The Big Ten basketball tournament is now underway with the Michigan State Spartans set to open tournament play against Ohio State on Friday night after watching the past two days at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. with their double bye.
For the third time this season, MSU and Ohio State will battle with the Spartans having won both previous match-ups this season.
The Buckeyes advanced following a hard fought 79-75 win over Penn State on Thursday but a win over the Buckeyes is not a given for Tom Izzo’s team.
However, a third win over the Buckeyes would advance the Spartans putting them against the winner of Friday nights match-up between Nebraska and Maryland on Saturday afternoon.
If all goes according to plan, Izzo’s team will be playing Sunday against the winner of the upper bracket that has Michigan, Purdue, a surprising Illinois and favorite Indiana still in play.
Do the Spartans have what it takes to win the tournament?
GAME NOTES OHIO STATE
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Ohio State, 71-57. The Spartans have won 31 of the last 45 games in the series. Tom Izzo is 26-14 in his career against the Buckeyes. Twelve of the last 14 games in the series have each been decided by 10 points or less. Seven of the last 11 games have been decided by four points or less.
Spartans Vs. Buckeyes In Big Ten Tournament
Michigan State is 3-3 against Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament, including 2-0 in the quarterfinals. No. 8 OSU defeated No. 5 MSU, 55-54, in the 2003 semifinals. In 2008, No. 4 MSU defeated No. 5 OSU, 67-60, in the quarterfinals. No. 5 OSU defeated No. 1 MSU, 82-70, in the 2009 semifinals. The No. 1 Spartans defeated the No. 3 Buckeyes, 68-64, in the 2012 championship game. In 2013, No. 2 OSU beat No. 3 MSU, 61-58, in the semifinals. Last season, No. 3 MSU defeated No. 6 OSU, 76-67, in the quarterfinals, behind 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists from Denzel Valentine.
The Season Series
The Spartans swept the season series with the Buckeyes as both contests came in the final two weeks of the season. On Feb. 23, Michigan State claimed an 81-62 victory in Columbus behind 27 points from Bryn Forbes, as he hit 7-of-10 from 3-point range, including 6-of-8 in the second half as part of a 20-point half. As a team, the Spartans connected on 14-of-22 from behind the arc. In the regular-season finale in East Lansing, Denzel Valentine turned in a dominating 27-point, 13-assist performance in a 91-76 Senior Day victory on March 5. Michigan State’s 66.7 percent shooting effort was a season high for a Big Ten team in a conference game. In two games against the Buckeyes, Valentine averaged 22.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 10.5 assists, shooting .577 from the field and .692 (9-13) from 3-point range. Forbes averaged 20.5 points while shooting .500 (8-16) from behind the arc. Matt Costello nearly averaged a double-double at 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. MSU shot a combined .602 from the field, including .579 from 3-point range. OSU shot .438 from the field and .432 from 3-point range. Marc Loving averaged 20.0 points for the Buckeyes, scoring 19 points in Columbus and 21 in East Lansing.