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Monday, March 4
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

IU looks to end streak at MSU

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The last time IU won at Michigan State’s vaunted Breslin Center, only three current Hoosiers had been born, Bob Knight was at the IU helm and Tom Izzo was still a Spartan assistant.

Since winning 62-56 on Feb. 28, 1991, IU has lost its last 17 road games at Michigan State.

The Hoosiers hope to snap that streak tonight in the Breslin Center’s first ever matchup between top-five teams when No. 1 IU takes on No. 4 MSU.

“There’s no question it’s not only one of the best (arenas) in the league, it’s one of the best in the country,” IU Coach Tom Crean said. “They’ve got a great fan base. They’ve got great students. The energy in the building, the music, the pageantry is just tremendous.”

Legendary former Spartan Magic Johnson will man the microphone for tonight’s ESPN telecast. It has been a few years — just more than 35 to be exact — since Johnson first suited up himself at home against IU.

In the 31 East Lansing matchups between the teams since, IU has won just seven times. IU’s futility in East Lansing, Mich., predates even the Breslin Center, which opened in 1989 and broke ground three years prior.

It is in the Breslin Center, though, and since Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo took over in 1995 — with Crean as an assistant — that the famed Izzone, MSU’s student section of more than 3,000, came to be. The group is organizing a “white out” for tonight’s game, but it is hardly the first monochromatic crowd IU has seen this season.

Ohio State organized a “gray out” when IU visited Feb. 10, but it did not work. In an arena more speckled with colors than Buckeyes probably would have liked, they fell to the Hoosiers 81-68 in IU’s first road victory against a top-10 opponent since 2000.

Senior guard Jordan Hulls said he hopes it will not take another 13 years until the next one.

“It’s tough to play anywhere in the Big Ten on the road,” Hulls said. “Obviously having some experience with getting wins on the road is going to help, but (MSU is) a great team. It’s going to be a good matchup, and we’re excited to play. We can learn from those experiences.”

Hulls has played in the last two road losses against the Spartans and admitted there is extra motivation in tonight being his last chance to end the losing streak.

“I just want to win,” Hulls said. “It is my last time going up there. We’ve got a good game plan and we’ve got to stick with that. It’s definitely going to be a hyped-up game. It’s exciting to play in that environment. It’s going to be a good time.”

While Hulls can draw inspiration from his final shot at the Spartans on the road, sophomore forward Cody Zeller needs only to look at his first game in the Breslin Center, last season’s Big Ten opener. In an 80-65 loss, IU’s first of the season, Zeller was limited to four points and spent much of the game in foul trouble.

He said he has since studied tape and learned from the game but expects no less from the environment he saw his first time there.

“I’m sure it will be louder,” Zeller said. “I’ve seen and played against good student sections, so I don’t think it’s going to get in my head too much … We’re always excited to play in big loud environments whether they’re cheering for us or against us.”

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