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Early skinny on Fat Tuesday hoops

No. 11 Michigan State at Indiana

I never heard of a team going 12 minutes without a defensive rebound and living to tell about it. So far, undersized and outmanned Indiana has done exactly that as a massive underdog against the rebounding fools from Michigan State.

According to our own Brent Musberger, Indiana was boardless on the defensive end until just more than eight minutes remained in the first half. The first one went to point guard Jordan Hulls, of all people. At the time, the Hoosiers trailed just 23-19.

How? I have no idea.

I suppose it’s bizarrely fitting that after Indiana grabbed its first rebound, it began losing ground. Next thing you knew, the Spartans were up 29-21 and forcing an Indiana timeout.

At halftime Michigan State is up 40-30, and Indiana is on its way to its seventh straight defeat.

The good news for the Hoosiers is that they weren’t just pasted right out of the gate -- which was the case over the weekend against Wisconsin. That game was 8-0 in less than two minutes. Then 27-7 after 7 ½ minutes. Then 46-18 after 17.

They were never in it.

Tonight, at least, Indiana has hung around for a half against the defending Big Ten champs.

No. 25 Wake Forest at Virginia Tech

Al-Farouq Aminu is off to a blazing start in Blacksburg in a big ACC game, leading Wake Forest to a 40-32 halftime lead over Virginia Tech. So far, Aminu has 21 points and five rebounds, further reminding us why everyone was slobbering over him last year as a freshman.

Aminu and the rest of the Demon Deacons flew a long way under radar this season -- all the way to an 18-5 record and an 8-3 mark in the ACC. That’s good enough to plant Wake in second place in the league, behind only Duke. A distinct lack of buzz accompanied Dino Gaudio’s to this point -- perhaps because there is a reticence to buy into Wake again this season after its spectacular first-round NCAA tournament flameout against Cleveland State. Wake might now merit a new appraisal.

Meanwhile, this is an important game for Virginia Tech’s credibility. The Hokies have a fancy record (20-4 overall, 7-3 in the ACC) but it’s built on a pretty flimsy foundation. Tech’s best non-conference win is over Seton Hall on a neutral court, and in ACC play it beat Clemson and swept Virginia. But there are several losable games ahead -- starting with this one tonight.