Michigan State brought its talent and depth, its No. 6 ranking, its 14-1 record, its celebrated head coach and roughly 100 boisterous fans into Saturday's game against Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa, on the other hand, brought the embarrassment of losing by 31 points at Ohio State on Wednesday, a depleted roster and a 7-9 record into the game.
In the end, new Hawkeye head coach Todd Lickliter got his first Big Ten victory.
Iowa held Michigan State to it's lowest point total since 1952.
The game was certainly not without controversy. Even with Ed Hightower, widely known as one of the nations best officials, in the house, it seemed as if the officiating crew was sleepwalking at times. Perhaps a side effect of Iowa's success at slowing the pace of the game, at one point the refs missed an obvious extra hop taken by a State post player while attempting an inside move with the ball. The Big Ten network announcers were aghast at the no-call. But it wasn't more than a few minutes later that Kurt Looby of Iowa seemingly knocked a Spartan layup off the rim and took control of the ball. So both non-calls evened out in the end.
Coach Tom Izzo was non too pleased with the effort and performance of his highly ranked team.
"I am very disappointed. I thought that was one of the poorest overall games we've played maybe since I've been head coach," said Izzo, who has led Michigan State to four NCAA Tournament Final Fours and to the 2000 national title. "It was a total breakdown by every player on our team, and that doesn't happen very often. I don't think it will happen again, but practices will be more fun again."
"And then when I talk like that I'm not being fair to Todd and his team. To do what he did and to get them back off what they went through (against Ohio State) deserves a lot of credit."
Tony Freeman, Iowa's starting point guard made five of Iowa's 11 baskets, all coming from 3-point range. His final two treys were arguably the biggest baskets in the game.
Freeman made a 3-pointer with 4 minutes, 43 seconds left to play after Michigan State had cut the deficit to 31-30. He then made another trey from beyond the top of the key that pushed the lead to 39-34 with 1:11 left to play.
The Hawkeyes also made four of their final six free throws, including two by Freeman that expanded the lead to 41-34 with 53.4 seconds left to play.
"Playing in the Big Ten you've got to have a short memory," said Freeman, who finished with a career-high 22 points. "You take the good with the bad.
"The bad was Wednesday and the good was tonight."