Today, the Michigan State Spartans will go head to head with the Ohio State Buckeyes. After their first home loss against the Indiana Hoosiers (72-68) last week, the Spartans are looking to get back on top. The Hoosiers currently hold the top slot in the Big 10 conference, and the Spartans are hot on their heels. Ohio State is currently number five in the conference.
The last time the Spartans met up with the Buckeyes, Michigan State defeated the team 59-56 in East Lansing. Michigan State had a quick start to which Ohio State followed up with a 15-0 run, keeping the Spartans from scoring for just over six-and-a-half minutes. The Spartans came back from behind in the last minute to take the win.
Today’s starting group for the Spartans is predicted to be
- #25 Derrick Nix
- #5 Adreian Payne
- #22 Branden Dawson
- #14 Gary Harris
- #11 Keith Appling
Travis Trice, Denzel Valentine, Russell Byrd, Alex Gauna, and Matt Costello are all possible substitutions for this afternoon’s game. In the game against the Michigan Wolverines, and last week’s game against the Hoosiers, Costello came alive on the court, showing what he’s made of.
Gary Harris leads conference freshmen in scoring. He’s averaging 13.8 points per game – even though he’s been dealing with back spasms as of late. He earned his third Big Ten Freshman of the week honors last week.
Buckeye Deshaun Thomas leads the conference in scoring, averaging 20.1 points per game (so make sure you’re guarding him, guys!). The team also has the second-ranked player for assists and player with the highest steals average in the conference. This means the Spartans will need to bring their defensive A-game and that Nix will need to hold onto that ball when he gets it (I don’t know if you’ve noticed him losing the ball to other teams a lot lately, I sure have.)
Speaking of giving the ball away, the Spartans will need to limit their turnovers, which are averaging 13.5 per game. That figure includes five games where the Spartans had 19 or more turnovers during the game.
Let’s cheer the Spartans on during their game. Go Green! Go White!