PREVIEW: #9/9 Ohio State vs. #24/22 Michigan State

Dec. 29, 2015


#
9/9 Ohio State vs. #24/22 Michigan State

Date: December 31, 2015 | Time: 12:00 p.m. | Venue: Value City Arena | Location: Columbus, Ohio

TV: BTN

Radio: 1460 AM

Online Coverage: Game Notes | Watch Live | Live Stats | Twitter Updates |

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Buckeyes open B1G action this Thursday when they take on No. 24/22 Michigan State.
  • Tip-off is set for Noon from Value City Arena. 
  • Ohio State won its last four non-conference games, including a pair of 20-point victories over Princeton and Virginia, and come into the game at 8-3 overall. The Buckeyes are ranked No. 9 in the latest AP poll.
  • Michigan State is also riding a winning-streak, having won its last five contests and is 9-3 on the season. The Spartans are ranked No. 24 in the AP poll and No. 22 in coaches poll.
  • The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Lisa Byington and Stephanie White will have the call.
  • The game can also be heard on ESPN 1460 AM in the Columbus area and on www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com. 

NOTING THE BUCKEYES
  • The Buckeyes are second in the conference and fifth in the country in scoring at 85.2 ppg.
  • Ohio State has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in seven of the last eight games.
  • Behind Alexa Hart and Lisa Blair, the Buckeyes lead the conference in blocked shots per game (5.6).
  • Senior Ameryst Alston and sophomore Kelsey Mitchell were each named to the preseason Wooden and Naismith Award Watch Lists.
  • Mitchell and Alston are one of the top-scoring duos in the country, averaging a combined 43.7 points per game. Coming into the week, they are the highest-scoring tandem in the country.
  • When Mitchell and Alston each score 20 points in a game, the Buckeyes are 16-3, including 6-1 this season. 
  • Alston is eighth in school-history in career scoring with 1,773 points. 
  • The Buckeyes have faced four top-10 teams already this season, including teams 1, 2 and 3.
MICHIGAN STATE SNAPSHOT
  • The Spartans finished non-conference action with a record of 9-2. Their only losses came against No. 4 Baylor in the Bahamas and then to Louisville in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
  • MSU is riding a five-game winning streak.
  • Guard Tori Jankoska and do-everything forward Aerial Powers are both averaging more than 17 points per game.
  • Jankoska has made a team-high 30 three-pointers and has dished-out 44 assists.
  • Powers, who is an All-American candidate, leads the team in rebounding at 7.6 per game and has 29 assists.
  • Branndais Agee is the third Spartan averaging in double figures at 11.2 ppg.
  • Michigan State is one of the better rebounding teams in the conference, averaging 15.4 more rebounds than its opponents. 

SERIES HISTORY VS. MICHIGAN STATE
  • Thursday’s game will be the 78th meeting all-time between Michigan State and Ohio State.
  • The Buckeyes lead the all-time series with the Spartans 52-25.
  • Ohio State dominated the series early but since the 2007 season, the teams have been even with OSU holding a slight 8-6 advantage.
  • The Buckeyes have a 21-11 edge in games played in Columbus and a 20-11 lead in games in East Lansing.
  • The teams played three times in 2011 with the Buckeyes winning all three games over ranked MSU teams.
  • After the Spartans swept the season series in 2013-14, the Buckeyes won the only meeting last year 76-62 in Columbus.

MCGUFF VS. MICHIGAN STATE
  • Head coach Kevin McGuff is 2-3 lifetime against the Spartans.
  • He split a home-and-home series with Michigan State in 2008 and 2009 when he coached at Xavier. Each team held serve on its home floor.
  • He dropped both meetings with the Spartans in his first go around with the Buckeyes but then topped MSU in the team’s only meeting last season.

LAST YEAR AGAINST MICHIGAN STATE
  • It wasn’t Ohio State’s best shooting night but the Buckeyes picked-up defensively in the second half and pulled away from Michigan State for a 76-62 victory on Feb. 2, 2015 in Columbus.
  • The Buckeyes shot just 38 percent but defensively, they held Michigan State to its second-worst shooting night of the year (29.4 percent) and turned around a one-point deficit early in the second half for its fourth-straight victory. 
  • Freshman Kelsey Mitchell finished with a game-high 31 points and six three-point field goals.
  • Junior Ameryst Alston was 0-of-6 in the first half but canned six of her 10 attempts from the floor in the second 20 minutes to finish with 19 points. She also tied a season-high with six assists.
  • Freshman Asia Doss chipped-in with five assists as the Buckeyes assisted on 20 of their 26 field goals in the game. 
  • Between Alston and Doss, the duo had 11 assists and just one turnover.
  • Inside, freshman Alexa Hart grabbed 13 rebounds to go along with eight points. She also blocked five shots, passing Jessica Davenport’s OSU freshman record of 80 blocked shots in a season.
  • For Michigan State, Aeriel Powers had another double-double as she scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. She was 5-of-11 shooting and had 17 points in the first half but was limited to just 2-of-12 in the second half.