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tBBC MBB Preview: Michigan State Spartans

  • Thread starter Brandon Zimmerman
  • Start date

Brandon Zimmerman

MBB Preview: Michigan State Spartans
Brandon Zimmerman
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


Well it all comes down to this. In order to even have a shot at the NCAA tournament, the Buckeyes must win in East Lansing against the Michigan State Spartans. Even with a win, the Buckeyes would need to win at least two games in the Big Ten tournament to feel really good about their chances to go to the big dance.

If they beat Sparty and win two games in the B1G tournament, it would give them eight wins in their last ten conference games and include three top ten wins (Iowa, MSU, and #3 seed) in a two week span. So for those incredibly pessimistic people saying the Buckeyes have zero chance, you are completely wrong. The Buckeyes do have a chance to go to the big dance but they have to win on Saturday or their odds of making the tournament go to about 0%.

The first step in this uphill battle begins on Saturday as the Buckeyes go up against possibly the best team in the nation; the Tom Izzo led Spartans at noon on ESPN.


The wild, frustrating, and mistake-filled regular season comes to an end for the Buckeyes as this incredibly young team turns their attention to the Spartans. Just one week ago, the Spartans came to the friendly confines of Value City Arena and put it to the Buckeyes shooting something like 1000% from the field. How will the youthful Buckeyes respond to the Spartans this time around?

If Sunday is any indication, these Buckeyes know they are fighting for their NCAA tournament lives and will give it their best effort. The Buckeyes are coming off of a huge win against the Iowa Hawkeyes where they knocked off the #8 team in the nation 68-64

Junior Marc Loving will have to continue his hot streak for Ohio State to keep up with the Spartans. (Photo courtesy of elevenwarriors.com)

Junior Marc Loving and sophomore Keita Bates-Diop led the Buckeyes and combined for 44 points on 15-24 shooting from the field. Sophomore Kam Williams took over down the stretch and scored 12 points 11 points (IT WAS A THREE!) and hit numerous big shots during crunch time.

On the season; Loving leads all scorers with 13.3 points per game but is averaging 22 points per game since sophomore Jae’Sean Tate went down to his injury. Bates-Diop leads the team with 6.6 rebounds per game. Freshman JaQuan Lyle leads the team with 4.3 assists per game.


It is March, so I feel like I shouldn’t have to say the Spartans are playing their best ball of the season. In their last five games, they have won by an average margin of over 22 points. This impressive margin of victory includes wins against Indiana, our Buckeyes, and Wisconsin. It is truly amazing to see Izzo get his team ready for March every season. I’ll go ahead and give you a spoiler for the tournament; the Spartans are going to be in the championship game.

In their last game, the Spartans rolled through Rutgers 97-66 as senior Bryn Forbes continued his hot streak hitting 11 three-pointers. In his last four games, Forbes is 25-40 (62.5%) from three-point land which, for those who struggle with math, is REALLY good. Senior Denzel Valentine had his normal all-around great game coming in with 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.

Senior Denzel Valentine may be the top player in the nation.

For the season, Valentine leads the team in scoring averaging 19.3 points per game and assists averaging 7.3 per game. Senior forward Matt Costello leads the team with 8.5 rebounds per game.



Trevor Thompson SO 6’11” 250 C
Mickey Mitchell FR 6’7” 225 F
Keita Bates-Diop SO 6’7” 235 F
Marc Loving JR 6’7” 220 F
JaQuan Lyle FR 6’5” 210 G


Matt Costello SR 6’9” 245 F
Deyonta Davis FR 6’10” 245 F
Denzel Valentine SR 6’5” 220 G
Eron Harris JR 6’3” 175 G
Bryn Forbes SR 6’3” 175 G


As much as I pumped up the Buckeyes chances in the first half of this article, I’m here to throw them out the window. The Buckeyes played unbelievable basketball against Iowa to put themselves in this position but I don’t think they can play at that level two games in a row against top-tier teams. Sure the Spartans may overlook the Buckeyes and the young Bucks could pull it out but you just can’t expect that from an Izzo led experienced team.

In order to have a chance, the Buckeyes are going to have to stay in the face of Forbes and Valentine. In last week’s match-up, Forbes annihilated the Buckeyes from three point land making seven of ten shots and finishing with 27 points. Valentine added four more three pointers en-route to a 17 point day. The Buckeyes have to focus on stopping those two players and force Costello and the other role players to beat them if they want to have any chance.

I think the Buckeyes will keep it closer than last week but ultimately lose by less than ten points.

Spartans win 74-67 (I hope I am completely wrong)

The post MBB Preview: Michigan State Spartans appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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