Tuesday Night in the NCAA
Tuesday evening’s feature game was Indiana at Michigan State. It proved to be everything a basketball fan could ask for. But the catalyst, and major difference was the play of one man, Victor Oladipo.
Spartans’ head coach Tom Izzo remarked as to what transformed a ‘good’ Hoosier team to a ‘great Hoosier’ team. ”He makes them better,” Izzo said.
Oladipo suffered a sprained ankle against Syracuse Saturday night, and sat out the second hald. Tuesday evening, he shook off the injury to lead his team to a 72-68 victory, which was only decided in the last minute of play. ”Oladipo is just a refuse-to-lose guy,” Izzo said. ”Winning time, he made the plays.”
Asked how his ankle felt during the game, Oladipo redponded: ”I’m not going to lie, it hurt a little,” Oladipo said. ”But I wanted to win.” ”There’s no doubt his foot hurt,” Head coach Tom Crean said. ”That mind was right, and that was the biggest thing.”
Oladipo’s go-ahead putback, dunk and free throws in the final minute gave him 19 points to go with nine rebounds, five steals and a block.
With just 3.7 seconds left in the game, Indiana was up by three points. Gary Harris attempted a 3 pointer for the Spartans and was fouled. He missed the first and the crowd groaned. He made the second, and purposely missed the third. Guess who got the rebound? Oladipo was fouled, and made both free throws to seal the victory.
Indiana will undoubtedly stay in the number 1 spot. We’ll wait and see if Michigan State remains number 4. Either way, both of these teams will be in the Tournament, and both will be a force to be reckoned with.
In another top 10 game, number 5 ranked Florida was visiting Missouri. The Tigers have had a tough season on the road, but have been a solid team on their home court. But Tuesday’s game found them trailing by as much as 13 points.
They didn’t turn the game around until a 3-pointer by Jabari Brown pulled Mizzou within a point, 57-56, with 3:10 remaining. Another three-point play by point guard Phil Pressey moments later gave the Tigers their first lead of the game, 59-57.
The teams exchanged baskets until a pair of foul shots by Keion Bell with 3 seconds remaining made it 63-60, the final score.
Missouri improved to 19-7 overall and 8-5 in the SEC. The Tigers are 15-0 at home. First-place Florida fell to 21-4 and 11-2.
Three weeks and six days until the first tip-off!
Columnist-The Guardian Express