I said before the game that this crowd would refuse to let the Spartans lose. The only way would be the Spartans laying an egg. For the second straight IU game MSU Captain Keith Appling had no impact and the Spartans fell to the Hoosiers.
The Izzone lined up at midnight. Magic was in the house, but MSU couldn’t overcome the IU intensity. I think Izzo said it best, “They came into our place where we should be eight or ten points better…I thought Indiana played hard the whole game and deserved to win.” IU head coach Tom Crean said, “A lot of times these games don’t live up to the hype… this one did.”
An obviously dejected Izzo said, “Very disappointed; had some of our key games not into the game…Best lineup in the 2nd half was three freshman, and two sophomores”
As mentioned above the Spartans can’t win big like this team potentially can without Appling. After not showing up in Bloomington, Appling disappeared again. Appling had six points and two assists, but four turnovers. Izzo said, “I really don’t know what it is. Honestly I felt bad for him. Wasn’t himself.” If you think Izzo was only upset with his captain you would be wrong.
He elaborated that, “There are some things that really disappointed me about the discipline of my team tonight.” MSU only shot 42%, but they did hold IU to 44%. MSU also had 12 turnovers compared to the Hoosiers 10.
Crean added that, “I told our players this would be the most physical college basketball game of the year.” Crean added, “Games like this aren’t about how tough you are, but smart you are.” He went on to say, “Our guys did an excellent job of never getting down.”
The best player in the nation is Victor Oladipo and he showed it tonight. He looked like a man among boys. He had 19 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes. Izzo praised him saying, “In my opinion the MVP of this league, Oladipo, made every big play.” He is right.
Crean praised his star that was hobbled by an ankle injury. He said, “Victor Oladipo wasn’t close to 100%.”
Tom Izzo was dejected, but he shouldn’t be. He can’t make shots. His team with this crowd should have beaten IU tonight. He had the right game plan and the fans did their part, but this was on the players. Not all of the players, and those that didn’t play well certainly aren’t bad kids, but it is what it is. I expect to see these two teams go at it at the Big Ten tournament and possibly in the Final Four.
Credit not only Izzo, but his assistants. They had these players ready with a solid game plan. It just wasn’t the Spartans night and there is no shame in that. IU is the #1 team for reason.
Gary Harris again went off. He led the Spartans with 19 and Adreian Payne added 17 and seven boards. Add to that a solid eight minutes by freshman Matt Costello and that is the extent of the great players.
The best medicine to get over this loss is to get back into it and the Spartans will do that. They head to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes Sunday in Columbus. That game is a 4PM tip on CBS.