Ohio State Basketball: Michigan St. Spartans Take on the Ohio State Buckeyes

Buckeye CommentarySenior Analyst IJanuary 16, 2017

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Char·ac·ter (noun) – the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation.

We will find out tonight if this OSU team has the character needed to be champions this year.  We’ve got a senior-laden team, with quite possibly the most mature 18-year-old to ever put on the Scarlet and Gray leading the troops.  Our mental toughness and maturity will be what sets us apart from the other top contenders.  
The result tonight will speak for itself as Coach Izzo brings his Michigan St. Spartans into the Nuthouse for a 9:00pm tip on ESPN.  Vitale and Musburger are doing the game tonight as the Buckeyes bounce back from their first dose of adversity this year with the loss @ Wisconsin.  Before we get to the game at hand, let’s take a look at that loss to Bo Ryan.
Before the Badgers game, we listed the keys to victory as the following:
· Shoot a better percentage from the field than the Badgers—CHECK
· Shoot well from the free throw line—CHECK
· Don’t turn the ball over—CHECK
· 20/10 from Sully—CHECK

It was a fluke loss.  That Ginger was 3-17 from beyond the arc all year and hit two huge threes.  Jordan Taylor was in a zone second half equivalent to this.  We had numerous shots during their run that rimmed in and out.  We had two bad calls against Lighty and Sully that would have done a ton to stop their momentum.  The Kohl Center worked its magic like it has against 90 percent of opponents over the last decade.  The results will be different March 6th.  Believe that.
Tonight, Sparty comes in as the most disappointing team in the country so far this year, at 14-10 (6-6) but scratching and clawing for their tournament lives.  They have the 14th ranked SOS and an RPI of 45, which means that a win tonight for Michigan State puts them right back onto the bubble.  Kansas St.’s victory last night shows what happens when a talented team gets their heads on straight if even only for a night. After losing five of their last six, MSU comes in after beating Penn St. handily at home.
This is a team that was ranked No. 2 in the preseason, and when the season started, this game was circled on everyone’s calendars as the "Big Game" of the year.  That still holds true, especially after the Wisky loss.  A loss tonight means a losing streak, a much different problem than just one loss.  Even though the Bucks have a two-game lead in the Big Ten race, it’s essentially only one with the final game of the year being Wisconsin and their ability to hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over us.
You know the opponent.  Senior guard Kalin Lucas is averaging 22.8 over his last five games.  Durrell Summers is another senior who leads the team in three-point shooting. Draymond Green was the 2010 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year and is averaging 13 ppg and 8 rpg.  Delvon Roe, however, appears to be out tonight.
Character is what will make the difference tonight.  MSU has been to six Final Fours in the last 12 years.  They’ve had their time, now it’s the Buckeyes’ turn.  I believe this team has the mental toughness to cut down the nets in Houston. They are playing for a Buckeye Nation that is hungry for another title and demanding respect despite the rest of the country’s bias.  Texas is slated to move to No. 1 despite three losses on the year…there is no explanation.  Sparty is 1-6 on the road this year—0-5 when their opponent shoots higher than 50 percent from the field.  We’re too good of an offensive team to let that happen.

Keys to Victory:

1.  Upperclassmen Leadership - This is the frosh’s first taste of coming back after a loss.  I expect a big game from Lighty tonight, and Buford continues his stake to being the team’s go to guy.
2. Key contributions from the bench - 16 pts from the bench tonight (including Lauderdale, not Craft) in key minutes.  Matta won’t stay in publicly, but he realizes players like Diebler need a breather.
3. Hold MSU under 50 percent FG shooting - I’m gonna guess that practice was a bitch this week when perimeter defense was discussed.  Running for hours until you puke during practice will make you think twice about getting up on your man to contest shots.

Tonight, we play for America.  Tonight, we play for Jesse Owens and the Big Ten Icon travesty.  Let me get this straight Big Ten Network.  You’re saying this guy was more of an icon to the conference than this guy?   JOKE.  The president of the Big Ten Network, Mark Silverman, claims that he actually had Jesse Owens No. 1, but all the other production staffers (to include interns, janitors, plumbers, etc.) had an equal vote.  Can you say ZERO CREDIBILITY?

BUCKS – 74
Spoarty - 61