No. 5 Illinois is battling for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA competition. Michigan State is battling a long shot just to get in.
The Spartans pulled off an upset Tuesday that could fundamentally affect the destiny of the two teams. Michigan State opened up a 19-point second-half and held on for a 81-72 success to shock Illinois in a success it will probably have to keep alive its NCAA competition trusts.
Junior forward Aaron Henry drove Michigan State with 20 points, five bounce back and six assists as four Spartans scored in double figures. The Spartans associated on 54.2 percent of their field goals while holding Illinois to 40 percent shooting from the floor and 29.4 percent from 3-point distance. Illinois likewise battled from the line, hitting 19 of 34 attempts (55.9 percent).
In the same way as other of the country’s top programs, Michigan State itself in an unfamiliar region this season and is at genuine danger of missing the NCAA competition for the first time since 1997, Tom Izzo’s second season as head coach. Tuesday’s success will not get the Spartans in. In any case, it will go far in aiding their odds.
The Spartans have five regular-season games staying before the Big Ten competition. One of those games is Thursday at No. 4 Ohio State before they close the season with consecutive games against third-ranked Michigan. They’ll have a lot of opportunities to help their resume in what simply a week ago resembled a lost season.
Illinois, in the interim, is playing for an alternate set of stakes. It’s a lock to make the competition, yet stays in a dogfight close by Big Ten opponents Michigan and Ohio State to join probably top seeds Baylor and Gonzaga on the NCAA competition bracket’s top line. Tuesday’s misfortune will not assistance the reason.