By LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Big Ten teams entered the NCAA Tournament with an unusually long layoff.

Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State each tried to make the best of a break, which lasted about two weeks following their conference tournament.

Rusty or refreshed?

We’ll find out soon.

Second-seeded Purdue will face 15th-seeded Cal State Fullerton and third-seeded Michigan State will play 14th-seeded Bucknell on Friday in Detroit.

Fifth-seeded Ohio State seemed to be ready, beating 12th-seeded South Dakota State 81-73 Thursday afternoon after a 12-day layoff. Third-seeded Michigan, which won the Big Ten Tournament title on March 4, trailed 10-0 in the opening minutes against 14th-seeded Montana before pulling away for a 61-47 victory Thursday night.

“Not everything can be because of the 10-day stretch,” Michigan’s Moe Wagner said. “We came out sluggish, and that can’t happen. We do that against a different team, show’s over.”

The Boilermakers and Spartans hit the road after the conference tournament was played in New York, hoping to refresh and recharge off the court.

Purdue players made a short trip to Indianapolis to play video games and eat dinner together at Dave & Buster’s.

“We feel refreshed,” Boilermakers center Isaac Haas said.

Michigan State, meanwhile, went to Chicago to watch the Bulls play and practice at their facility, and went to see “Hamilton.”

“Most of them hadn’t been to a Broadway-type show,” Izzo said. “What I enjoyed most about it is nobody complained. Everybody was excited. When we were riding back on the bus and they started singing some of the songs from it I said, ‘Wow.’ We must’ve done something that hit home because they were all into it.”

Big Ten coaches and players did not enjoy this season’s condensed schedule, which was set up to finish the regular season earlier so the tournament could be played at Madison Square Garden. The conference has traditionally ended its conference tournament the same day the NCAA Tournament field is announced, finishing its title game just before the annual TV show, but made the exception to get into a coveted venue and market.

While they grumbled during the season about playing games with less time to prepare in between, the longer break may have been good in particular for Purdue and Michigan State.

Boilermakers forward Vince Edwards aggravated his ankle injury during the Big Ten Tournament, getting held to a total of 11 points in the last two games. The ailment kept him out of the lineup for two games in February. The break, it appears, served him well.

“It’s been great to actually be able to see some of that explosiveness come back,” Edwards said. “The last couple of practices have been really good.”

The Spartans are trying to move forward after having their season stunted by off-court issues, including a crisis on campus related to how the school handled sexual assault allegations against disgraced doctor Larry Nassar . They were also faced with questions related to an ESPN report, questioning how the basketball and football program handled sexual assault allegations against their players. Miles Bridges was declared ineligible for about a day, just before the final regular season game, because the school discovered his family members had dinner with an agent last winter without his knowledge.

The turmoil may have made the team even closer, focusing it on a lofty goal.

“We’re in our mindset where if it’s not a national championship, then it’s probably a bust for this team,” Michigan State point guard Cassius Winston said.
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AP Sports Writers Michael Marot and Mitch Stacy contributed to this report.
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More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org ; https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 and https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-special-events

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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