Big Ten Tournament 2012: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans

No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 8 Michigan State Spartans
Sunday, 3/11/12, 3:30 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Ohio State -2
Current Betting Line:  Ohio State -1.5
Opening Total:  130.5
Current Total:  131.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Michigan State Spartans and Ohio State Buckeyes will battle it out in the Big Ten Conference Tournament Championship Game

Ohio State will compete in its fourth consecutive Big Ten Tournament Championship and will look to also win its ninth straight game in the event.  The Buckeyes know they will be facing a revenge-minded opponent due to handing the Michigan State Spartans a 72-70 defeat as three-point road underdogs on March 4.  A lot more is on the line in terms of seeding for the upcoming NCAA tournament as well.  “We’re not worrying about a No. 1 seed right now,” commented Buckeyes point guard Aaron Craft.  Ohio State is 11-5 ATS in March the last two-plus years.

The Buckeyes are 19-8 overall in the tournament and have won 15 of their last 18 games in the event.  Ohio State is led by a trio of players offensively, with sophomore center Jared Sullinger leading the way in averaging 17.5 points per game, with DeShaun Thomas closely behind in scoring 15.5 points a contest and senior William Buford scoring 14.8 points a game.  Sullinger scored 17 points and came down with 16 rebounds in the first matchup versus the Spartans in Columbus, but was plagued by foul trouble in the second meeting in East Lansing.

Michigan State is playing tremendous basketball in this event and is shooting 54.6 percent from the floor, while holding opponents to 39.2 percent from the field.  The Spartans will be led by senior forward Draymond Green from an emotional and offensive standpoint, as he comes in averaging 16.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.  “It’s just another opportunity for us,” commented Green after the team’s 65-52 semifinal win over the Wisconsin Badgers as four-point favorites.  “We had two chances to win the Big Ten outright and we didn’t do it.”  Michigan State is 14-6 ATS versus conference opponents this year.

The Spartans are 17-12 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament, including a 2-0 record in the championship game.  Michigan State is a dominating 65-26 when playing in March since the 1998-99 season, while going 72-33 over the course of the month during the Tom Izzo era.  In the team’s seven wins over ranked opponents, the Spartans are allowing just 57.3 points on 36.2 percent shooting.

Bettors will likely back the Spartans due to the underdog being 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings, while the Buckeyes are just 16-16 ATS versus good defensive teams the last two-plus years.

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