Preview and Game Thread: The Michigan State Spartans vs. Some Ohio State Buckeyes

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Your MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS vs some OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
THE JACK BRESLIN STUDENT EVENTS CENTER -- EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN
SUNDAY, MARCH 4TH, 2012, 4:00 PM EST
TV: CBS
ONLINE RADIO FEED: Spartan Sports Network

MEMO: THIS GAME IS A WHITE OUT. WEAR A WHITE SHIRT. IF YOU DON'T HAVE ONE, STOP AT THE MEIJER ON LAKE LANSING BEFORE YOU ARRIVE AND BUY ONE. THEY'RE NOT TOO MUCH, AND A PROPER WHITE OUT WILL LOOK AWESOME. PLEASE AND THANK YOU!

One game to rule them all, one game to find them, one game to bring them all and in East Lansing crown one, two, or three Big Ten Champions. Tolkien references aside, this game that will bring the Big Ten title race to its conclusion has three possibilities. Possibility the first -- Michigan wins against Penn State (almost a given) and MSU loses to OSU; that would make Michigan State, Ohio State, and Michigan B1G champions. In a word -- ugh. Possibility the second: Michigan loses to Penn State (HA HA), OSU beats MSU, and MSU and OSU are Big Ten champions. Still not desirable.

That brings us to possibility the third: Michigan State, like in Columbus a month ago, beats the Buckeyes, and claim the B1G regular season title on a day where Brandon Wood, Austin Thornton, and Draymond Green will play their last collegiate game in the Breslin Center (it feels so good not to include the NIT in this statement like last year) along with properly honoring Delvon Roe for his three years of play.

After the jump: keys, and thoughts.

  • Never mind Sullinger, focus on the rest of the team -- especially three-point shooters. One of the reasons Michigan State won the last match was that even though Jared Sullinger got his from a points and rebounds standpoint (17 and 16 respectively) he was also hassled into 10 turnovers. The three point shooting from the Buckeyes was poor, as only Sullinger and Aaron Craft made a three in that game. William Buford took too few threes going 0-2, and DeShaun Thomas took too many, going 0-5. If the Buckeyes get hot from behind the arc, worry, because even though Sullinger may turn the ball over, he'll get points on the inside.
  • 14,797 functioning as a jet engine. The Izzone will be depleted due to Spring Break, so it may be a bit quieter in the Bres today. However, I was there for Senior Day in '09 under similar circumstances; the Izzone was also on Spring Break, and even less was on the line as Michigan State had clinched the B1G regular season title by a wide margin at that point. It didn't make the atmosphere any less explosive however, as the atmosphere was one of the best I can remember. It's only natural to have some concern about how explosive the crowd will be this afternoon, but I think they're up to the challenge.
  • Using adrenaline to be in the moment, not of the moment. This may not make sense, but let me tell you a story of my past athletic experiences.
Adrenaline can be wondrous. When I was a sprinter in the high school I'd sit in the blocks for the 400, compress, close my eyes, and feel my heart rate elevate. The gun would fire, I'd burst forward, and feel loose and ready for the hell that was going to be the last 100 of that race.

Adrenaline can also make one a bit of an idiot. I ran cross country as well in high school, and all too often I'd see runner after runner dash to the front. Oh, how I wanted to do that as well. However, the first 100 meters of that race isn't as important as the last 4900 meters. I stuck back, and passed a lot of the herd during the second and third miles.

OK, sharing time's over. My point is this -- emotions are going to be high, and that can lead to some disjointed starts, such as the beginning of the Michigan game in the Breslin Center. At some point the adrenaline disappears however, and all that is left is a game, a score, and the possibility of standing alone on a summit. Let's make this last game for four seniors the best one of their lives.
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