Where: Breslin Center â€“ East Lansing, MI
When: 4:00pm EST
TV: CBS (Billy Packer, Verne Lundquist)
Records: OSU 19-3 (7-1); Spartans 17-6 (4-4)
Opponent: Michigan State returns home to the Breslin Center where the Izzone and the rest of Spartyâ€™s faithful will hope to see MSU extend their current 14 game home winning streak. Looking to build on the insane comeback and near upset of the Buckeyes last Saturday, the Spartans took a big ole dump in their pants losing to Illinois 57-50 Tuesday night in Assembly Hall. The loss featured 17 first half points, 37% FG shooting (2-12 threes) and 20 turnovers. When Drew Neitzel doesnâ€™t have it going, this team looks like it couldnâ€™t score if it was locked in a room with Heidi Fleiss.
Players: Neitzel followed up his 29 point effort against OSU with a 2 of 12 performance scoring 10 points, 8 below his average. Sophomore guard Travis Walton led the Spartans with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists while 6â€™7â€ freshman Raymar Morgan was the only other Spartan in double figures with 11 points to go along with 6 rebounds. MSU post players Goran Suton, Idong Ibok and Drew Naymick combined for 9 points and 9 turnovers in 57 minutes of action. Can you say 'dungpile'? I knew that you could. After such a lackluster performance, expect the Spartans to come out with big effort. MSU needs this game to avoid falling below .500 in the conference and to give their NCAA tourney resume a boost. Izzo's squad is 17-6 but they've played only two ranked teams, losing to then #5 OSU last week and beating then #18 Texas back in November.
Notes: The Spartans did not record a steal against Illinoisâ€¦MSU will retire Mateen Cleavesâ€™ #12 jersey at halftime.
Buckeye Breakdown: The Buckeyes gained a share of first place in the conference after dispatching the Purdue Boilermakers 78-60 on Wednesday night coupled with Wisconsinâ€™s loss to Alexander Graham Bellâ€™s Indiana Hoosiers. The Bucks outscored Purdue 45-29 in the second half and scored the last 10 points of the game as the Boilers mailed it in. Ohio State led by as many as 18 on a hot shooting night that saw OSU bury 8 threes in 18 attempts (44%) and shoot 52% from the floor overall.
Key Players: The perimeter players rose the occasion Wednesday led by Mike Conleyâ€™s career high 18 points (6-8 FG). He is simply the best point guard in the conference and he will be the difference today. As you recall, Conley played just 22 minutes against MSU the first time around and his absence at the point led to some poor possessions that helped Neitzel engineer the comeback. Conleyâ€™s presence should also help Oden get a few more touches. Jamar Butler has found a groove the last two games shooting 9-16 from the field including 6-12 from downtown with 9 assists against just 1 turnover. If can keep it going and Daequan can build on his 12 point, 10 rebound performance, OSU will pick up another road win.
Notes: Mike Conley continues to lead the conference in assists (6.5) and steals (2.5) per gameâ€¦Oden leads in FG% (63.8%) and rebounds (9.5)â€¦As a team, OSU still ranks #1 in FG% (48.9%) and 3-PT FG% (38.2%)â€¦Coach Matta is gunning for his 7th consecutive 20 win season...Latest football recruit Cameron Heyward (DE) announced that he will attend Ohio State to play football and apparently wants to try basketball, as well.