A player to watch: Michigan State

A player to watch: Michigan State

If Indiana is going to be successful on the road at the Breslin Center against arguably the Big Ten's best team, Will Sheehey is going to need to step up. Here's why we think that's the case.

With each game this season we'll put the spotlight on an Indiana player that we believe is someone to keep an eye on for that particular game.

For tonight's game against Michigan State, we'll take a look at senior Will Sheehey:

This is a big game for Sheehey, especially coming off a disappointing effort in Saturday's 54-47 loss to Northwestern. In that game, Sheehey was limited to two points on 1-of-7 shooting including missing all three of his 3-point attempts. For Indiana to be successful, some performances have to be a given. IU needs Yogi Ferrell to grab a good share of the scoring load. The same is true for Noah Vonleh. And Sheehey is arguably the third player in that group that has to be on for the Hoosiers to perform at their peak. Sheehey was clearly more in that element last Tuesday when he scored 13 points against Wisconsin. He also had six rebounds and three assists in that game. Against Northwestern, he had three rebounds and no assists.

The other thing IU needs from Sheehey is energy and intensity. Those things can snowball with a young team. But considering that Sheehey injured his ankle in the second half against Northwestern and was briefly taken to the locker room, it's unclear if he'll be 100 percent. Yes, he came back and played Saturday against Northwestern for the final few minutes but many times with an injury like that you can go a little longer on adrenaline. How you feel Sunday or in this case even today, will tell a lot more about how close you'll be to 100 percent. IU needs Sheehey to be much more consistent than he has been of late. In IU's five conference games, he has scored 15, 9, 13, 9 and 2. He had three games in the non-conference season of 16 points or more. The bottom line is that for IU to be successful, especially on the road against a team as good as Michigan State, Sheehey is going to have to step up big.

Hopefully he's fair better individually than he did the last time he played in the Breslin Center. While his team won (Indiana posted a 72-68 victory over the Spartans on Feb. 19 last season) Sheehey was limited to two points on 1-of-5 shooting. IU can't afford those kinds of numbers tonight.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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