Game Preview: No. 13 Indiana at No. 16 Michigan State

Seth NewmanCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2011

The undefeated No. 13 Indiana Hoosiers (12-0) are off to their best start since 1977. On Dec. 28th, they come to East Lansing to face No. 16 Michigan State (11-2).

It has been a long turnaround for Indiana under coach Tom Crean, a Tom Izzo disciple.

The Hoosiers are an early surprise this season after beating previous No.1 Kentucky on a last second buzzer beater. The win against Kentucky has led many fans to proclaim that Indiana basketball is back.

The win undoubtedly put Indiana basketball back in the public spotlight. But with Indiana’s conference record of 8-36 over the last three years, fans might want to hold off raising a conference banner just yet.

The Spartans will have to find a way to stop talented freshmen forward Cody Zeller. Zeller is leading the Hoosiers in points, with 15.1 per game, and rebounds, with 7.3 per game.

The Hoosiers are a high-scoring team, averaging 84.8 points per game. That's good enough to put them at seventh in the nation. Indiana makes sure its shots count too, shooting 51 percent from the floor—good for fifth in the nation.

The Spartans come into Big Ten Conference play having won their last 11 games. MSU’s first two games were played against then-No.1 North Carolina, and No.6 Duke—a challenge that most teams would shy away from.

Michigan State will have the advantage on the boards, as Indiana has been a weak rebounding team so far. The Spartans, meanwhile, are sixth in the nation and average 41.9 rebounds per game. MSU players are not selfish; they ranking 12th in the nation in assists with 17.5 per game.

Senior forward Draymond Green is one of four players in the nation who lead their teams in points, rebounds and assists per game. The Saginaw native is averaging 15.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

This is a tough opening game for both teams, but will help determine how far these squads have come since last season.

Tip off is at 7:30 on Dec. 28th.