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Another look: Michigan State

Seems like each game is the "biggest of the season."

That's what happens when there's a Big Ten championship on the line.

Michigan State (21-7, 11-4) is one loss behind Purdue (24-3, 12-3) in the standings, setting up Sunday's showdown in Mackey Arena.

The Spartans have had a week to prepare for the Boilermakers -- and that's following a 74-67 loss to Ohio State. At the Breslin Center. Think Michigan State, which also lost to Purdue at home, will be a bit riled up for the game Sunday?

Kalin Lucas, who took the blame for the O-State loss, is healthy again. He wasn't the last meeting with Purdue, and he's a difference-maker. The defending Big Ten Player of the Year averages 15.4 points and 4.1 assists and is brilliant at leading the Spartans' fastbreak.

But, as always, a key to beating Michigan State is competing on the boards. Without Robbie Hummel, that will be more of a challenge. Perhaps if physical guard Chris Kramer defends in the post, which is a possibility, he can mix it up and grab some more rebounds. Several guards will need to crash more than normal now.

  • ESPN's Jay Bilas offers his take on the game here.
  • Michigan State coach Tom Izzo reacts to Hummel's season-ending injury. Be sure to read to the end -- for that last quote in there by guard Chris Allen.