Michigan State Basketball logoMichigan State Basketball

Michigan State Basketball: Derrick Nix Dirty or Was It Indiana's Cody Zeller?

Derrick Nix and Cody Zeller, or Ali versus Frazier? You be the judge.
Derrick Nix and Cody Zeller, or Ali versus Frazier? You be the judge.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Adam BiggersSenior Analyst IIFebruary 20, 2013

Tuesday night's clash between Big Ten heavyweights, No. 1 Indiana and No. 4 Michigan State, lived up to its billing. 

College basketball followers were treated to a rough-and-tumble slugfest, led by Spartans center Derrick Nix and Hoosiers big man Cody Zeller. 

The Hoosiers emerged with the win at the Breslin Center, 72-68, after downing the Spartans on Jan. 27 in Bloomington, 75-70.

Both matches were physical, but Tuesday's had the feel of a boxing match: Nix and Zeller were toe-to-toe and shoulder-to-shoulder in the ring for most of the evening, poking and prodding each other during the battle for conference supremacy. 

The "dirty player" argument erupted on Twitter, messageboards, Facebook and just about every other social platform imaginable. Nix re-tweeted a verbal jab, seconding a Twitter user's comment about Zeller being a "punk bitch." Zeller responded, taking the high road in the debate by calling Nix and the Spartans "very talented." (via mlive.com)

Zeller won the war with 17 points and five rebounds, while Nix finished with eight points and four boards. 

But the question remains: Who was the dirtiest of the dirty? Which player really bent the code of ethics on the court by way of underhanded (or left-handed, in Nix's case) play? 

Below is video proof of one such encounter. Nix was lambasted for his hit to Zeller's private region, but a slow-motion replay clearly shows Zeller pulling Nix's arm into his groin.

While both played typical Big Ten-style basketball, neither were guilty of gross misconduct. Minus football helmets and pads, Big Ten basketball is a lot like the conference's gridiron. 

Zeller and Nix played within the parameters, and that's that.

Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan State Spartans basketball writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices