After playing the ugliest game of his career and perhaps the most brutal contest any fan has had to witness in college basketball in recent years, Talor Battle had it on his mind to play at least a tad better against Michigan State. Well, luckily the tempo didn’t seem as slow as Friday’s game versus the Wisconsin Badgers, but it still was slow enough to control the Spartans. The Penn State Nittany Lions might have just
battled 'Talor-Battled' their win into the NCAA Tournament after its huge win against Michigan State, 61-48.
In the first two games of the Big Ten Tournament, Battle was averaging only 11 points a game. Things were a little different Saturday as he finished with 25 points, with the majority of those points coming in the second half. He took advantage of the flat-footed Spartans in later in the game, sizzling buckets after buckets at will. Michigan State just looked like the fatigue had set into them by the time the deficit was seven.
(More after the jump)
During the regular season, the teams split the series at one a piece, with each team winning its contest at home. The tiebreaker went to Battle’s Lions as he assisted his team every way possible, including seven rebounds. Senior Kalin Lucas of Michigan State tweaked his ankle midway through the first half and that seemed to affect his play calling when he drove into the lane.
Battle wasn’t the only Nittany Lion on the prowl against the Spartans as Tim Frazier scored a career-high, 22 points. Going nine for 13 from the field, this sophomore had the confidence that no one seemed to have for Penn State a night ago. He was the burst of energy that this team needed early in this game as Michigan State was clinging to a 19-10 advantage, seven of those coming from Frazier.
The game started off extremely well for the Spartans right from the get-go as Draymond Green hit a fade-away jay and Durrell Summers looked like Lightning McQueen blazing through defenders and hitting a few easy shots.
Even with a questionable ankle, Lucas empowered his way through to play 35 minutes for Michigan State and scoring a team-high 16 points. Lucas was coming off a career-high 30 points a night ago. He is not the Spartan I am worried about at this moment. That award belongs to Green. Excluding the game against Iowa, Green hasn’t played great in over a month.
Personally, I didn’t approve of the starting lineup that Tom Izzo put on the court to begin the game for one reason. Freshman Adreian Payne started at the five-spot but played minimal minutes throughout the ballgame.
So right now, it looks like the B10 quite possibly will have seven teams get their tickets stamped in order to dance. The bubble is still full of Legends and Leaders with Michigan State, Penn State, Michigan, and Illinois all not 100% sure of being in.
After the Spartans victory against Purdue Friday night, Michigan State seems to be a lock into the tournament. But, it is not a guarantee on what type of seed this team will get come Sunday. Michigan State has had to overcome a lot of issues this season and somehow still squeaked its way into conversation again for the tournament. The number two preseason ranked team has yet to play up to its true potential, but DO NOT could them out once the Izzone puts on its dancing shoes.
Penn State comes back to play in Conseco Fieldhouse tomorrow to play its fourth game in four days as they take on Ohio State. Ohio State won the B10 Tournament a year ago by blowing out a hopeful Minnesota Golden Gophers team. The Buckeyes are vying for the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament while the Nittany Lions are just trying to cement their walk into the tournament.