I would be lying if I said I expected Tom Izzo and the Michigan St. Spartans to walk into Columbus and win against Ohio St.  However, after a very strong first half against the Buckeyes I thought I was watching the Spartan team everybody expected to see this season.  While watching the game on my lagging laptop in the middle of my night class I was able to notice a few things, mainly during the second half.

One thing I noticed very early was the calling of the refs.  I’m not going to blame the Spartans loss on the referee’s but when a team shoots 6 free throws compared to the home teams 29 free throw attempts one has reason to question the calls made during this game.  Michigan State made 5 of their 6 attempts (83.3%) while Ohio State made 23 of their 29 attempts (79.3%).  For all you non-math majors out there that’s 18 more points basically given to the Buckeyes.  Like I said I don’t think the refs cost the Spartans this game but personally I thought there were some pretty one sided calls all night.  When one team shoots 23 more free throws than another team, especially the home team, my “homered” meter sky rockets! However, I will speak my pleasure of the referee who FINALLY called Sullinger for a hooking call with his elbow.  Touche sir, somebody finally got it.

Another thing I noticed was Michigan State turning the ball over in crucial moments.  Not only were the Spartans turning the ball over when they really needed a bucket they were turning the ball over constantly.  The Spartans had 19 turnovers! Compare that to OSU’s 7 and you have yourself a recipe for disaster.  When you have close to 20 turnovers in a game your chances of winning are cut dramatically.  Michigan State averages 14 turnovers per game, this problem could be given credit to MSU’s sub par season thus far.

The last thing I noticed about MSU’s performance tonight was their inability to make shots when they needed to.  This was due in part to turning the ball over and Ohio State’s defense forcing the Spartans offense out of rhythm.  The Spartans simply choked the last 8-10 minutes of the game when making shots really counted.  Granted, Ohio State played really good defense and didn’t let the Spartans get very many good looks.

As mentioned above I didn’t expect to watch MSU beat Ohio State at home tonight.  After Ohio State’s loss in Madison this weekend I had the feeling they would be playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder.  Coming home after a loss is always a good thing too.  I admit that my predictions on Ohio State earlier this season were far from right.  Even after Ohio State lost to Wisconsin I think they deserve the #1 ranking.  Yeah, many people want to argue for a 3 loss team in Texas but even with Texas’s RPI and Strength of Schedule Ohio State still is the best team in college basketball as of right now.  There was no argument for either Kansas or Texas before Ohio State’s loss and after losing in the Kohl Center, where Wisconsin and Bo Ryan are basically unbeatable, and there still shouldn’t be.  Make no mistake, I am not jumping on the OSU bandwagon. I hate Ohio State just as much as any non-Ohio State fan.  I was born to despise Ohio State and I always will.  But, being a college basketball fan you have to be unbiased and realistic (which some may argue I was not earlier and rightfully so).

Just a side note: I can’t wait until the Badgers at Purdue rematch tomorrow night! I was in Madison when Purdue visited the Kohl Center (I was in the student section decked out in all my Purdue gear) and it was awesome.  I was very surprised by the Boilers early second half surge to take a 9 point lead halfway through the second half.  Even though I knew a win at the Kohl Center was damn near impossible I was a little upset that my Boilers lost.  After the game I realized I snowed in for the Night and had to call up one of my buddies who knows Jordan Taylor, who I actually got to meet and had a brief conversation with.  It was awesome.  But, I look forward to my Boilermakers to reclaim some pride by defeating the Badgers in Mackey Arena tomorrow night! I look for the Boilermakers to reclaim sole position of 2nd place in the Big Ten with a victory of 8 points.

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