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Around the Conference: Michigan State holds on, Ohio State preps for Marquette

Michigan State stumbled out of the gate and had to come back late to beat Columbia

Leon Halip

Time's a bit tight, so here's a quick rundown of the action tonight and a glance at tomorrow's action. Tonight was of course highlighted by Michigan State narrowly avoiding a major letdown, while tomorrow kicks off early at 1 PM with Ohio State traveling to play at #17 Marquette.

Indiana 105 Samford 59

Indiana had a poor performance against Long Island-Brooklyn and almost fell in a shocker. That didn't happen here as Indiana took care of business against Samford, cruising to a 46 point victory. Indiana's defense impressed, holding Samford to under 30% from the field. On offense Indiana was led by Ferrell's 26 points. Noah Vonleh continues to impress, adding 13 points and 10 rebounds. Overall the team shot 57.1% on the night after a poor shooting performance earlier in the week.

Michigan State 62 Columbia 53

I mentioned earlier today that there was zero chance Michigan State would lose here, even if they had a hangover from the Kentucky game. Well that statement ended up being true, but Sparty still almost proved me wrong. The Spartans looked terrible across the board, seeing poor performances by almost everyone, no three pointers, a horrible rebounding effort and even a Gary Harris tweaked ankle. The team, however, took a slim lead towards the end of the game and then finished on a 8-0 run as Columbia imploded. It wasn't pretty but at least Michigan State saw a dominating performance by Adreian Payne, adding 26 points and 11 rebounds, willing his team to the victory.

Previewing Saturday

#10 Ohio State at #17 Marquette 1:00 PM EST Fox

In Saturday's marquee game, likely overshadowed by football, Ohio State and Marquette will face off in what is each teams first test of the season. Marquette will get the advantage of hosting Ohio State and playing the Buckeyes early. Ohio State will be very, very good eventually this season. Hell, they're already good, returning most of their talent from last season and the beloved Aaron Craft, but the team still doesn't have the frontcourt completely set. The talents there, but the roles don't appear to be solidified as Ohio State tries to figure out who their go to guy in the frontcourt is now that Deshaun Thomas is no longer here. The teams potential cohesion issues, mixed with the game being at Marquette, should give the Golden Eagles the edge. Emphasis on should, though, as I believe Ohio State will find a way to pull this one out.

Penn State at Penn 2:00 PM EST

The Nittany Lions will head to Penn in their third game of the season. Both teams are 1-1 and Penn State will look to bounce back after falling to Bucknell. The team will likely rely on their backcourt duo of Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill and the teams success will be heavily based around their performances. The frontcourt played better in their last outing, though Frazier seemed to still be the key. Penn State has struggled in the past when playing on the road, though the game today will still be in-state. I think Penn State's ability to bounce back (or not) will be a major sign of what we can expect from this Nittany Lion team.

Minnesota at Richmond 7:00 PM EST

Richmond isn't a bad team, but Minnesota should be strong enough to win here. The problem is this is a relatively inexperienced team and it's not known how well they will perform on the road. If Pitino wants to try to make some noise and get this team to the NCAA Tournament, it'll have to win games like this. Everyone (myself included) seems to like Pitino at Minnesota but he might be a year or two away from getting Minnesota back up to speed, making the team susceptible in road games like these. Andre Hollins has been very, very good so far offensively, while Elliott Eliason has cleaned up on the glass and Deandre Mathieu has been solid distributing the ball. If these guys can play effectively, Minnesota should be capable of winning. If not? Well it'll likely result in Pitino's first loss here. I'd imagine this game stays close and since it's in Richmond, Minnesota will likely be at a slight disadvantage here.

#20 Wisconsin at Green  Bay 8:00 PM EST ESPN3

Coming off of their win over Florida, Wisconsin will now face off against Green Bay on Saturday night. I'd write about why Wisconsin is superior and the more talented team and set to win...but there could be a hangover from the Florida game and we all know how that turned out for Michigan State. Wisconsin's stingy defense should be enough to suffice, with the team's Florida performance looking considerably more like the old Wisconsin than the new, up-tempo team that scored over 80 points against St. Johns. Either way, Dekker has impressed once again while Gasser has seemingly made a full recovery from last season's injury. Wisconsin may be at risk for a hangover, but I don't imagine them losing this game.