Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Hoosier basketball.

Saturday, February 24

IU Not Quite Tough Enough Against Michigan State

If you're an Indiana fan (and you wouldn't be reading this if you weren't), the Michigan State loss hurt. The Hoosiers had a 10-point halftime lead, a 13-point edge early in the second half.

They were forcing turnovers and hitting threes. They weren't getting anything from D.J. White, but freshman guard Armon Bassett was playing like he didn't know he was a freshman. If senior point guard Earl Calloway was still out with a shoulder injury, Bassett would make it irrelevant.

Then it all slipped away. Rod Wilmont (pictured) and A.J. Ratliff became non-factors. Drew Neitzel broke free for three three-pointers. Raymar Morgan and Travis Walton broke loose for big plays. The Spartans surged and the Izzone fans roared and when it was over, IU was done, a 66-58 loser.

So once again the Hoosiers fought the good fight. They were tough minded and competitive and tenacious. They just weren't that way long enough. Once again the second-half road was their nemesis.

That's the bad news. The good news is that they will win their last two regular season games -- at Northwestern on Wednesday and against Penn State next Saturday. They will finish 20-9 overall and 10-6 in the Big Ten and if that's not Ohio State good, it will be good enough for a NCAA Tournament berth. And doesn't that matter the most?


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