Ohio State Tops Michigan State, Purdue Awaits In Big Ten Championship

jonathan staubCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2009

"I'm trying to decide, am I more disappointed with us or more impressed with the way they shot the ball?" Michigan State coach, Tom Izzo said. "The better team won today. It's disappointing, because I don't think we gave it our best shot."


Ohio State reached the finals of the Big Ten Tournament for the second time in three years after defeating Michigan State 82-70.


The win ended Michigan State’s six games winning streak and ended any hope the Spartans had of earning a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan State has struggled in the Big Ten Tourney, losing four of their last seven games.


Ohio State, on the other hand, has won five of their last six Big Ten Tournament games.


This win all but punches a ticket to the “Big Dance” for the Buckeyes. If there was any doubt about whether or not they should be in, they answered those questions with a decisive win over the Spartans.


Michigan State will most likely receive a two seed come tourney time and the Buckeyes can drastically improve their seeding by defeating Purdue on Sunday for the Big Ten Title. They would most likely go from an eight or nine to a five or six with a win.


"Yeah, we watch TV, and we've heard people talking about Michigan State getting a No. 1 seed. We were like, 'Not on our watch, not on our watch’," Buckeye guard P.J. Hill said.


The Buckeyes had lost to the Spartans twice on the season already. They were not about to allow Michigan State walk all over them again on their way to a number one seed.


"I've said all along, we don't even deserve a No. 1 seed. Now we've made it easy on them," Coach Izzo said.


In a year where there are as many as six or seven deserving teams fighting for a No. 1 seed, Michigan State eliminated themselves from consideration with this loss.


Ohio State (22-9, 10-8) used their versatility, and hot shooting, to overpower the Spartans for most of the night.


The Ohio State shot 56.3 percent (9-16) from behind the arc.


Michigan State, on the other hand, shot 14.3 percent (3-21). OSU went 25-47 (53.2 percent) from the field. MSU was sub-par again going 27-71 (38 percent) on the night.


The only place Michigan State shot well was the free throw line, going 13-18. Ohio State was no slouch either, hitting 23 of 29 attempts.


Evan Turner will lead the Buckeyes against the Boilermakers in the championship game. Turner led the Buckeyes in points (18), rebounds (10), assists (5), steals (1) and blocks (2) against the Spartans.


Another performance like this will surely earn him MVP honors of the conference tourney.


This time Turner hopes to score in the first half. Turner did all of his scoring in the second half, as the Buckeyes never relinquished their lead. The closest Michigan State got was six points.


"At the beginning of the game they were focused on me a lot, Michigan State was," Turner said. "As my teammates made more shots, then we were an all-around offensive threat just as a team, and it just made things way easier for me."


Despite Turner’s futility in the first half, the Buckeyes held Michigan State to two field goals over a seven and a half minute span. If the Buckeyes bring this kind of offensive scoring, coupled with a lock-down defense, Purdue will certainly have their hands full.


Ohio State has three players averaging in double figures, and they will need all of them to show against a well-rounded Purdue team.


Ohio State split the season series with Purdue.


A Big Ten Title would make this season a huge success for the Buckeyes.


Expect them to come out on fire.