Before the season began, did you think Indiana would be ranked higher than Michigan State when the Hoosiers traveled to East Lansing to open up the Big Ten season? I know I didn’t, but they are.
Tonight, the 15th ranked Hoosiers travel to their own personal house of horrors, The Breslin Center, to face 17th ranked Michigan State. It is the first Big Ten game for both teams.
Indiana enters the game an unblemished 12-0 while Michigan State is 11-2, having reeled off 11 straight victories after starting 0-2 with losses to North Carolina and Duke.
As always, we will be hosting The Assembly Call IU Postgame Show, which starts as soon as the final buzzer sounds.
IU-Michigan State Game Info
- Date: Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
- Tip Time: 7:30 ET (6:30 CT)
- TV: BTN
- Announcers: TBD (according to Peegs’ Gameday page)
- Point Spread: Michigan State -5
- Over-Under: 140
- Postgame Show: The Assembly Call
Indiana is one of three Big Ten teams currently in the top 6 of Ken Pomeroy’s rankings. Michigan State is 14th. Kenpom’s projections for the game have Indiana losing 71-69 with a 43% chance of coming away victorious.
If the Hoosiers are able to find a way to win, it would be their first win in the Breslin Center since Calbert Cheaney was wearing #40. Tonight, he’ll be on the bench watching Cody Zeller wear #40.
Of course the biggest storyline for Indiana is injuries. Coming out of the Hoosiers’ win over UMBC, there were question marks about Will Sheehey, Derek Elston, and Verdell Jones.
Elston should be fine to play, but he will be forced to wear a protective mask due to the nose surgery he had to undergo after taking a stray elbow from Victor Oladipo.
As best I can tell, the latest update on Sheehey and Jones is this from Tom Crean’s recent press conference (via Inside The Hall):
On the team’s health:
“There is really nothing new to report. Will and Verdell stayed back and got some extra treatment before heading out for Christmas and they continue to get better.”
So that’s that. We’ll just have to see who suits up tonight at 6:30.
If I were to guess, I’d say Verdell plays and Sheehey doesn’t, but I am basing that on nothing more than watching Sheehey on the sidelines last week and the lack of any catastrophic news regarding Jones’ injury. I hope they both play, but more importantly I hope they come back 100%, whenever that is.
I know that we all want to get off to a good start in the Big Ten season, and it will be tough to do against Michigan State, Ohio State, and Michigan even at full strength; but even if we go 1-2 or 0-3, it’s not the end of the world. This is a good, mentally tough team that – I think – can overcome a slow Big Ten start and still get to 10, 11, or even more wins. There is no reason to sacrifice the long-term to rush guys back who aren’t fully healed.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to go. The nonconference schedule was great, and far more enjoyable than I ever could have imagined, but now it’s time for conference play. The Hoosiers have only won eight games in conference play under Tom Crean, even regressing last year from four wins to three; 12-0 against non-Big Ten teams is nice, but the real season starts now. Hopefully it gets off on the right foot tonight.
IU-Michigan State Postgame Show
As soon as the final buzzer sounds, the postgame show begins. Feel free to listen right here:
Call-in number: (858) 365-5571
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IU-Michigan State Chat
Our postgame chat will start late in the 2nd half and continue on throughout the postgame show. We may or may not have a moderator tonight, but feel free to talk amongst yourselves, and the hosts will pop in from time to time to see what the hot topics are.