Michigan State vs. Purdue Preview

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By Jeff Ghiringhelli

The Michigan State Spartans just got through with a week they would like to forget. Consecutive road games at Wisconsin and Illinois resulted in losses, and to cap it all off the Spartans lost star point guard Kalin Lucas to a sprained ankle.

The only way for MSU to forget about the past week is to go out and get a win tonight against Big Ten rivals Purdue. It has been over a week since the Spartans played at home, and the Breslin Center is sure to be rocking tonight as this game is very important.

Michigan State can get back on track and regain some control of the Big Ten race with a win tonight. They will also send a message across the Big Ten that they are back by beating one of the hottest teams in the conference. Since losing three consecutive games in January, Purdue has won five straight and sits just one and a half games behind the Spartans.

The Spartans’ chances may hinge on the availability of Lucas. He was held out of the Illinois game, and nobody was able to fill in effectively. Chris Allen, normally a shooting guard, started the game at the point and split time throughout the game with backup Korie Lucious. Even scout team point guard Mike Kebler got some playing time, which showed the dire situation the Spartans were in.

MSU turned the ball over 18 times in the game, and looked lost at times without their floor general. At this point, Lucas is still questionable but head coach Tom Izzo has seen progress in his recovery. He stated that Lucas has been getting treatment in between classes all week, and he suspects he will try to play. ESPN’s Erin Andrews reported during the Illinois game that Lucas will try to play tonight as well.

How effective Lucas will be is the main question, and it does not seem that he will be at 100 percent. Lucious will more than likely be expected to again play more minutes than he is used to, and he will have to be better tonight than on Saturday.

Purdue would love to see Lucas in street clothes tonight, as he has torched the Boilermakers in his career. He averages nearly 18 points per game against them, his highest average against any Big Ten opponent. Purdue has not won in East Lansing since 1998, a streak of nine straight losses.

Michigan State’s 18-game home winning streak is on the line, and they will also try to avoid their first three-game losing streak overall since 2007. A win would make MSU 10-2 in conference, and drop Purdue to 7-4. A loss for the Boilers would make it very tough for them to catch the Spartans with just six games left after tonight.

As for a prediction for the game, it is nearly impossible to predict a loss for Michigan State at the Breslin Center. The Izzone will be extra motivated tonight, and the presence of Lucas back on the floor will inspire the fans and team. The Spartans play well on defense, and Purdue loses their tenth straight game in East Lansing, 75-68.

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