No. 11 Michigan State back to basics: boards and D

LARRY LAGE AP Sports Writer Published:

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State coach Tom Izzo says his players deserve credit for getting the program back to its staples of rebounding and defense.

The 11th-ranked Spartans are competing for another Big Ten championship -- in a season that started with them out of the poll -- because they've bounced back in those two key parts of the game.

Michigan State is third in the nation in rebound differential and 19th in points allowed per game after being 48th and 125th in the same categories last season.

The Spartans will be tested on the boards Wednesday against Penn State and overall by third-ranked Ohio State on Saturday.