Published: Thu, February 22, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Big Ten Basketball: Illinois at Michigan State

Big Ten Basketball: Illinois at Michigan State

Red-hot Michigan State has wrapped up a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship in men's basketball with a convincing home win against IL. Sagaba Konate had 10 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocks for the Mountaineers, who led by as many as 28 and ended the Bears' five-game winning streak.

Abdur-Rahkman, an Allentown, Pennsylvania native and former Penn State recruiting target, leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio while chipping in nearly 12 points a contest.

Of the three possible spots MI could wind up, No. 6 seeds have had the most success throughout the Big Ten tournament's 20-year history with a 30-18 record, one championship and two runner-up finishes.

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"They don't have any weaknesses", IL coach Brad Underwood said. So they will be somewhere between loose and disinterested. "It was the Northwestern I'm sure we all thought we'd see this year".

The Spartans were ready, and raised a banner to mark the occasion in a ceremony after the game. Mike Watkins leads in rebounds with 9.2 while Carr tops in assists with 4.9 per game. The two-headed monster in the frontcourt will certainly need offensive contributions from their teammates such as guard Suzanne Gilreath, who enters the game with 69 made 3-point field goals, which is tied for sixth for the single-season program record. The Wolverines play smart basketball with poise and maturity, which has also manifested itself in the highest assist-to-turnover ratio in the conference.

"I've been planning it out since I was a freshman", Nairn said. "I've started in a Final Four, I've won championships here and now I'm about to get a college degree".

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Michigan State, which won its 11th straight game, outscored IL 43-26 in the second half.

Switching to the game, the Spartans are taking on a reeling IL team that has lost four of its last five games and 10 of the last 13 overall. The Fighting Illini's defense ranks sixth nationally in turnovers forced, turning teams over 17.43 times per game.

Illinois' Leron Black scored 20 points and Trent Frazier had 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting. The first team All American at the start of the season is scoring 17 points per game, ripping down 7 rebounds per game, and dishing out almost 3 assists per game. Kaleb Wesson finished with 14 points and Kam Williams had 13 as the Buckeyes bounced back from consecutive road losses that dropped them from the top of the Big Ten standings. The Spartans can clinch a tie for the Big Ten title with a win tonight against IL.

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Tonight's game tips off at 7 p.m. and can be found on ESPN with Dave Flemming and Fran Fraschilla on the call.

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