Michigan State hasn't missed the NCAA Tournament since 1997, and that streak will extend into 2016 regardless of Sunday's result in the Big Ten tournament final. However, Tom Izzo's squad would love to pick up the win over Purdue and make its case for a No. 1 seed in next week's dance.
First, the Spartans have to get past Purdue, which is also a lock to have its name called on Selection Sunday. The Boilermakers earned a 24-7 record in the regular season and had no problem handling Michigan in the semifinal round. Purdue ran out to a 76-59 win, possibly ending the Wolverines' hopes of claiming an at-large bid. Michigan State had a bit more trouble with Maryland, but still emerged as the 64-61 victors, with Denzel Valentine racking up 18 points.
Purdue and MSU met just once in the regular season, an overtime thriller on Feb. 9. Valentine had a dominant performance with 27 points and 10 assists, but Purdue's Rapheal Davis was equally impressive, scoring 24 points and pulling down seven rebounds. The Boilermakers had a 46-30 lead at halftime, but the Spartans rallied back in overtime, which Purdue eventually won, 82-81. Michigan State hasn't lost a game since then.
With both teams guaranteed to play in the NCAA Tournament, this game is more about bragging rights than anything else. However, there should be plenty of exciting action and a possible preview of things to come next week. The Spartans are favorites to reach the Final Four, while Purdue has the talent to make a nice run of its own.
How to watch
When: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET
Where: Bakers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
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