If No. 7 seeded Michigan State can survive and advance, it's because the Spartans are tournament tested. Michigan State compiled an 11-3 record in the NCAA tournament in the past three seasons, and that one-and-done experience might help them in the Big Ten Tournament, where the Spartans defeated No. 10 Iowa 66-61 Thursday.

INDIANAPOLIS -- If No. 7 seeded Michigan State can survive and advance, it's because the Spartans are tournament tested. Michigan State compiled an 11-3 record in the NCAA tournament in the past three seasons, and that one-and-done experience might help them in the Big Ten Tournament, where the Spartans defeated No. 10 Iowa 66-61 Thursday.

"I'm not so sure we're great in March,'' said Draymond Green, who led the Spartans with 21 points and 14 rebounds. "Our focus level goes up, Everybody picks the intensity up. The focus is turned up. It comes with having a great coach and a little bit of luck.''

The reward was a game against No. 2 Purdue. The Boilermakers swept both regular-season meetings, including a 67-47 win at Michigan State.

"It was an embarrassement to lose at  home by 20,'' Green said. "We have to come out and redeem ourselves.''

The victory over Iowa reminded Michigan State coach Tom Izzo of the first-round win over New Mexico State in the NCAAs last March.

"It's survive and advance,'' Izzo said. "At times, we did some really good things. At times, we did some not so really good things.''

TONGUE WAGGING: Northwestern senior guard Michael "Juice'' Thompson, known for his trash talking, let his tongue hang out while scoring a tournament record 35 points in the 75-65 victory over Minnesota on Thursday, surpassing the mark of 33 by Purdue's Brian Cardinal in 1999.

"It just happens out of instinct,'' Thompson said. "I'm not exactly sure when it happens. It just happens.''

ENDORSEMENT: Pat Knight, fired as coach at Texas Tech, offered his opinion about a possible successor to reporters following the 88-84 loss to Missouri in the Big 12 Tournament Wednesday. His pick would be Billy Gillispie, the former Illini assistant and Kentucky coach who is a Texas native. He also has experience as the head coach at UTEP and Texas A&M.

"I think Billy would be great,'' Knight said. "Billy and I are friends. Bill can recruit Texas. He's got a personality, as everyone knows. Plus, you know he's not going to hammer you when he gets the job. That's what I hate, when guys take over the job and hammer the ex-coach. Hopefully, it's a guy I know who is one of my buddies.

"No, I think he would be a great choice.''

John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com.