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Michigan State Basketball: Ohio State Preview

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MSU looks to end the regular season on a high note against the Ohio State Buckeyes who are fighting for an NCAA bid. MSU can lock up the 2 seed in the B1G tournament with a win.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Opponent: Ohio State

Location: East Lansing, MI

Time: 12:00pm EST

Channel: ESPN

KenPom Line: MSU -14

Scouting report

  • The guy who gave MSU the most trouble last game was 6'7" Junior Marc Loving who got to the FT line 10 times against MSU and had 19 points overall. He's an interchangeable forward for Ohio State who gave MSU some trouble as he's almost entirely a perimeter player rather than a Nigel Hayes or Brandon Taylor type who can play in the post. He's shooting just 33% from 3 on the year but much of that can probably be attributed to trying to create more as 87% of his 3 are assisted this year whereas 100% of his 3 were assisted last year when he shot 46% from deep.
  • The other guy who gave MSU some trouble last game was 6'5" freshman JaQuan Lyle who I would say is like a more athletic freshman version of Denzel Valentine in that he's a passer (with a pretty high turnover rate) but isn't at all what you would call a shooter. He could be breakout guy next season but for right now he's just an interesting freshman to watch run a somewhat dysfunctional Ohio State offense.
  • 6'7" sophomore Keita Bates-Diop (in a lower usage role) has basically been a more efficient version of Loving who does however get to the line more. Bates-Diop has about 15 pounds on Loving and has a solid defensive rebounding rate but shoots just as well from 3 as Loving at 33%. He also has a solid block rate that's ranked 11th in the B1G in conference play.
  • 6'2" sophomore Kam Williams is the one very good shooter (46%) on a team of a bunch of mediocre shooters. He's a good scorer but does little else in terms of getting to the free throw line, assisting, and rebounding.
  • Ohio State's center position is taken up by a couple freshman in 6'11" Trevor Thompson and 6'10" Daniel Giddens. Thompson is just better overall including a very good offensive rebounding rate while Giddens is pretty limited offensively but has a slightly better block rate. While it would probably be in Ohio State's best interest to play Thompson more, they probably are forced to split it because they both have very high foul rates.

Four Factors

MSU on Offense

MSU on Defense

Things to watch for

  • For whatever reason Deyonta Davis struggled offensively against Ohio State in their first matchup where he went 0-3 from the field in 17 minutes. Since then he's had a couple solid games against Penn State and Rutgers (included 6 assists in those 2 games), but it'd be nice to see if he can learn from his first OSU game and be able to take advantage of the size mismatch. He may get more chances one-on-one in the post as Ohio State may be more leery of leaving shooters in this game as MSU shot 14-22 from deep in Columbus.
  • Tum Tum Nairn's minutes have slowly been increasing as he's averaged 12.5 in the past two games. While it's nice for him to be able to come in and bring up the ball, it's be even better if he was able to do a bit more initiating. In the 39 minutes he's played since he's come back from injury he's only taken 2 shots (both misses) and he's had just 6 assists. While he's never been a true offensive threat it'd be great to see if he can get a bit more going in transition or take advantage of defenses that try to ignore him on offense.
Bottom Line

At home on senior day I just don't see MSU losing to an Ohio State team seeking an NCAA tournament bid. Ohio State's smaller guards struggled chasing Forbes around screens and while Forbes might not have as big of a game, he's going to be drawing a lot of attention. MSU ends the regular season on a high note.

MSU 80 - OSU 65