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
I’m not going to spend copious time and effort previewing this game. The 10th ranked Buckeyes (23-7, 13-5) and the 8th ranked Spartans (24-7, 13-5) will meet in the Conference semifinal, after splitting their two regular season games. More recently, OSU downed MSU 68-60; here’s the preview to that game, and here’s the recap. I link to that game because Ohio State won, and I’m sure we’d like to see that happen on Saturday.
Nonetheless, here we are, March, Tom Izzo’s time of year. Ohio State can expect to run into the usual stout defense and brutal rebounding. Other than the 13-point loss to Minnesota, MSU’s other six losses have been by 8 points or less. The Spartans tend to keep their games within reach; no one is going to run away from them.
The 8th ranked Spartans are a very sound team. propelled by a nicely balanced effort offensively and defensively. This time of year, they’re playing ‘Izzo Ball’.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 are coming off an impressive three-week stretch where they went 5-0, including a win over the Spartans. 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.||30||28.0||10.1||44.8||68.8||39.6||5.0||1.6||1.3|
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)|
Since MSU is a tough, physical team, I expect to see a good bit of front line time from Evan Ravenal and Trey McDonald in support of Amir Williams. The Buckeyes need to continue to play sound perimeter defense on Saturday. Michigan will present it’s usual inside challenge with Nix, Payne and Dawson. I see a key match-up is Craft/Scott vs Appling. In MSU’s 3 game skid, Appling was 5-23 (22% woof) with 8 assists and 9 turnovers. In their loss to Ohio State he was 1-6, 1 assist, 3 TO’s. Clearly, if Appling can be induced into a similar game, I’m optimistic about an OSU win.
Tip-off is Saturday, March 14th at approximately 4:10PM EST. Please join us for the live blog at 3:45PM. The game is televised on CBS.