The Michigan State Spartans have a key Big Ten match-up against the Indiana Hoosiers tonight at the Breslin Center. Unfortunately the Spartans will have to play the game without a key player. Adreian Payne is doubtful for the game tonight against the Hoosiers head coach Tom Izzo told the Joe Rexrode from the Detroit Free Press.
This would be the fourth consecutive game the Spartans forward has missed because of plantar faciitis.
Payne was a big reason the Spartans beat the Hoosier on the road earlier in the season. Even though he only registered four points in that game, Payne was still a huge factor when setting screens and getting players open.
The one thing I will say about Adreian that is hard to realize is that even playing against Indiana (last time), he didn’t play real well down there,” Izzo said of Payne’s four points and five rebounds in MSU’s 73-56 win in Bloomington on Jan.4. “What he does is where you were running a ball screen with (Payne), Keith now sees a wall. With A.P. picking and popping you don’t see that. They have to guard him differently. They have to guard him differently in the post.
Without Payne in the line-up that will make it more difficult for players like Keith Appling to get open looks at the basket.
They could take me out of the game as much as they want. As long as Denzel (Valentine), Gary (Harris) and BJ (Dawson) still doing their job and helping us win, I’m fine with that.” said Keith Appling to MLive.
Gary Harris, who has been playing in the front court lately, has definitely risen to the occasion. Harris has blossomed in Adreian Payne’s absence. Harris has averaged 17 points per game over the last four games and has shown his ability to take over games.
A win over Indiana (2-3 in Big Ten) would all but eliminate them from Big Ten title contention. So you can bet the Hoosiers will be ready for a fight when they roll into the Breslin Center tonight.
You can watch the Michigan State Spartans battle the Indiana Hoosiers on ESPN starting at 7:00 pm.