Michigan State Basketball: Kalin Lucas and Spartans Peaking at the Right Time

James EvensCorrespondent IMarch 12, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11:  Kalin Lucas #1 of the Michigan State Spartans pushes the ball up court as he is pressed by Terone Johnson #0 of the Purdue Boilermakers during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 11, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Michigan State Spartans led by Tom Izzo and Kalin Lucas are peaking at just the right time in March. Izzo's Spartans have had a disappointing season for a team that was projected to be a national title contender.

The Spartans lost many key out-of-conference top 25 battles and overall just struggled at times.

Michigan State proved a lot of doubters wrong as they went into the Big Ten Tournament on the bubble in a lot of bracketologist's brackets.  

They were all set for a battle with Purdue when Kalin Lucas went off.  

Lucas was great and looked like a national player of the year candidate hitting 8-of-15 from the field and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, while racking up 30 points.

After the game Matt Painter had some nice words to say about Lucas.

"Kalin Lucas was just special," Coach Painter said.

The senior found a way to lead his team to victory by a huge margin and just overpowered the Boilermakers.

The Michigan State Spartans have got a little run going, and are gearing up for a big performance in March.

Not only was Lucas a one-man wrecking ball, but the Spartans were playing like a team, forcing turnovers, making good passes and just getting it done. 

The worst thing that anyone can do right now is sleep on this Michigan State team. Although they are not considered a title contender, they could definitely be labeled a dark-horse. 

Sure, they lost a lot of out-of-conference games, but they played great teams, something that will be invaluable come tournament time.  

Michigan State is set to tip off with Penn State this afternoon for an opportunity to go to the finals of the Big Ten Tournament.

So when filling out brackets next week, don't count out Michigan State, you will regret it.

James Evens serves as a National Featured Columnist for college football and basketball as well as the FC for the Purdue Boilermakers.   Follow him on Twitter or like him on Facebook.

He is currently covering the Big Ten Tournament for Bleacher Report.com.  Follow his twitter account at the link above for real time analysis.