WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Michigan State has a decent chance at leaving this weekend alone in first place in the Big Ten.
Michigan’s heartbreaking defeat at Wisconsin earlier today gave the Wolverines (8-3) three league loss and Indiana (8-2) plays at Ohio State Sunday, a very losable game.
But so is tonight for Michigan State (8-2). Not because Purdue is a world-beater, but more so because MSU remains beat up and is playing an athletic team, in a tough venue, three days before a much-anticipated meeting with its rival.
Backup guard Travis Trice won’t play again tonight. He’s yet to be cleared from concussion-like symptoms stemming from a knee to the head on Jan. 31 against Illinois.
Gary Harris will play. How effective he is, especially defensively, remains to be seen. He was clearly hobbled by the lingering effects of back spasms during MSU win over Minnesota Wednesday.
Keith Appling is set to go, as well, though will be see his first action since seeing his shoulder pop out of its socket late in Wednesday’s win.
This is a big opportunity for MSU, during a week when its competitors are losing games to teams the Spartans haven beaten.
Forty more minutes of basketball and then MSU can focus on Tuesday’s showdown with Michigan.
More at halftime.