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Michigan State

Iowa-Michigan St. Preview 3-9-12

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Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans talks with Adreian Payne. (File Photo)

Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans talks with Adreian Payne. (File Photo)

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(AP) — Michigan State still has a shot at a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament if it can forget about a bitter finish to the regular season and overcome a season-ending injury to its star freshman.

The eighth-ranked and top-seeded Spartans will try to help their cause by winning their first Big Ten tournament title since 2000. The push to end that drought begins Friday against ninth-seeded Iowa at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Michigan State (24-7) was denied its first outright Big Ten regular-season title in three years when Ohio State’s William Buford hit a last-second shot to give the Buckeyes a 72-70 win in East Lansing on Sunday. The Spartans, who also fell at then-No. 18 Indiana on Feb. 28, had an early 15-point lead against Ohio State but wilted after Branden Dawson tore a ligament in his left knee.

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