Tonight, the Michigan State Spartans have a chance to seal a tie to become co-Big Ten Champions. The only problem? They might have to do something that they don't actually want to do in order to achieve it.
You see, in order for No. 10 Michigan State (23-7, 12-5 Big Ten) to earn its share of the championship, they'll have to root for the boys in Blue down in Ann Arbor to pull off a win against the top-ranked Indiana Hoosiers. As it stands, Indiana is 13-4 in the conference, while the Spartans sit at 12-5, alongside No. 7 Michigan and No. 14 Ohio State. A win for the Wolverines (25-5, 14-5) this evening against Indiana (25-5, 13-4), and a predictable win for the Spartans against Northwestern (13-17, 4-13) tonight, as well, will set what would be at least a three-way tie for the Big Ten regular season championship.
Regardless of this, you won't hear Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo singing any praises for the Wolverines any time soon, despite his team's current predicament. When asked who he'll be rooting for this evening, Izzo made it remarkably-clear.
"I'm going to pull for Michigan State," Izzo said. "And, I'm going to pull for Derrick Nix," he threw in concerning his team's only senior player.
"It's my dream that this program is to the point where every year in the last week, week and a half, last two, three games, we still have a mathematical chance to win a championship," Izzo added. "The only sad part for me is we had a chance to have destiny in our own hands and we didn't take care of that."
The Spartans shredded through a tough Wisconsin team late last week to set up the current scenario they find themselves in, but after a three-game losing streak, including a heartbreaking loss to Michigan, they lost the ability to manage their own outcome on the season. Now, with the final game about to be played, Michigan State must rely upon its "Big Brother" to taken down the top team in the conference so they can own a share of the spotlight as well.
In the bout against the Badgers, MSU star Keith Appling got a little of his groove back that he'd been missing in recent weeks. Still, Appling isn't going to let one good performance redeem himself for the recent slide the Spartans have taken as of late.
"It was just a matter of me staying with it and not letting the missed shots get to me," Appling told MSU's official website. "We lost three in a row and there was disappointment, upset, frustration - all of the above.
"I practice with all these guys each and every day and I know what type of players they are and individuals they are, so I never questioned our toughness."
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