#22 Michigan State Spartans at Ohio State Buckeyes
Value City Arena – Columbus, Ohio
Sunday, March 9, 2014, 4:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Ohio State -2 1/2
Current Line: Ohio State -4
Opening Total: 129 1/2
Current Total: 129 1/2
Opening Money Line: Ohio State -160 / Michigan State +135
Current Money Line: Ohio State -180 / Michigan State +155
Both the 23-7 Michigan State Spartans and 22-8 Ohio State Buckeyes are safely in the NCAA tournament. However, neither team has lived up to the lofty expectations of the pre-season. At one point this season, both teams were ranked in the top 10 nationally. Michigan State is 12-5 in conference and tied for second with Wisconsin behind regular season champ Michigan who finished 15-3. Ohio State is 9-8 in conference and in fifth place, behind 10-7 Nebraska. The top 4 teams in the conference get first round byes in next week’s Big Ten tournament. Wisconsin closes out the regular season at Nebraska Sunday.
Michigan State leads the series against Ohio State 67-56, but the Buckeyes are 36-23 against the Spartans in Columbus. Michigan State won the first meeting this season in East Lansing 72-68 in overtime January 7. It was the first loss of the season for Ohio State after a 15-0 start. The Buckeyes would lose 4 straight games starting with that loss.
Michigan State is coached by Tom Izzo. The Spartans have losses to North Carolina Michigan twice, Georgetown in New York City, at Wisconsin, Nebraska and Illinois. Michigan State started off 18-1, but has gone 5-6 in the last 10 games. Michigan State has key wins over Kentucky in Chicago, Columbia, Portland, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma in a tournament in Brooklyn, Oakland in Auburn Hills, at Texas, Penn State twice, Indiana twice, Ohio State, Minnesota, Northwestern twice, at Illinois, Iowa twice (including 86-76 at home Thursday) and at Purdue. Michigan State is 16-11-2 ATS and the total is 15-14 this season.
Michigan State is outscoring teams 76-65 this season. The Spartans are #56 in scoring and #58 in points allowed nationally. MSU is shooting 47% from the field and 38.6% from 3 point range. The Spartans are #49 or better nationally in both categories. Michigan State makes 68.8% of their free throws. Spartan opponents are shooting 39.7% from the field and 33.1% from 3 point range. Michigan State is #26 in opponents’ field goal percentage nationally. The Spartans average 37.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.6 per game. MSU is #52 in rebounding nationally. The Spartans average 17.2 assists, 11.1 turnovers, 7.4 steals and 4.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.6 assists, 13 turnovers, 5.3 steals and 3.3 blocks per game.
Guard Gary Harris averages 17.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. Center Adreian Payne averages 15.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Guard Keith Appling averages 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Guard Branden Dawson averages 10 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He returned against Illinois after missing 10 games with a broken hand Guard Denzel Valentine averages 8.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.1 steal per game. Guard Travis Trice averages 6.9 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1 steal per game. Kenny Kaminski and Matt Costello will also get significant minutes in the rotation. Costello leads the team in blocks at 1.4 per game.
Ohio State is coached by Thad Matta. The Buckeyes have losses at Michigan State, Iowa, at Minnesota, at Nebraska, Penn State twice, Michigan, and last Sunday at Indiana 72-64. Ohio State has lost 2 straight games. The Buckeyes have key wins over Ohio, at Marquette, American, Wyoming, Maryland, Delaware, Notre Dame in New York City, Purdue twice, Nebraska, Illinois twice, at Wisconsin, at Iowa, Northwestern, and Minnesota. Ohio State is 15-14 ATS and the total is 12-16-1 this season.
Ohio State is outscoring teams 70-59 this season. The Buckeyes are #7 nationally in points allowed. Ohio State is shooting 45% from the field and 33.3% from 3 point range. The Buckeyes make 69.8% of their free throws. OSU opponents are shooting 40.1% from the field and 27.7% from 3 point range. The Buckeyes are #34 nationally in field goal defense and #2 in three point defense. Ohio State averages 33.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 31.2 per game. The Buckeyes average 12 assists, 11.1 turnovers, 7.5 steals and 4.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 8.9 assists, 14.4 turnovers, 3.8 steals and 3 blocks per game.
Forward LaQuinton Ross averages 14.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. averages 11.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Guard Aaron Craft averages 9.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. Center Amir Williams averages 8.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Forward Sam Thompson averages 7.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Guard Shannon Scott averages 7.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Marc Loving, Amadeo Della Valle, and Trey McDonald will also get significant minutes in the rotation.
Michigan State is 8-2 ATS in road games and against teams with winning home records, 3-7 in Sunday games, and 1-5 after a straight up win. The under is 4-1 in the last 5 games in this series and 4-0 in Columbus. The underdog is 7-2-1 ATS in this series recently. Michigan State is 8-3 ATS in the last 11 games in Columbus.
Ohio State is 5-2 ATS against teams with winning records, 2-5 after failing to cover, and 3-8 after a straight up loss. The home team is 3-1-1 ATS in this series recently. The Buckeyes are 3-0-1 ATS in the last 4 against the Spartans .
Both of these teams have struggled recently, but when healthy they are among the most talented teams in the country. Each might be a 4 or a 5 seed in the tournament but they will be very dangerous. Michigan state has been very good on the road this year and I think that trend continues. The Spartans pull off the mild road upset.