What’s worse than losing out on a chance to beat the No. 1 team in the country and move into the top spot in the conference? Losing to the No. 1 team in the country with a shot at improving to the Big Ten’s best team on your home floor.
Tom Izzo was not happy. The main source of their struggles fell on the shoulders of the Spartans’ leader, Keith Appling.
The point guard was held to just six points and two assists while shooting just 1-for-8 and missing some key free throws. Appling has said in the past that he is more comfortable shooting free throws when there is noise than when there is pure silence– and it showed.
This is the second game against the Hoosiers this season in which Appling was nearly non-existent. The first meeting between the two teams ended in a five point loss for the Spartans and just three points before fouling out for Appling.
If anyone is going to play with a chip on their shoulder for the remainder of the regular season, it will be Appling.
This game proved to be the match-up between the top two teams in the Big Ten, evident because of the intensity and evenly-matched play.
This will be a match-up to watch out for come Big Ten Tournament time as the Spartans and Hoosiers could meet again in the title game, making for yet another classic.