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2/17 Big Ten Preview & Open Thread: MSU Hosts OSU

Preview the Big Ten’s slate for Sunday.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten had a fully loaded slate on Saturday, but only has one game on Sunday. However, it is an important one between Michigan State and Ohio State. The Spartans are hoping to keep pace in the Big Ten title race and the Buckeyes are looking to bounce back after losing to Illinois at home earlier this week.

Let’s take a look at today’s Big Ten action.

Game of the Day:

-Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 11 Michigan State Spartans

  • Time/TV: 1:00PM (CBS)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan State (-12)

While this game might not “pop” as much as it did on the schedule earlier this season, it is still a significant matchup for the Big Ten moving forward. It’s also likely the biggest game of a relatively slight Sunday nationally.

For Michigan State, this is an opportunity to keep things rolling after its rough stretch earlier this month. The Spartans are a half-game back in the Big Ten title race and need to protect home court to have a chance to keep pace with Michigan and Purdue. It’s still possible to win the Big Ten with a loss here, but that’s probably not a realistic scenario.

On the other side, Ohio State needs to get back on track after blowing a game at home against Illinois earlier this week. The Buckeyes are 16-8 overall and have yet to “lock up” an NCAA Tournament bid at this point. Ohio State remains in good shape to get into the field, but it’s hard to see 16 wins being enough. However, going on the road and knocking Michigan State off would certainly help those efforts.

Like the first matchup, this game is likely going to come down to two things: (1) how the Buckeyes matchup with with Cassius Winston in transition; and (2) who wins between Nick Ward and Kaleb Wesson down low. Michigan State’s weakness over the last few years has been turnovers, but Ohio State isn’t exactly a great defense at forcing turnovers. The team needs to step up there if it’s going to come out with a win.

Moreover, the battle between Ward and Wesson should be a good one. These are probably two of the top three big men in the league right now and both play relatively similar styles. It will be up to Ward to try and prevent easy low post looks for Wesson and to try and prevent him from feeding teammates for easy jump shots.

  • Pick Against the Spread: Michigan State

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Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 61-50-4