect. This is not to make excuses for his poor performance in any way. I think in the end I’m just making sure that our expectations remain realistic, and that if we see improvement it will likely not be drastic but gradual, and that’s okay.

  • Mr. Mitchell

    Mismatch. IU wins!

  • Alford Bailey

    With this group(coaching staff and players included) who the heck knows what to expect?

  • CreamandCrimson

    Fair enough and I can see why you feel as you do. I saw Jeremy play several times in high school. Sometimes he was really great, sometimes he was borderline disinterested. I don’t know him at all but his high school coach mentioned that “focus” and mental engagement has been a problem in the past so I guess it’s not shocking that it’s crept up again.

    I’m with you, improvement from him, however gradual it might be this season, will be a positive. If he doesn’t commit to being a much better player at this time next season, it’s hard to see where he fits in.

  • marcusgresham

    This summer I said somewhere on here that this team would win some games it has no business winning and lose some it has no business losing. After the last week and a half I’m looking like a sage.

  • ForeverIU

    Indeed, and I hope this will be a “win we had no business winning”.

  • kyle jenkins

    Just seen a recent prediction on 247sports.com about Dante Exum to Indiana… Anybody have any insight on a decision date for him? NBA or college?

  • HoosierPat

    I have no idea what to expect tonight. IU could win this game or lose by 30.

  • Alford Bailey

    No insight but that would be huge. Especially if we lack an inside presence next year we will need as many scorers on the floor at one time as possible. Exum, JBJ and RJ……..like the sound of that.

  • ForeverIU

    The sense I do get is that he will be a top 5 NBA draft pick and that he has not set up college visits other than the visit he already made to IU. I’m guessing the way to interpret the 247 predictions is that IF he does not go to the NBA, then IU is favored.

  • HoosierPat

    I would much rather have a solid big man. We will have plenty of guards and wings next year.

  • Court Storming Hoosier

    Agree. Only thing I would add is throw in some full court press for a significant amount a minutes. I think we are certainly athletic enough to at least try it.

  • SCHoosier

    Even with Payne out the match-ups are not in IU’s favor. I don’t know who keeps Dawson off the boards..can’t risk NV on him and nobody else is strong enuff. Harris is also a problem..which I assume Will and Stan will try to deal with. Maybe Sparties will have a bad shooting night like IU did against NW….naaaaaaah!

  • Walton

    Michigan State can get a good lead on IU in a blink of an eye. IU would have a tough time winning this game if they had 0 turnovers, so I think several turnovers would make it out of reach. Need every single point they can get – points off of turnovers, transition from rebounds, and making free throws are essential. And the hardest thing we need is to make some open 3 pointers – not a ton, just a few. Lastly our leaders need to show up big down the stretch and take this game. I guess it comes down to they need to play their best game of the year.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Maybe, but wouldn’t it be great if we pulled a Creighton on them? Did anybody see that?? Geez, 10/10 from outside in the first few minutes and finished with 21 threes. Not likely for us but you never know, right?

  • kbb247

    I agree as well. He isn’t perfect, but he is a good coach and does an excellent job. When your team executes you look like a genius. When they play like they did Saturday (lifeless, going through the motions, etc.) you like an idiot. I have been on both sides of that fence. Most of the times, the offenses have the adjustments built into them already based on what the defense does. It requires the kids to make the right read and be smart basketball players. I.E. If they over play the wing you back cut. If the defender is trailing off of a screen you curl. The list can go on and on. Bottom line the kids have to move and cut hard in order to set “things” up. Most importantly play with energy.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I’m more worried about Dawson. He is the one who killed us last time (other than Harris).

  • Hoosier Hall

    1 minute would be more than usual for both lately…

  • And_One

    Relentless effort. Attack mode from the tip. Collect fouls. Oh, yeah, and hit your shots. I don’t expect a win. Sure, we all know it’s possible, but none of us expect it. I just want to see them play in such a way that the other guys will be relieved when it’s over.

  • N71

    Can’t help but feel like a piece of wood headed to the wood-chipper.

  • BigAd

    I would love to see JH get significant minutes off the bench tonight. I doubt he’s sat the bench for this long of a stretch in his entire life. With that being said, I’m sure he’s learned his lesson and is ready to do whatever it takes to see the court again.

  • Dee McDonald

    Our offense doesn’t move when we lose….it’s so frustrating!

  • ChitwoodIN

    What to expect? Gary Harris and missed layups. Nothing new here. But hey, let’s let the walk ons play. Oh….almost forgot, let’s let the ever so athletic/talented/gifted/prodigy hollowell put the orange sphere that he’s never seen on the floor! That’s like spewing the blither of hanner being able to dunk on 12′ rims. Hello!!!! That’d be great if there were 12′ rims. Just like it’d be great if Jeremy had seen a basketball ever hit the floor and then hit his palm immediately after.