Gameday Preview: OSU vs. Michigan State

By Chris Lauderback on January 27, 2007 at 2:45a
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matta_screams.jpg Matta informs a ref that he sucks

Where: The Schott – Columbus, Ohio

When: 9:00pm EST

TV: ESPN2

Records: OSU 17-3 (5-1); Spartans 17-4 (4-2)

Opponent: Tom Izzo's Spartans are riding a four game conference win streak following a 70-46 victory over lowly Minnesota Wednesday night. The blowout win was nothing new considering MSU has won by an average of 19.5 points during their run. As usual, Izzo has a deep roster filled with size so he will have plenty of bodies to throw at Greg Oden. Expect the Spartan big men to be physical in an attempt to push Oden away from the low block where he has had a little trouble finishing post moves that don’t result in a dunk. The Spartans lead the Big11Ten in both rebounding (37 rpg) and three point shooting (38.4%) and visit the Schott playing their best basketball of the season.

Players: Junior guard Drew Neitzel leads MSU in scoring at 18.2 per game on the strength of 41% shooting from downtown and a league leading 90.2% from the stripe. 6’7” freshman Raymar Morgan is the only other Spartan to average double figures in points (10.8). Morgan led MSU with 14 points on 6-10 shooting in Wednesday’s decision over the Gophers. Down low, 6’10” sophomore Goran Sutton comes in averaging 9.7 points and 6.5 rebounds while 6’8” sophomore Marquise Gray chips in 8.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest. Drew Naymick (6’10”) and Idong Ibok (6’11) will also see action in the post. Travis Walton runs the point and while he doesn’t score much (6.8 points), he does average a 5.5 assists and shoots 78% from the line. Walton tallied a career high 11 dimes in the rout of Minnesota.

Notes: MSU beat the Buckeyes in last season’s trip to Columbus, a 62-59 double OT slugfest…Izzo is 262-113 in 11+ seasons at MSU.

Buckeye Breakdown: OSU comes in boasting their own four game winning streak after their 59-50 defeat of Lamda Lamda Lamda on Wednesday. Oden posted his second straight dominant performance with 17 points and 17 boards while Ivan Harris went off for 18 points and 7 rebounds including 14 in the first half and a key putback with 1:48 left in the game that gave OSU a 55-48 lead.

Key Players: It’s imperative that Oden stay out of foul trouble in a game that pits the top two rebounding teams in the conference. OSU could also use an Othello Hunter sighting. The 6’9” juco transfer’s last two games have totaled 6 points and 2 rebounds. Hunter played just 10 minutes against the Wildcats since Ivan was on fire, but Hunter will likely receive significantly more minutes considering Sparty’s size. The Buckeye perimeter shooters can help the cause by improving on their 6-22 night from downtown Wednesday to help spread the defense and give Oden some breathing room in the post. Ron Lewis and Jamar Butler combined to shoot just 3-14 on threes while Daequan stunk it up going 0-3 from the field with two turnovers though he did grab 5 rebounds in 16 minutes. Waiting for Cook to mature mentally is becoming a bit frustrating considering his overall skill level. Maybe this will be a game where he puts it all together?

Notes: OSU is 30-20 all-time at home versus the Spartans…Conley leads the conference in assists (6.7) and steals (2.7) while Oden leads in rebounds (11.1), blocks (3.6) and field goal percentage (65.8%)…If you are in Columbus, make an effort to head to Value City Arena at 9am to participate in the live ESPN College GameDay broadcast...The GameDay preview show will also broadcast at the Schott from 8-9pm giving OSU an opportunity to showcase the program.

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