After suffering two consecutive conference losses for the first time since 2007-08, the Michigan State Spartans (19-5, 9-2) will have their leading scorer and floor general Kalin Lucas back on Tuesday against the sixth-ranked Purdue Boilermakers (19-4, 7-3).
Lucas was sidelined due to an awkward fall on Keaton Nankivil's (Wisconsin) foot in Sparty's 67-49 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers last Tuesday.
Lucas is Tom Izzo's leading scorer with 16 points per contest, and leads in assists with four per game. His presence is a necessity in every game if State wants to win its sixth league title under coach Izzo.
Now is the time for the conference's reigning player of the year to get his team back in the saddle with one of his patented game-breaking outings.
The floodgates have been opened for the rest of the league to sneak to the top of the Big Ten's leader board, due to the recent slide of Izzo's club.
There's cause for Izzo to worry a bit going into tomorrow night's duel with the Boilers. Wisconsin, Ohio State, Purdue, and Illinois are breathing down his neck as we speak, preparing to pounce should Sparty slip up.
With a feeble one-game lead over the Badgers, Tuesday's showdown with the Paint Crew is a must win for State.
With the 6'1" Lucas back in the lineup, look for a hungry Izzo clan to come out firing all on cylinders.
Sophomore Korie Lucious' performance (along with Mike Kebler and Chris Allen) emphasized the importance of the leadership role taken by the man they call "Too Easy."
Six turnovers wasn't exactly what Izzo expected from his point-guard Lucious, and his club gives the ball up 18 times per game. As a point guard, the job is to hang onto the ball—Lucas does that.
As always, limiting turnovers, controlling the boards, and dictating the tempo of the game will be imperative Tuesday night.
With all systems go, it's time for Lucas to right the green and white ship, leading his league-best team to victory.