#12 Ohio State
20-7, 10-4 Big Ten
Roster | Schedule
February 21, 2009
12:00 PM ET - CBS
East Lansing, MI
#11 Michigan State
21-6, 11-3 Big Ten
Roster | Schedule
The Buckeyes get back on the road Sunday looking to stay within a half game of first if they can pull the upset, squaring off against Sparty for the only time this season.
Michigan State returns home after playing 6 of their last 8 on the road, while Ohio State is trying to come out of this brutal 3-game stretch with a winning record.
The Buckeyes lost 58-67 last year in East Lansing, shooting just 42 percent from the floor and 62 percent form the line and are 15-36 all time there.
|21||Evan Turner||19.5||9.2||5.8||G||1||Kalin Lucas||15.7||1.9||3.9|
|33||Jon Diebler||12.6||3.0||1.7||G||3||Chirs Allen||9.8||3.0||2.1|
|44||William Buford||13.8||5.1||3.1||F||2||Raymar Morgan||10.3||5.3||1.8|
|23||David Lighty||12.3||4.5||2.7||F||10||Delvon Roe||7.2||5.6||1.2|
|52||Dallas Lauderdale||7.3||5.0||0.3||C||50||Derrick Nix||2.2||2.2||0.2|
This game will be a stark contrast of depth, as MSU has 7 players that average at least 21 minutes, with no one playing more than 31, while OSU has 4 players that average at least 32 minutes a game. The Spartans come in scoring 67.4 points per B10 game, while holding opponents to 62.3 a game. Though they sit atop the standings, MSU's +5.1 scoring margin is 4th best, while their 46.1 percent shooting is 3rd. Izzo's squad ranks last in 3 point FG shooting at 32.3 percent, but they have taken the fewest attempts and like Purdue, they make up for it at the line, attempting the second most FT's in the conference.
It should come as no surprise that the Spartans lead the conference in all rebounding statistics, snagging almost 37 a game and beating foes by a +7.7 margin for each game. Turnovers have been a weakness for Sparty for most of the season though, committing the 3rd most TO's during league play, but to Izzo's credit they have less than 10 miscues in each of the last 3 games.
MSU has had 14 different starting lineups, with 10 players getting the nod at some point and Izzo will keep the scorer's table busy. Durrell Summers, Draymond Green and Korie Lucious all average over 20 minutes a game (starter Nix has played 7.7 on the season). Summers, a 6'4" junior scores 10.3 a contest, but hasn't reached that mark in 3 straight and shoots just 25.7 percent from deep. Green is a 6'6" sophomore who plays 25 minutes a game, also scoring in double digits at 10.1 and grabs 8 boards a game. Lucious is an energy guy, scoring 5 points and dishing out 3.6 dimes per game in just over 21 minutes a game.
For the starters, Chris Allen has hit 14 of his last 24 trey attempts over his last 4 games, while Lucas has returned from his injured ankle and has scored 49 over the last 3. Both Morgan and Roe have struggled to find their scoring ways of late and Nix is a big banger inside. All in all this is a typical tough Izzo team that is very capable of pushing the Buckeyes around.
OSU needs to get off to a good start in East Lansing and guard against MSU jumping out to a big lead. Though the Bucks have proven they will fight to the end, overcoming a large deficit is tremendously difficult at the Breslin Center. The Buckeyes shot just 41.7 percent against Purdue, struggling against their physicality and today will be no different. Luckily, the Bucks have done a good job of bouncing back from rough shooting nights this season, when Turner has been healthy, the Bucks haven't posted back to back sub 45 percent games.
Another key for today is limiting Sparty's offensive boards. The Bucks did a better job Wednesday, holding Purdue to 6 O-boards (after giving up 40 the previous 3) and you're not going to completely outboard Sparty, but if they can limit one end of the floor, a win is more probable. Turnovers have been a weakness for MSU all year and I expect to see mostly zone from OSU today, so the Bucks have a good chance of trapping and creating TO's. Getting some points off any turnovers is also crucial.
The last key is secondary scoring. Everyone not named Turner disappeared for a long stretch against Purdue and I think at least 3 of them have to reach double digits in order for OSU to pull out a win. They also need to continue to drive the lane as the game wears on. Like Purdue, MSU will close those lanes off, but OSU has a tendency to settle for too many jumpers late in the game and they have to be relentless in driving.
Last Sunday I predicted a loss to Illinois and the Bucks stomped them. Then Wednesday, I predicted a 9 point win, so today I'm going with my gut instinct since I first looked over the schedule, a 60-66 loss today.
- With Wednesday's loss, Thad tied Fred Taylor for best record after 200 games and Taylor has a banner hung from the rafters...
- Evan Turner needs 19 points to pass Jamar Butler for 23rd all-time.