(Photo courtesy dispatch.com. Game information courtesy OhioStateBuckeyes.com, ESPN.com)

That didn’t turn out like we’d hoped.

Ohio State (15-12, 5-9) dropped a 74-66 contest to Michigan State (16-10, 8-5) Tuesday evening in East Lansing.  As always, I enjoy the Matta-Izzo coaching match-ups; I wish this game had turned in our favor. With both teams struggling, MSU “needed” this win to improve their odds to get a NCAA berth. Ohio State, at this point in the season, is still trying to get “stuff” sorted out. A little late, perhaps, but you just can’t give up on a season.

In JC’s pre-game, he’d mentioned the play of Ohio native, by the way, Nick Ward.  As it turned out JC was prescient; Nick had 15 points and was gracious enough to show Micah Potter several moves from the low post position that he may not have seen before.

In the first meeting this season, the Buckeyes weathered a Spartan storm (6-6 from the field) in the first five minutes.  On Tuesday the precipitation was provided by MSU’s Alvin Ellis III  who rained 5 3-pt scores in a 3:38 stretch in the first half.This game was fairly evenly contested, but it turned on two factors; Ohio State shot poorer than Michigan State and OSU’s transition defense was awful.

The Buckeyes had two players score in double digits; Marc Loving (22 points) and JaQuan Lyle (10). Trevor Thompson and JaQuan led Ohio State in rebounding, with 7 each. When a team only shoots 42% from the floor and 56% from the foul line, it’s not going to have many double digit scorers.

The Spartans had three double-digit scorers; Alvin Ellis III (18 points), Miles Bridges (17) and Nick Ward (15). In the previous meeting this season, Bridges also scored double digits (24), so apparently guarding him is a bit of a challenge. Young Mr. Bridges also accomplished a double-double by grabbing 11 rebounds. Bridges also led MSU in rebounding in the last meeting of these teams. Young Mr. Bridges enjoys playing against Ohio State.

Thoughts and opinions…

  • Generally the metrics for these team were pretty even, but one did stick out; fast break points. The Spartans outscored the Buckeyes 20-4 in this measure. Two things: first, this is an indicator that MSU was beating OSU down the floor on transition opportunities. That’s an “effort and awareness” shortfall. The other issue is that the Spartans are 2nd in the conference in turnovers per game. Every time you make them operate from their half court offense, you increase the probability of them turning the ball over.
  • It was good to see JaQuan Lyle get significant playing time. It sounds like his family issues have taken a turn for the better. Although I think this team is much more active and aggressive (for better or worse) when JaQuan plays, the really important fact is that his family is doing better.
  • In thought that for playing only half a game (21 minutes) Trevor had a good game (6 pts, 7 rebounds). His foul trouble limited his minutes, but if you watched the game, you’d be as befuddled by some of the calls as Trevor was.
  • I also thought that Micah Potter is getting  more comfortable playing at this level. He was aggressive on the boards and shot well (3-5) from the field. Granted, he did get abused on defense, but that is something Thad can work on in the off-season.
  • Conversely, I thought that Jae’Sean and Kam had bad outings. This is the second consecutive game where I didn’t think Kam looked good taking his jump shots. For a “shooter”, his line score of 2-10 from the field is dreadful. Jae’Sean, although full of ‘hustle’ was out of control for the most part. He had almost as many turnovers (6) as points (7) and pushed things with fouls (4). I appreciate his enthusiasm, especially this year, but he needs to modulate thins a bit.

Look, Ohio State is not going to play in the NCAA’s. Hell, they may be a bubble team for the NIT at this point. Any practice for post-season will be irrelevant. Thad’s best bet is to get these kids to focus on the next four games.

Up Next

The Buckeyes return home to play Nebraska  (11-14, 5-8) Saturday evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 pm EST. The Cornhuskers are currently 1/2 game in front of the Buckeyes in B1G standings. The game can be seen on BTN and/or you can listen to it on 97.1.