Most prognosticators have Tom Izzo's Michigan State squad just on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble. Thursday afternoon, the Spartans made sure they stayed there as they took down Iowa 66-61 in their first round game of the Big Ten Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Matt Gatens and Bryce Cartwright paced the Hawkeyes in scoring with 14 and 13 points respectively. Cartwright also led a potent Iowa attack on the boards pulling down a team high seven rebounds. Overall, the Hawkeyes dominated the Spartans 37-29 on the glass.
Michigan State outshot Iowa, however, and overcame 15 turnovers to pull out the game late. Sparty trailed by as many as seven late in the game, but at that point they tightened the screws on defense, forcing Iowa into bad shots that resulted in a long drought for the Hawkeyes, which proved to be the difference.
Michigan State advances to face second-seeded Purdue on Friday in Indianapolis. With a sub-.500 record, Iowa's season is likely over.