Whether the Spartans remain the favorite is in debate but what is now clear is that Michigan State won’t have leading scorer Kalin Lucas. The bookmaker odds are likely to continue to drift toward Northern Iowa before Friday’s Sweet Sixteen game.
Offshore betting currently lists Michigan State as a one-point favorite. It seems hard to believe that the Spartans will get a ton of action without their leading scorer. Lucas is reported to have a torn left Achilles’ tendon and that would mean surgery and a recovery period of about five months. "Even if it's just a sprain, he wouldn't play" Izzo said.
The Spartans would not have had an easy time against Northern Iowa anyway. The Panthers upset top-ranked Kansas and they are no fluke. It is somewhat surprising that offshore betting odds favor Michigan State. The Spartans didn’t really look good in either of their two wins but somehow they survived. The needed a last second three-pointer by Korie Lucious to beat Maryland.
The Spartans are in the Sweet Sixteen for the ninth time in 13 seasons. Whether they can get past Northern Iowa without Lucas is the question that the bookmaker must answer. The players for Michigan State are tyring to look ahead. "We can't look at whoever lost," Michigan State’s Durrell Summers said, "We got to advance and prepare for Northern Iowa."
The Spartans have a number of injury concerns beyond Lucas. Chris Allen, Delvon Roe and Raymar Morgan suffered injuries. "We've got a 'MASH' unit," head coach Tom Izzo said. "The bottom of Chris' foot is purple, Delvon is playing on one leg and Raymar looks like a hockey player with his tooth cut in half. We think we can get Chris back -- after showing toughness we've never seen from him -- and we'll hold Delvon out of practice to let him rest as much as we can."
Michigan State is not going to have Lucas though and he is a major part of their team. He was first in minutes played, points, assists, field goals attempted and field goals made for the Spartans this season. He is a two-time All-Big Ten player and 2009 conference player of the year. "We're going to need everybody we have in uniform to step up," Izzo said. "There were times we had two walk-ons, a freshman and a sophomore on the court Sunday and that probably won't be the last time in the tournament. Northern Iowa is good, but thank God they're not a team that presses like Maryland."