February 15th, 2011- By Bryan Cross
The No.3 Ohio State Buckeyes enter their game against the Michigan State Spartans on Tuesday night in unfamiliar territory this season. For the first time all year, the Buckeyes come into a game following loss, after dropping their first game over the weekend against Wisconsin.
The Buckeyes (24-1, 11-1) fell to No.3 in the latest edition of the College Basketball polls in a 71-67 loss to the Badgers on Saturday afternoon. Prior to the loss, Ohio State had held the unanimous No.1 ranking as the lone unbeaten program in Division I. Now, that is back up for grabs and the Buckeyes will look to continue to move forward with the goal of a Big Ten title and a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament next month.
“We didn’t come into the season trying to go undefeated. Obviously, it would have been nice. But we’re still two games up on second place in the Big Ten. And that’s our first goal — to win the Big Ten,” Buckeye guard Jon Diebler said following the loss to Wisconsin.
“Yes, we lost. Yes, it’s not acceptable to lose. But it’s not the end of the world. We still have six games left and we’re sitting in a pretty good position right now.”
Ohio State controlled a 15-point lead at one point in the second half against the Badgers before completely collapsing. They have no room to relax as they get a Michigan State team desperate to make an effort towards getting to the NCAA Tournament after coming into the season as a consensus top-five team.
“You have a chance to get back to restore the roar,” said Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo.
“It’s a great opportunity and that’s what I’m trying to sell to the guys. We’ve got a great opportunity to re-establish ourselves.”
The Spartans(14-10, 6-6) have struggled mightily on the road, tabbing just a 3-6 record, compared to a 10-2 record at home. Visiting the Buckeyes presents quite the challenge than maybe getting them at home.
For the Buckeyes though, head coach Thad Matta is interested to see how his team responds following the first loss of the season.
“It’s uncharted waters — it’s kind of embarrassing to say that — but, we’ll find out,” Matta said. “I’m anxious to see tomorrow night how we come out and play. But they’ve given me no signs. We’ll get ready to go in and get after it again today (in practice). I think they’ll respond; that’s who they are.”
Ohio State/Michigan State Game Line: College basketball odds have set the Buckeyes as a 12/5-point favorite over the Spartans, with the over/under set at 135.5 points on most online sportsbooks. Ohio State is 11-11 ATS this season, while Michigan State is 7-16 ATS.
Michigan State Betting Trends: The Spartans are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 conference games. Michigan State is 0-5 ATS in their last five trips away from home. The Under is 7-0 after the Spartans get a S.U win in their previous outing.
Ohio State Betting Trends: The Buckeyes are 2-5 ATS when coming off an ATS loss. Ohio State is also 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games on a Tuesday. The Over is 11-4 in the last 15 conference games for the Buckeyes.