Preview: Michigan State at #3 Ohio State

By Chris Lauderback on February 15, 2011 at 1:00p
59 Comments
Ohio State Buckeyes #3 Ohio State 24-1, 11-1 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 9:00 PM ET - ESPN —— The Schott Columbus, OH Michigan State Spartans Michigan State 14-10, 6-6 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

Playing their first game of the year following a loss, all eyes will be on how well Ohio State responds to Saturday's 71-67 loss in Madison. Typically, having to take on Sparty after such a painful game would be of huge concern but this year's version of the Fighting Izzo's has failed to meet expectations and while they destroyed Penn State last Thursday, they come in having lost five of their last seven contests.

That said, I don't think Ohio State's loss to Wisconsin has done anything to alleviate the pressure. If anything, the loss makes tonight's game that much more of a must-win from a confidence standpoint and something tells me Izzo's group may be getting ready to go on one of their patented late season charges. Keep an eye on how Ohio State starts the game. How they play in the first 10 minutes could dictate how the following 30 unfold.

Though Sparty has been the cream of the B1G crop for much of Izzo's tenure, Ohio State has faired very well against them over the years, especially at home. MSU leads the all-time series 58-50 but the Buckeyes are 36-16 in Columbus and boast an 18-8 record against the Spartans when ranked.

# Name PTS REB ASST POS # Name PTS REB ASST
44 William Buford 13.9 3.8 3.2 G 1 Kalin Lucas 16.2 2.1 3.5
33 Jon Diebler 11.1 2.2 2.5 G 11 Keith Appling 5.8 2.2 1.2
23 David Lighty 12.3 3.9 3.4 F 15 Durrell Summers 13.2 4.3 0.5
0 Jared Sullinger 18.0 10.3 1.4 F 23 Draymond Green 13.2 8.5 4.2
52 Dallas Lauderdale 4.6 3.8 0.2 C 10 Delvon Roe 7.0 5.5 1.1

Opponent

It's been a grind for Michigan State all season long. Playing the nation's 7th toughest schedule, Sparty hasn't won more than three straight at any point this season and they seem to be at a crossroads of sorts. In late January, Izzo booted guard Korie Lucious off a team that was already thin on the perimeter with Chris Allen not welcomed back for his senior year plus the lengthy recovery from a torn achilles that has tempered the effectiveness of point guard Kalin Lucas. The diminutive Lucas currently sits 6th in scoring during conference play and 11th in assists.

While Lucas is still a dynamic player and recent outings suggest he's getting closer to 100%, the team's best overall asset is Draymond Green. The versatile 6'7" Green is coming off a triple double (15/14/10) against Penn State and currently sits 12th in the conference in scoring, 3rd in rebounding, 6th in assists and 1st in steals. With Delvon Roe having tweaked a knee at the end of the win over PSU, Green will likely matchup with Jared Sullinger at times defensively.

Unbelievably, 6'5" senior three point specialist Durrell Summers still has eligibility and comes in mired in an 8/27 shooting slump over his last three games including a 3/12 stinker in Madison two games ago. His struggles from distance this season (37.8% 3FG) are a microcosm of the Spartan attack, currently ranked last in the B1G in FG% at 42.1%. 

If Roe can't go, or is limited physically, Izzo will fall back on his typical bench of tall, tough baseliners. Garrick Sherman, a 6'10", 240 lb. giant has averaged 11 minutes over the last two games after failing to play more than seven minutes in the prior seven games. Another big, 6'9", 270 lb. Derrick Nix earned his first start of the year in the blowout loss to Bucky and a name that should be familiar to Buckeye fans, 6'10" freshman Adreian Payne, has seen increased minutes off the pain over the last three outings.

Keith Appling is turning into a standout freshman, starting 14 of the last 15 games. Out of Detroit, he isn't a big scoring threat - he's only reached double figures once in conference play - but he's become a defensive stopper of sorts and helped hang a 3/14 shooting night on Talor Battle last week.

Statistically speaking, Sparty is doing its typical work on the glass ranking 3rd in the conference in Rebound Margin (+3.5) and 2nd in Offensive Rebounds (12.2) but they rank last in 3FG Defense allowing teams to shoot over 42%. Knowing Ohio State is shooting a league leading 43.3% from distance, Izzo will need to have a better plan to slow OSU's perimeter attack.

Buckeye Breakdown

As someone who was firmly in the camp that believed OSU didn't need to lose a game to heighten their chances of winning the title, I'm still incredibly curious as to how the team will respond to the loss in Madison. If they come out flat and give Sparty hope, it could turn into the type of physical war that Izzo loves to win. Conversely, if the Buckeyes come out with a controlled yet pissed off mindset, they could build an early lead that the poor shooting Spartans can't overcome.

On one hand, I'd almost invite another close game. Though I know the real problem at Madison was Ohio State's inability to stop Wisconsin's ball screens giving Taylor the green light to take over the game with his shooting and passing to open shooters, I keep going back to what I was afraid might hinder this team down the stretch - the lack of clearly defined go-to offensive guy in tight spots. The fact OSU made exactly two field goals in the final eight minutes, one of which was a fallaway triple from Sullinger with :04 left, is a bit concerning. It seemed as if none of the seasoned perimeter players really wanted to seize the moment nor did any of them look toward Sullinger in the paint. Late in the game, I kind of expected Matta to let Buford bring it up and work off some ball screens of his own but it seemed the offense really lacked an identity and I don't think that's just something to say when the shots don't fall. Playing devil's advocate, OSU has certainly won 24 games, some of them close in the last five minutes, without an unquestioned go to guy but against the toughest opponent in the toughest environment to date, the offense couldn't get it done. A close game tonight would give the Buckeyes another opportunity to execute when it matters most.

On the other hand, it would be great to see the team come out on fire defensively and have that lead to easy baskets in transition. Additionally, this group needs to get back on track from distance so Sullinger has more room to operate. As Baptist noted yesterday, OSU has gone cold from distance over the last four games shooting just 34.6%, allowing opponents to rack up a 96-54 points edge from beyond the arc. Lighty has been most culpable hitting only 1/9.

How Matta decides to match up against Sparty will also be interesting tonight. Though Craft has struggled to play consistent defense lately, he still gives OSU the best chance to slow Lucas, which is obviously critical to beating the Spartans. Still, with Delvon Roe committing to playing despite the knee, and the wave of bigs Izzo likes to use to impose his will on the glass, there's a good chance Dallas plays more than the six minutes he saw in Madison.

Etc

  • Since Matta became head coach, OSU is 115-10 at home, including a 33-1 mark over the past two seasons.
  • No opponent has scored over 66 points in Value City Arena this season.
  • If you want more info on Sparty in prep for tonight's tip, visit the truly exceptional MSU blog The Only Colors.
59 Comments

Comments

Corey Carpenter's picture

Can't wait to see Craft shut down Kalin Lucas.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

I think tOSU comes out with their hair on fire a la the Purdue game. I said at the beginning of the season that these two games were where tOSU earns their helmet stickers (we need those for the basketball team). I still think MSU is gonna be tough. And somehow, I see the Fighting Izzo's getting an invite to the big dance. And making some waves too. They are coached by a post-season minded guy. Always liked Izzo. BTW, its Tuesday and I still wouldn't piss on Bo Ryan if he was covered in flames.

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

but would you spit on him?
 

BTW, its Tuesday and I still wouldn't piss on Bo Ryan if he was covered in flames.

BucksfanXC's picture

Izzo does always have the team ready for Feb-March and April bball. That said, this team, is Izzo's worst I've seen. They all had big heads coming into this year. They got away with murder over the summer and it seemed Tom had sold his soul to get that national championship that he's been tasting for three years now. Finally the angel on his shoulder won out and he kicked Lucious off the team. Allen made the choice himself over the summer by not meeting Izzo's soft guidelines. Appling is not a good influence on this squad and instead of the leaders stepping up to show them all how to win, the mob mentality took this team over quickly. They all went to hell in a handbasket.

BUT, if anyone can turn them around and right this ship just in time to make a deep run, it's Izzo. They can win themselves into the tourney, and a W tonight would go a long way to that end. I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see them host an NIT game in March, nor would a Final Four be out of the question. Which MSU team shows up tonight and for the rest of 2010-11 season? We'll see...

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Does he mean "Sorry, [I can't play tonight,] Spartan Nation," or is he saying that Spartan Nation = sorriness [as in low down & dirty]?   

Roger's picture

Yes, comma usage could certainly have been taken to the next level in that tweet.

Bish's picture

Anyone else read Gottliebs wonderful insider story about OSU's weakness and how Sully compares more to Michael Sweetney, and not DeJaun Blair?  Maybe he should spend a little more time watching games, and a little less time working on his P90x!

 

http://insider.espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/blog?name=ncbexperts&...

ERIC OSU's picture

I dont read jokes' articles that were over-the-top confident that Illinois would win the B1G this year. You were close on that one dougie!

Corey Carpenter's picture

Doors just opened to the arena and the crowd is starting to flow in early, the energy is going to be off the charts.

Neilwoodgables's picture

I hope the crowd remembers what a difference the the fans of TOSUN made this past weekend and make it loud.

 

The energy better be there. As fans we have been spoiled  and the last loss stung but this team is tough and tested to a degree and I expect them to win even if they take while to get it going.

I Hate Michigan.

KCAlum's picture

Damn, got to hit those shots

TLB's picture

Officials making themselves known, unfortunately

TLB's picture

At this point, Diebler adds almost nothing to this team.

Powers's picture

That a way to get it back Craft

BuckeyeChief's picture

Guys look sloppy and uninspired.

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

Powers's picture

uh oh foul trouble

RedQueenRace's picture

Gonna be tough to beat Sparty if they shoot layups all game.

Jason Priestas's picture

Sparty is playing great defense and we're not. If they were an elite team we might be in trouble, but there's still plenty of time to turn this around.

Meanwhile, what's up with that sick spin hook from Lauderdale a few trips back? He's been watching some old Ken Johnson game footage.

argyle182021's picture

I know the B1G refs are always bad about calling moving screens, but this is getting ridiculous. 

TLB's picture

This is the best Sparty has played all year long.

Pam's picture

Or the Buckeyes are playing like crap. 

Pam's picture

I could scream.  How can 18k be so freakin' quiet??  It is ridiculous.  The Nut House should be on their feet that entire time, not just when the Bucks hit a three.  Show the team some love people!  GET UP! MAKE SOME NOISE!

TLB's picture

officiating has taken the crowd out, I think.

Pam's picture

Sully, wake those folks up!!

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

I love his play on the field, but Pryor needs to stay out of the public eye every chance possible.

That kid either says something stupid or looks incredible stupid!!! I never thought I would wish away a season. I can't wait until 2012 when that bozo is gone. On second thought maybe he came to learn true leadership skills from Lighty. Or learn how to deal with the lime light like Sullinger does.

Rooster Buckburn's picture

You might be a little harsh on him - but I agree he should keep his mouth closed

TLB's picture

haha.  You make my comments about him look tame.

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

I'm not tryin to be that harsh on him. I just don't think the kid has a mature bone in his body. Which hurts all of the Buckeyes and their fans in the long run. Don't get me wrong the kid has some God gifted abilities. I just think if his head was in the right place he would absolutely amazing. I think that's what pisses me off so much. Wasted potential. Trust me, I know about wasted potential. Otherwise I wouldn't be in the Corps right now. No I'm not talking athletic talent before everyone starts hating. It takes one to know one.

Rooster Buckburn's picture

heard-understood-and appreciated ;^)

BuckeyeChief's picture

Damn. Sully is off tonight.

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

Sully can't buy a foul. That kid has been get his ass beat for the last several games. MSU is doin it all over the court. From the post to the moving picks. All night long.

Powers's picture

this crowd is pathetic

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

Really Pathetic!!! Seems like its like that every game. I've never been there, but I here the arena is too much like a pro arena. 

Rooster Buckburn's picture

Buford=NBA player - he's carried this team tonight and quite a bit lately

Jason Priestas's picture

Yep. Gonna miss that silky smooth release.

BuckeyeChief's picture

Alright, Other than the distraction factor, wtf is up with the big celebrity heads at games?

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

What's up with all the patsy contact calls against the team the last two weeks. But nothing on the other end?

 

Kalin Lucas is back. I hate to say but he brought his A-game tonight.

BuckeyeChief's picture

Is it just me, or do these guys get a lot of shots blocked?

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

BuckeyeChief's picture

What HUSTLE! sweet!

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

Wow can't deny that!!! Craft is a hustler, Damn That was sweet

 

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

When is Diebs gonna get that record?????

poguemahone's picture

At the rate he's hitting them, it feels like maybe the Elite Eight if we make it that far

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

They need to free him up more. Could take a hint off of the moving screens to get him wide open shots

poguemahone's picture

Except since we're Ohio State, we'll get whistled every time 

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

Hit the head of the nail on that one. Ridiculous!!!

RedQueenRace's picture

MSU has given us the chance to put them away and we say "No thanks" each time.

BuckeyeChris's picture

Gotta finish.  "Sweep the leg, Johnny!"

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

Hustlin!!! Gotta love them baby Buckeyes.

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

Paine reminds me of Popeye Jones! BHAHAHAHAHA Ugly ass dude! close your mouth playa

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

NAA-NAA NAA-NA NAA-NAA NAA-NA HEY HEY GOOD BYE!!!

argyle182021's picture

I think once a ref has to have elastic pants, he shouldn't be able to work games anymore.

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

Even though the last two games weren't called to my liking. The man is a great official, man and ambassador to college basketball. Don't hate the player hate the game.

 

O-H

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

Oh shit even DL is hittin the free throws

USMCBUCKEYE82's picture

This game brings back my confidence in the Buckeyes. Sully has an off night and we still beat a damn good team by ten. Get the ball rollin again and they have a great chance to win the tourney on April 4th

O-H

 

tomcollins's picture

I'll take an ugly 10 point win against Sparty when they were playing well.  A lot of work is needed on D.

 

Sullinger only had 2 rebounds? I guess it's hard to do when Michigan State only shoots layups and makes everything.

RedQueenRace's picture

It felt closer than it ended.

The guys over at The Only Colors are upset with the officials.  Sparty's TOs are what lost them the game, not the refs.

JakeBuckeye's picture

Craft's hustle play was by far my favorite play of the season so far. Good win. Back on the winning side of things!