School: Michigan State University
Location: East Lansing, MI
Student Population: 47,954 total, 36,675 undergrad
School Type: Public
Stadium: Breslin Center
Head Coach: Tom Izzo
Experience: 18th year
Before We Get Started
Michigan State comes into this game, despite the tough loss to Indiana on Tuesday, on a bit of an Izzo Roll. In 2013, the Spartans are 11-2, with both losses coming against a higher ranked Indiana team; no shame there.
I had an email exchange with my MSU friend this week; he mentioned that he was on a bit disappointed in the Indiana outcome, but the game watch hard for him to watch. [Ed. Note: Please, don't tell me about games that are 'hard to watch']. His point is taken. He was annoyed by what he felt was MSU’s lapses in focus, particularly on inbound plays. So, we can probably expect a tightly focused Spartan team to show up at VCA on Sunday. Fun times.
I’ll pull together a few stats, with commentary, and then on to Breslin. Information will be pulled from the excellent site at Statsheet. You’re familiar with the drill by now.
The 4th ranked Spartans (22-5, 11-3) are a very good team. propelled by a nicely balanced effort offensively and defensively. All the stuff-you-need-to-know is above.Their starting lineup goes; Keith Appling (G, 6’1”), Brandon Dawson (G, 6’6”), Gary Harris (G, 6’4”), Derrick Nix (F/C, 6’9”) and Adreian Payne (F/C, 6’10”). Starter stats, below.
The Buckeyes (18-7, 8-5) are coming off a challenging stretch. The Spartans are hardly the tonic for the Buckeyes. For your reviewing pleasure, your OSU starters; Aaron Craft (G, 6’2”), Lenzelle Smith, Jr. (G, 6’4”), DeShaun Thomas (F, 6’7”), Sam Thompson (F,6’7”) and Amir Williams (C, 6’11”). Seeing significant playing time will be Shannon Scott (G, 6’1”), Evan Ravenal (C/F, 6’8”) and LaQuinton Ross (F, 6’8”). Key stats for starters below:
|#32||L. Smith Jr.||26||27.4||9.9||45.3||67.9||38.7||5.0||1.7||1.4|
The below table has the comparative Four Factors as well as possessions per game (PPP), points per possession – offense (PPP-O) and points allowed per possession (PPP-D).
|eFG%||TO%||Off Reb||FT Rate||PPG||PPP (O)||PPP (D)|
Ohio State needs to come out with their hair on fire and play a full 40 minutes of upbeat, high energy team ball; much like they did against UM. Michigan State will keep their efforts in high gear coming down the home stretch. The Spartans are one game behind Indiana in the Conference race and get almost a week off after Sunday to prepare for their game against Michigan.
Since MSU is a tough, physical team, I expect to see a good bit of front line time from Evan Ravenal, Trey McDonald and possibly even LaQuinton Ross in support of Amir Williams. The Buckeyes cannot get lost on perimeter defense Sunday; MSU this season typically shoots 35% from beyond the arc; against IU they shot 27%. We need to create results similar to that. The more ‘empty’ possessions, the better. Not profound, but true.
The plus of the Four Factors is OSU’s ability to take take of the ball batter than MSU. The turnover differential may only be two possessions, but since the previous meeting ended as a one possession game, this edge may be what the Buckeyes need to get the win to split the season with the Spartans.
Tip-off is Sunday, February 24th at 4:00PM in Value City Arena. Please join us for the live blog at 3:45PM. The game is televised on CBS.