With impressive play recently under Tom Izzo, Michigan State (23-5) has survived and played extremely well while dealing with injuries.
The Spartans are tied with Purdue for first place in the Big Ten and are looking to extend their five-game winning streak.
Michigan State led by double digits early in the second half, but the Hoosiers came back until Indiana's Juwan Morgan made an and-one with 1:46 left to give in its first lead since the opening minute of the game. IU defeated Michigan State, 79-75 in overtime, in early February in East Lansing, Michigan.
If the Hoosiers can sweep the remaining two games, then make some mild noise in the league tournament, in might find itself receiving a pair of dancing slippers. In the first half, Winston secured nine points and seven assists resulting in a 35-28 lead for the Spartans at halftime, but Smith would not let that stop him. The Hoosiers also attacked Michigan State on the glass for much of the second half, outrebounding them on the offensive end 15 to 5 on the night, including a 10 to 1 advantage in the second half. Assembly Hall should be rocking and the Hoosiers have to find a way to win this one. In the last meeting, IN had five players score IN double figures, even with Juwan Morgan going down with an injury.
This time, it was Justin Smith leading the way.
The Spartans are hoping to remain atop the conference with a win, but it won't be an easy task given the way IN has been playing lately, especially at home.
Cassius Winston is potentially the most risky player on the floor between both teams. Very active in his 13 minutes, Morgan finished with five points and six rebounds.
The Spartans had two tries at game-winning shots as time elapsed but were unable to get the job done. Kenny Goins added 14 points for Michigan State while Xavier Tillman chipped in 11. If the Hoosiers come out on top on Saturday, they will begin their first winning streak since December 1, where they won seven straight.
There are two ways to look at this season for IN - the cup half full view is to focus on how a team that played so poorly to lose at Rutgers and Northwestern could also sweep a top five team like Michigan State.
Spartans run out of gas against Hoosiers. The team won just one game in a 13-game stretch, and many assumed that their chance of making an appearance in March was impossible.
In a stunning development, the hopes of the Indiana Hoosiers to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament are not only alive, but thriving.