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3/4 Big Ten Preview: Michigan State hosts Ohio State

Preview Saturday’s Big Ten action here.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports


Selection Sunday is a matter of days, not weeks nor months. The Big Ten looks poised to send the most teams to the NCAA Tournament of any conference after a confusing regular season that’s only made postseason seeding that much more interesting.

The league has an outright champion in the Purdue Boilermakers, but there’s still a bit of basketball left to play here on Saturday. With that in mind, let’s dive on in and preview one of the last few days of the league’s regular season:

Game of the Day

Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan State Spartans

  • Time/TV: Noon ET (ESPN)
  • KenPom Spread: Michigan State by 6

We’re at the point in the season where teams are either comfortably in the field of 68, definitely aren’t or absolutely need to win out to get in at all.

Michigan State lies in the first category as a projected No. 7-seed in the Joe Lunardi’s latest ESPN Bracketology. Ohio State... Well, the Buckeyes definitely played basketball this year, that much I can say.

Tom Izzo is himself, so he’s always at the very least going to find a way in. This particular Michigan State team lacks one key star but has enough solid contributors that there’s multiple ways for the Spartans to win a given game. The computers mostly agree with me here, they’re 27th in KenPom.

The key stat that jumps out is Michigan State’s control of the arc. The Spartans shoot well as a team with 39.4% while limiting opponents to just 30.4.

Ohio State is an interesting case. The Buckeyes have an impressive lienup of talent but a combination of horrible luck and a lack of defense will stay their feet when the field is announced.

KenPom’s 24th ranked offense is held in check by the 112th ranked defense. Ohio State’s season completely collapsed in a nine game losing streak beginning with Illinois late in January and finally ending, against Illinois, in late February.

Two straight home wins in garbage time of the season against Illinois and a notoriously road-averse Maryland team will send off Ohio State to East Lansing where there’s absolutely no reason for Michigan State to lose.

The Spartans could still jump a seed or so while the Buckeyes have nothing left to play for.

  • Pick: Michigan State