February 11, 2012 – By Scott
They routed Michigan 64-49 at home back on January 29th and got past Wisconsin 58-52 last Saturday. On Tuesday though, they had a scare against unranked Purdue where they eked out a 87-84 home win.
Hopefully for the Buckeyes, their somewhat of a letdown against the Boilermakers is in the past as they gear up for a huge game against Big Ten opponent and the No. 12 Michigan State Spartans on Saturday night.
The Spartans (19-5, 8-3) are just one game behind the Buckeyes in conference play. They are winners of two straight including last Sunday’s 64-54 win over then No. 22 Michigan.
This will be a huge game for both offenses based on the way both excel on the defensive side of the court. Ohio State is getting 76.9 points per game and Michigan State is getting 73.8.
Both the Spartans and Buckeyes do a great job on the defensive side of the ball in limiting their opponents’ points per game. Ohio State is allowing just 56.6 while Michigan State is allowing just 59.
“Defense is going to be huge; their defense, our defense,” Ohio State sophomore guard Aaron Craft said. “It’s definitely going to be a big key to the game. Whoever can score the most off their defense and try to limit the other team is going to be successful.”
Jared Sullinger will be the key offensively for the Buckeyes. For the year, he is averaging 17.4 points per game and 9 rebounds. For the Spartans, Draymond Green has been their leader and is averaging 15.2 points per game and 10.6 rebounds.
NCAA College Betting Lines have labeled Ohio State as 8 1/2-point home favorites over Michigan State.