Michigan State Closing in on NCAA Tournament Berth

Michigan State still controls its destiny, and a win over Michigan surely puts them in the field of 68, but if the Spartans go 0-2 against their rival, other opportunities will present themselves.
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EAST LANSING – Michigan State basketball is on the verge of making the NCAA Tournament following a 64-58 victory over Indiana Tuesday night.

It's not easy to see why especially after an extremely sloppy game featuring low shooting percentages and numerous fouls/turnovers.

"It was an ugly game ... everybody pitched in, and guys are contributing at the right times," junior forward Aaron Henry said. "I'm proud of them for doing that."

Yet, here we are, with MSU 1-2 wins away from an official bid. It's all that's left, and the Spartans aren't required to beat Michigan. 

However, one upset against their rival and Michigan State is in – the committee can't ignore three top-5 wins in that span.

Regardless, the pressure is off, and the Spartans can compete against U-M, knowing their season isn't over if they finish 0-2. Realistically, MSU will have a shot at a good team in the Big Ten Tournament.

Naturally, Michigan State wants to overwhelm the Wolverines, but the beatdown that Illinois served up down the road, makes it nearly impossible to predict a win on Thursday.

Not to mention the obvious, MSU hasn't played Michigan this year and will have one day of rest and prep before tip-off. Not exactly a winning formula.

The six-point win against IU reminded people the Spartans still don't have a point guard and aren't particularly good at shooting 3-pointers. But you'll take the win, and you'll take Henry scoring 12 straight points down the stretch and dragging Michigan State to the finish line.

He led them to another win and did so at less than 100%. The junior captain didn't have it all night but came alive in the right moments and led his guys in the huddle. 

"The pressure is on us; everyone knows it, we know it," said Henry. "Whether we try to address the issue or not, the pressure is on us ... with the things that we are trying to do and the places we're trying to go, we have to continue to bear down."

MSU simply didn't have the energy two days after a loss at Maryland – missing their first five shots in the first half and 11 straight early in the second. It was a gritty win, the Spartans had to grind it out, and again, you'll take it because it gets them one step closer to the big dance.

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