It has been a long week for the Michigan State Spartans. They were left with a sour taste in their mouth as the 2011-12 regular season came to an end last Sunday. Michigan State not only blew a big lead at home to Ohio State and saw hopes of an outright Big Ten title go out the window, but the Spartans also lost Branden Dawson to a torn ACL. Friday will be Michigan State's first chance to play since losing Dawson and the outright title, and it will be the Spartans' first game in the Big Ten tournament as the No. 1 seed since 2009.
Michigan State's opponent on Friday is Iowa. The Hawkeyes are the No. 8 seed in the 2012 Big Ten tournament and advanced on Thursday thanks to a 64-61 win over Illinois. Most of the game was very tight, but Illinois started to fade midway through the second half. Iowa did allow the Illini to get back in the game late, but a three at the buzzer was no good, sealing the victory for the Hawkeyes.
The first time Michigan State took on Iowa this season was back on Jan. 10. It was one of Michigan State's best wins of the season based solely on the score. The game was sort of a track meet, and the Spartans sprinted away with a 95-61 victory. Five players scored in double figures for MSU in the game: Draymond Green (22 points), Keith Appling (15), Brandon Wood (12), Travis Trice (10) and Derrick Nix (10). Wood, as mentioned, is out with a torn ACL.
If Michigan State beats Iowa again on Friday, a matchup against either Indiana or Wisconsin will be up next. The Hoosiers and Badgers play after Michigan State to determine the first semifinal on Saturday. Both teams would provide a very intriguing matchup for the Spartans, but first things first they need to take care of business against Iowa.
Tip off between Michigan State and Iowa is set for noon on ESPN.
For more, check out the 2012 Big Ten tournament bracket and our StoryStream. For more on the Michigan State Spartans, go to The Only Colors. You can also head over to SB Nation's main NCAA Basketball hub at SBNation.com/NCAA-Basketball.