Coach Painter looks so excited here, I barely have the heart to tell him that it's difficult to pick Purdue in this game.
Tom Izzo's decision to sit Kalin Lucas out of the Illinois game appears to have been made for two reasons.
One would be out of confidence that the Spartans could handle the Illini even without Lucas, as Illinois appeared a bit of a paper tiger coming in. Six of their seven conference wins had come at the expense of Big Ten weak sisters Penn State, Iowa, and Indiana.
The other would have been to make sure Lucas got as much time as possible to heal for this game. While there are other teams knocking on MSU's back door right now, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio State did not join Sparty in the national preseason Top Ten.
We can say what we like about Wisconsin's team game and Evan Turner's dominance at Ohio State, but simply put, this Tuesday's game will pit the Big Ten's two best teams against each other. Michigan State needs to avoid the same kind of three-game skid that sent Purdue tumbling down the national rankings and, provided they have a rested and healthy Lucas, it's hard not to expect that they will.
MSU 73, Purdue 71.
However, if Lucas is still hobbling, the Izzone will go home greatly disappointed.