Saturday, 1/19/2013 at 6:00 PM on ESPN
Okay, so this is where the season becomes interesting. Of the Spartans next five games, four are against ranked opponents and the tilt against the unranked foe will be played in Wisconsin. I am curious to see if the Spartans dig themselves into a hole or begin to climb the hill this week. Many of the players have had good games but seldom has more than one or two of them had a good game at the same time. It will take more than flashes of good play to beat any of the upper tier teams in the Big Ten and I think this team has a gear we haven’t seen yet. Dump the clutch, fellas. Let’s go.
Thomas Believes He Can Fly. He Believes He Can Touch The Sky.(Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
The Buckeyes will arrive in East Lansing feeling pretty good about themselves, having just dispatched the then #2 Wolverines. Further, OSU has had success recently in the Breslin Center, winning the last two meetings there. Although the Buckeyes had some notable player departures, Deshaun Thomas provides all the star power that any team would need(20 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 40% from 3). As far as the Spartans are concerned, Thomas is public enemy number one. The guy plays good D, rebounds, can shoot threes, and has no qualms about posting you up. Aaron Craft still patrols the backcourt and along with Lenzelle Smith Jr. will keep Harris and Appling busy all game. This is a high-energy bunch and they will look to pressure MSU into making mistakes.
Appling Needs To Take The Game To Craft (Kirthmon F. Dozier / DFP)
Since attempting to slow the irresistible force that is Deshaun Thomas is a top priority, I would expect to see Branden Dawson locked on him. There is no better match defensively as Dawson has the athleticism to counter much of what Thomas seeks to accomplish. Failing that course, MSU would have to run help his way as often as possible and that would not bode well at all. Thomas is a bright player as well as talented and is able to find the man who is left open when opponents try to double him. In the post, MSU has what I feel is a clear advantage. I am very pleased with both Nix and Payne and I believe they will produce against OSU. As for the guards, Harris hasn’t shied from any challenge thus far and I have a feeling that Appling is due for a big game. If the Spartans just take care of the ball and play inside-out in the half court then a win is right there for them. Sloppy play will get them buried in a hurry however, so let’s not have any of that tonight.
Prediction: MSU 69, OSU 65
Secondary Prediction: Many Ohio kids will shed tears with their Uncle Daddy after the loss.