College Basketball: Michigan State at Ohio State - Buckeyes Favored
The fifth-ranked Buckeyes (17-3, 5-1 Big Ten) try for their 22nd consecutive home victory Saturday when they face the Spartans, who have won four in a row at Columbus and dealt Ohio State its last home loss.
Oddsmakers have made Ohio State -8.5 point spread favorites (College Basketball Odds) for todays game,
the over/under has been set at 129.5 total points (View College Basketball Sports Books).
Drew Neitzel's runner and two free throws in the final 45 seconds of the second overtime helped the then-No. 14 Spartans hand the then-No. 19 Buckeyes their only home defeat of last season, 62-59 last Jan. 15.
The Buckeyes haven't beaten the Spartans in Columbus since a 64-55 victory on Jan. 27, 2001.
Ohio State, though, won the most recent meeting 79-68 at East Lansing on Feb. 22. The teams play at Michigan State on Feb. 3.
Both schools come into Saturday's matchup looking to extend four-game winning streaks. Ohio State is a game behind conference leader Wisconsin, while Michigan State (17-4, 4-2) is one game behind the Buckeyes in a three-way tie for third.
"We're looking forward now to what we get to do," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "I told our guys, 'This is why you come to a school like this. You get to play big games on national TV, in front of big crowds with everybody watching.'"
Ohio State had trouble shaking pesky Northwestern in a 59-50 win on Wednesday. Freshman center Greg Oden made sure there would not be an upset by scoring 10 points during the final 10:19 of the game. He finished with 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting and grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds.
"It was a close game," Oden said. "Somebody had to make plays."
Oden, averaging 15.4 points and 10.1 rebounds in 13 games, is averaging 23.0 points and 13.5 boards in his last two contests.
"He really amazes me everyday with some of the things he can do," Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. "His length. His timing. He's got a great feel for when the ball leaves the shooter's hand. Sometimes you find yourself saying that guy is pretty special to watch."
Michigan State's four consecutive victories have come against conference opponents after it dropped its first two Big Ten games at Iowa and Indiana.
The Spartans had little trouble in Wednesday's 70-46 home win over Minnesota, shooting 50.9 percent - the second straight game they have made more than half their shots.
"I'm trying to look at this like we're 0-0 and let's go see what we can do with the last 10 games," Izzo said.
Neitzel, the star of last season's win over Ohio State, leads Michigan State in scoring with a career-best 18.2 points per game. He struggled against Minnesota, though, scoring just 13 on 5-for-13 shooting.
Michigan State's only game against a ranked opponent this season was a 63-61 win over then-No. 19 Texas on Nov. 16.
by: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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