Tonight’s B1G collision between Ohio State and Michigan State further proves that the top tier team that wins the most games on the road will win the conference championship. Two very even teams battled at the Breslin Center on Saturday night, but it was the home team that played with more poise, control and urgency in the fourth quarter in a nail-biting 59-56 win.
The Buckeyes became comfortable with shooting from long range, hoisting up 25 threes and leaned on their offensive leader Deshuan Thomas to keep themselves in this one throughout the game. The Train would finish with a player of the year like performance. He had 28 points on six threes and 10/20 shooting overall to pace Ohio State. His fifth straight game of 20 points or more.
Despite hanging tough throughout the night, things didn’t look pretty early for the Bucks early.
In the first seven minutes, Ohio State turned the ball over five times and looked lost as Michigan State’s Derick Nix and Adriean Payne capitalized for 8 of the fightin’ Izzo’s 12 points. After a long Travis Trice rebound, the Spartans got the Izzone fired up with a solid finish with a Brandon Dawson finish. On the next possession Dawson would corral a steal, and get to the line on a breakaway. He would sink one from the stripe to give Michigan State a 13-2 lead.
With just under thirteen minutes to go in the half, the Buckeye offense exploded on the perimeter. Led by their biggest offensive weapon. The wheels got moving under the D-Train, as the Ohio State offense would go on an 11-0 run with back to back to back threes. Two Deshaun Thomas bombs sandwiched a beautiful look from Aaron Craft that closed the lead to 13-11.
Both teams would battle back and forth in the final five minutes of the frame. After going scoreless for nearly seven Minutes, Michigan State got to the rack on the back of their point guard Keith Appling.
With Aaron Craft making Derrick Nix and Travis Trice look foolish by blowing past them by them in the paint to give the Buckeyes a 26-4 lead with just under two minutes to play in the first half — Appling took offense.
After back to back buckets by the senior leader, Michigan State went into the locker room up four — 30-26.
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Basketball is the ultimate team sport. But, at the same time, it is one that can be taken over by a single player. There have been some incredible individual performances over the past couple of seasons in the Big Ten and this year should bring more of the same.
The 2012-2013 season seems to have the Big Ten as strong as it’s ever been. Three teams (Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan) are all ranked in the top five in preseason polls.
On those great teams obviously are some outstanding players. So here are my top ten players in the Big Ten conference for this upcoming season.
10. Brandon Paul (SG, Illinois)
Those unforgettable individual performances from last season I mentioned earlier in this column? Yeah, Brandon Paul had one of those when he lit up Ohio State for 43 points. The senior guard averaged 14.7 points per game last year and is as solid of an all-around player as you will find in the Big Ten. This will be Paul’s senior season for the Illini and knowing they have a player of his caliber on the floor, you can never count the Illini out of any game.
9. Keith Appling (PG, Michigan State)
With Draymond Green finally departing from East Lansing, the Spartans become Appling’s team. Appling averaged 11.4 points and 3.9 assists per game last year, and with Green gone and it being his team this year, there should be a jump in those stats this year. Head coach Tom Izzo will have his Spartans right in the thick of things again this year in the Big Ten and Appling will be his best player.
8. Christian Watford (F, Indiana)
Watford may have already had his moment in his college career when he hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer last year to knock off No. 1 and eventual national champion Kentucky. You learned a lot about Watford’s game with that shot, though. He’s absolutely fearless and he’s got a smoothness to his game that is fun to watch. He averaged 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game a year ago while shooting 43.7% from deep. Watford will no doubt be a key component to Indiana’s national title run.
7. Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG, Michigan)
Hardaway Jr. had somewhat of a disappointing sophomore season after an outstanding freshman campaign. But, that doesn’t take away from his talent. He’s a sensational all-around player who averaged 14.6 points per game a year ago. If Michigan wants to be an elite team this year, it will need more production out of the junior guard.
6. Trevor Mbakwe (F, Minnesota)
I had a difficult time trying to figure out where to rank Mbakwe as he comes back from tearing his ACL and only playing in seven games last year. In those seven games, Mbakwe averaged 14 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. If he is fully recovered, he is easily a candidate to be an All-American. He can be a dominating force in the paint, but once again, the question is his health. Read More
With basketball season rapidly approaching and a lot of information to digest from around the conference, I thought it was high time we here from bloggers representing them. We kick off a series in roundtables with our first five today and we are doing our very best to round up the rest of the B1G for you! We hope you enjoy the feature and give us plenty of feedback!
We’re doing our best attempt at giving everyone a good picture of each team with a variety of questions. I want to take this opportunity to thank our first four panelist; Covering Purdue and a great video guy that you can catch here exclusively to tBBC at times, WCBI TV’s own Robby Donoho and his latest video ; covering Spartan Nation is one of the best in that state up north in Hondo Carpenter; taking care of the Hoosiers for us from Crimson Quarry is John M. featured blogger for them and very well respected in the state just west of us; getting us straight with Bucky Badger will be Andy from Mad Town Badgers a great blog for Wisconsin; and finally but certainly not least, my old writing partner here at tBBC and current Buckeye Empire member Joe Dexter.
Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.. Spartan Nation. Keith Appling (G) is a key player back for the Spartans. He is Tom Izzo’s “guy” on this team and with that comes a lot of minutes. Not a natural point, that is the only spot he could play at the next level and Izzo is committed to him playing there.
Adreian Payne (C) is a native of Ohio and if you are a Buckeye fan, you would think he is all world. Against the Buckeyes he lives up to the hype he had coming out of high school. Against every other team, he is a key role player.
Derrick Nix (C) is the best of the MSU big men. Not as athletic as Payne, he can bang with anyone and take the ball and the game to the rim.
Branden Dawson (F/G) is listed by MSU as a G, but he is a SF. He is the real deal. Arguably, Dawson is the best player on the team. He suffered a late season injury, but he will for sure be 100% by conference play. They say before that, but MSU in my opinion has a history of rushing players back too fast. He is too valuable with too much basketball ahead of him to rush it. He is a complete player. Read More
Ohio State and Michigan State meet today at 3:30 PM EST on CBS for the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game! First seeded Michigan State defeated the Wisconsin Badgers to earn their way into the final game.
After the Buckeyes and Spartans play, we will continue to run the liveblog until and through the NCAA Selection Show! So stick around and share your thoughts about the bracket with us!
While you wait for the game, go check out our friends in the Buckeye Bloggers Network! the Buckeye Blog, OSU Silver Bullet, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, and Men of the Scarlet and Gray. Fox Sports Ohio also joins us as usual.
Only two teams remain in the season-ending tournament of the toughest conference in the country. The Ohio State Buckeyes, fresh off a strong victory over the Michigan Wolverines, are set to do battle with the Michigan State Spartans for the second time in a week. Again, much like the previous duel, championship implications ride on the result, making the game significantly more important than it already would have been.
Overall, the Spartans have only participated in two Tournament Championship games in the 15 years the tournament has run. Michigan State last played for the championship in 2000 where they defeated the 4th seeded Fighting Illini 76-61. They also won in 1999 over the 11th seeded Illini 67-50. When the Spartans make it to the final game, they certainly make the most of the opportunity.
The Buckeyes are only the third team holding the number three seed to make it to the tournament final. The first occurrence was in 1998, the first year of the tournament, when #3 Purdue lost to #4 Michigan 76-67. The second time was in 2009 when #3 Purdue defeated fifth seeded Ohio State 65-61.
The Buckeyes and Spartans meet up at 4:00 PM EST on CBS today to play for either a share (for the Buckeyes) or an outright claim (for the Spartans) of the Big Ten Regular Season Championship!
While you wait, go checkout our friends in the Buckeye Bloggers Network! the Buckeye Blog, OSU Silver Bullet, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, and Men of the Scarlet and Gray. Fox Sports Ohio also joins us as usual. The liveblog will kickoff at 3:30 PM EST.
Go Bucks! Let’s win that ol’ conference now!
|School:||Michigan State University|
|Founded:||1855 – The FIRST agricultural College in theU.S. Originally called the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan|
|Student Population:||47,800 8th largest university in the country|
|Head Coach:||Tom Izzo –Northern Michigan1977|
|Experience & Accomplishments||17th Year – 407 wins and 167 losses .4 National COY awards, 6 Final Fours, 14 straight NCAA’s, 6 B1G Champs, 1 National Championship in 2000, More Final Four appearances than Williams and Krzyzewski since 1996(6-5-4 respectively) Graduates a staggering 81% of players that complete eligibility.|
|Program History||First season was 1898-99 and MSU’s all-time record is 1,507-1.022 with 25 NCAA appearances, 8 Final Four appearances, All-time tourney record of 52-24 and 2 National Championships in 1979 and 2000. 12 B1G Championships and 2 B1G tourney championships.|
The Buckeyes and Spartans are butting heads today for the first of two matchups that will likely decide the B1G Championship! ESPN is airing the game today, which is set to tip at 6:00 PM EST in Value City Arena.
While you wait, go checkout our Buckeye Blogger Network friends! the Buckeye Blog, OSU Silver Bullet, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, and Fox Sports Ohio. They will all be joining us at 8:30 PM for the start of our liveblog.
If you’re looking for web-video for the game, try First Row Sports (warning: pop-up ads). Click the basketball tab, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the right game.