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Daniel Wilco | | March 2, 2019

3 takeaways from Indiana's upset of No. 6 Michigan State

Indiana tops No. 6 Michigan State 63-62

Indiana has two wins against Top-10 teams this year: A 79-75 overtime win at No. 6 Michigan State on Feb. 2, and a 63-62 win at home against No. 6 Michigan State on March 2.

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With the second upset, Indiana pulled off the two-game season sweep of Michigan State for the first time since 2013. Before this season, the Hoosiers were 1-7 against the Spartans since 2014.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Indiana shot 37.7 percent, Michigan State shot 54.2 percent, and Indiana won

Michigan State was keen on letting the Hoosiers shoot. Indiana was shooting 30.8 percent from deep before Saturday — the 328th-best performance out of 353 teams. 

Heading into this game, Justin Smith was 4-for-20 on the season from 3-point range (and just 7-for-30 in his career). And then he went 3-for-4 from deep in the first half. Smith finished with a career-high 24 points.

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But the 3-pointers weren’t what killed Michigan State. Indiana was 9-for-24 on the game (37.5 percent). Better than average, but not deadly.

So how did Indiana shoot almost 20 percent worse than Michigan State and outscore them?

Indiana dominated the offensive glass

The Hoosiers picked up 15 offensive rebounds on the game. Michigan State had just five. That included a 10-1 margin in the second half, where Indiana scored six second-chance points. 

But the rebounds didn’t need to lead to points to be effective. Indiana led 63-62 and had the ball with 1:27 left. On the ensuing possession, they missed three shots, but picked up two offensive rebounds, allowing them to burn clock. There were only 34 seconds left when Michigan State got the ball back, giving them just one good look to win the game.

Michigan State out of first place in Big Ten

The upshot of all this? Michigan State fell to 14-4 in Big Ten play, pushing them out of a first-place tie with 14-3 Purdue and into a tie for second with Michigan for the time being. 

The Spartans have just two games left in the regular season — Tuesday against Nebraska, and then a rematch with No. 9 Michigan next Saturday. A second-straight outright regular season title will require at least one win there and, in all likelihood, two.

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At 6-12 in conference play, Indiana is far out of contention for the regular season title, but the second win against a top-10 team does wonders for a potential at-large bid for the Hoosiers. It's still a very long shot, but with a strong showing in the Big Ten tournament, anything could happen.

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