Spartans coach Tom Izzo will need Keith Appling to impose his will on Minnesota in order to avoid another loss.
Talk about Big Ten basketball, and the first thing that gets mentioned is the physicality of the league.
That much was true Wednesday night as the Michigan State Spartans (19-4, 8-2) defended their home court with passion and intensity during a 61-50 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers (18-5, 5-5).
Fouls, blocks and quite possibly a dislocated shoulder (Keith Appling) couldn't keep Michigan State from bouncing back from an absolutely horrid first half. The Gophers, who had troubles of their own, led the 12th-ranked Spartans 20-18 after the first 20 minutes.
However, about seven minutes into the second, Michigan State finally woke up and went on a 21-4 run. Trailing by eight to 10 points for most of the final 10 minutes, the Gophers refused to walk away.
Trevor Mbakwe, as he usually does, led Minnesota with 14 rebounds (he leads the Big Ten, too). His nine points were important, as scoring was difficult throughout the entire night.
Andre Hollins paced the Gophers offense with 11 points.
Spartans super frosh Gary Harris led with 15 points, with 12 coming from three-point land. Keith Appling scored 14, Adreian Payne finished with 11 and Denzel Valentine contributed eight by coming off the bench.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan State Spartans basketball writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81