Michigan State, Indiana square off, both teams in must-win mode

·2 min read

Michigan State is going through a challenging stretch in an effort to make a late surge toward an NCAA Tournament berth.

After posting upsets over top-five teams Illinois and Ohio State last week, the Spartans took a step back with a 73-55 loss at Maryland on Sunday. But Michigan State (13-10, 7-10 Big Ten) has a chance to quickly get back on track with a home game Tuesday night against struggling Indiana at East Lansing, Mich.

"Goals haven't changed," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "The situation I talked to my guys privately about six days ago hasn't changed one bit. We've got to go home and beat Indiana and that's what we're going to try to do."

The Spartans will close a stretch of playing six games in the span of 13 days with a home-and-home against No. 2 Michigan on Thursday and Sunday.

Izzo said he's looking for the Spartans to get off to a better start against Indiana after falling behind 11-0 at the outset of the Maryland loss.

"It was just disappointing that we started out the way we did," Izzo said.

Indiana (12-12, 7-10) is looking to snap a season-long, three-game losing streak. The Hoosiers have struggled defensively during the stretch, giving up an average of 75 points over their last three games.

"Our defense in general in conference play has been a big letdown," Indiana coach Archie Miller said.

The two teams last met less than two weeks ago, with Michigan State winning at Indiana 78-71 as Aaron Henry matched his career high of 27 points. Trayce Jackson-Davis scored a career-high 34 points for Indiana, as the Spartans chose not to double-team the star 6-foot-9 forward in the post.

Indiana will likely again be without Armaan Franklin, who is tied for second on the team with a 11.6 scoring average. Franklin suffered a bone bruise in his foot against Rutgers last Wednesday. Miller said Saturday he expects Franklin to miss the rest of the regular season.

Indiana needs a win against Michigan State and another at rival Purdue on Saturday in order to get back on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble heading into next week's Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.

"We have to be more fearless," said Indiana guard Al Durham, who is averaging 17.5 points over his last two games. "We have to come out hungrier than our opponent. We have to come out wanting it more. I feel like we need to lock in even better each day and continue to lock in and stay with the process and I feel like we will break through here soon."

--Field Level Media