Well Valentine’s Day is upon us again – that wondrous romantic day …. and of all days the Buckeyes meet up with the Spartans of *ichigan State in East Lansing on ESPN at 9:00 p.m.
The Spartans are currently 5th in the Big Ten standings with a 7-5 in conference record and 15-10 overall. The Buckeyes are 11th in conference and 15-11 overall.
The last time these two teams played, back on the 15th of January, in Columbus, the Buckeyes prevailed 72-67. In that game JaQuan Lyle led the Buckeyes with 22 points, while both Marc Loving and Jae’Sean Tate delivered 12 each. It was an exciting game from start to finish. It, in my opinion, detailed what the Buckeyes, these Buckeyes anyway, are about – scrappy – even if unsure of themselves.
*ichigan State is led by Gahanna, Ohio native, Freshmen 6-8 Forward Nick Ward. He leads the team in both rebounds (6.0) and blocked shots with an average of 1.8 per game. I mention him before the team leader in scoring, Miles Bridge (16.2) purposely because in the last game with the Buckeyes he was a weak 3-7 from the field, scoring nine points, snagging 4 boards and zero blocks – all in 18 minutes of play. I can only imagine that a kid straight out of the Buckeyes backyard – would want a re-do. Tomorrow is it. He “just” may be hungry.
As I mentioned Miles Bridges is the leader in scoring with an average of 16.2 points per game. Cassius Winston leads the team in assists with 5.0, and steals with an .8 average. And Enron Harris, the Senior Guard scores nicely with an 11.3 average.
This isn’t quite the typical Spartans team for Coach Izzo – but in that statement is a oxymoronic stage that stares at you like a mirror. Tom Izzo is noted to surprise.
Well, how do we start ….
The last outing the Buckeyes were handed their jock straps in a romp – 86-77 by Maryland. Even though the nine-point difference doesn’t quite seem like a romp, along with the fact that they led the Terrapins in rebounding, both tied offensively with nine each, the Buckeyes led on the defensive boards with a 23 to 21 edge, and 32 to 30 overall. From what I saw before I walked away, was a team that beat themselves with a lesser desire. They were outplayed, out-hustled, and out-smarted.
The Buckeyes continue to have the guys that has literally lead them all year – in the same spot. Jae’Sean Tate leads in scoring with an average of 14.3. Trevor Thompson leads in rebounding with 9.4 – indeed a nice average. And just as they have for quite some time now, the Buckeyes have five players averaging double figures in scoring: Jae’Sean Tate (14.3); Marc Loving (12.2); JaQuan Lyle (11.4); Trevor Thompson (10.8); and Kam Williams (10.6)….
…. This is a nicer stat if you have a little less than 11 losses. To me I see players that score in the game, but lacks the oomph to finish the game….
Since the Spartans loss to the Buckeyes back on January 15th they have gone 3-3 – hardly a bragging point. But the Buckeyes gone 3-5 in the same span.
What can I say here? I will be having dinner with my beautiful wife; will an *ichigan game on ESPN play a factor in the evening? Doubtful! But I will have an interest on the 15th come morning. I hope we have a repeat of the 15th of last month … But as I mentioned look for Nick Ward and “hopefully I am wrong” his re-do!