On Saturday, the No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes will head to East Lansing to take on the No. 18 Michigan State Spartans in what should easily be one of the best games of the day.
But that's nothing new for the Big Ten this season.
As it stands now, six teams from the conference are ranked in the Top 25, and that's not even counting Wisconsin, which is atop the loaded group.
As a result, we are guaranteed a marquee matchup like this one at least on a tri-weekly basis.
Now that you're undoubtedly pumped, let's take a closer look at what guarantees to be a patented battle between Tom Izzo and Thad Matta.
When: Saturday, Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. ET
Where: Jack Breslin Student Events Center, East Lansing, MI
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Ohio State Injury Report (via USA Today)
None to report
Michigan State Injury Report (via USA Today)
F Kenny Kaminski, Shoulder, Out
What They're Saying
Alex Bozich of InsideTheHall.com notes how the Buckeyes could use a consistent second option on offense behind Deshaun Thomas:
Ohio State is tough to watch offensively. It's Deshaun Thomas or bust for the Buckeyes.— Alex Bozich (@insidethehall) January 13, 2013
Thomas is averaging 20.3 points per game and can drop 30 on any given night he gets hot from the outside, but who will step up for the Buckeyes when the talented junior isn't getting free?
Lenzelle Smith Jr., LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson all have the talent to be that No. 2 option, but someone has to do it on a nightly basis, and that's simply not happening right now.
Michigan State, meanwhile, isn't exactly oozing with scoring options, either. In fact, CBS Sports' Seth Davis believes there's something wrong with Keith Appling:
I think playing PG has messed him up RT @gladdyontherise: Can you find Keith Appling's jump shot? It's gone missing.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) January 15, 2013
Appling is shooting 32 percent from deep on the season, which is actually an increase from last year, but according to Hoop-Math, he's also shooting an atrocious 34 percent on two-point jumpers, which is one of the worst marks on the team.
Moreover, the junior is shooting a frugal 10 percent from long range in Big Ten play.
Appling is quick and can get to the hole, but he's going to have to locate that jumper sometime soon.
Ohio State Player to Watch: Lenzelle Smith Jr.
Once again, this comes back to Ohio State needing a second scorer behind Deshaun Thomas.
LaQuinton Ross is suddenly getting very comfortable on the bench, Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott excel more as defenders and distributors and Sam Thompson is a one-man highlight reel, but not necessarily a consistent scorer.
That leaves Smith.
The 6'4" junior can be a lights-out shooter, whether it be from mid-range or deep, but he has seen his shot go cold over the last two weeks.
On Saturday, it will be crucial for the Buckeyes that he get it going from the outside to give Thomas some help.
Michigan State Player to Watch: Gary Harris
There are a lot of freshman across the country getting some deserved attention, but for whatever reason, Harris has seemingly flown under the radar.
The best way to describe the 6'4" wing's game is smooth.
He looks comfortable in transition, can finish at the basket and has a pretty jump shot that has constantly been improving.
On the season, the impressive athlete is averaging 12.9 points per game on 45.4 percent shooting, but his 18.3 points per 40 minutes leads the team while his 59.0 true-shooting percentage leads all Spartan guards.
Moreover, in Big Ten play, Harris is averaging 14.2 points per game on 52 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
If the Spartans are going to win this game, the youngster is going to have to carry them on offense against an incredibly stout Ohio State defense.
Key Matchup to Watch: Aaron Craft vs. Keith Appling
It's pretty obvious what Aaron Craft brings to the table, and I'm not talking about rosy red cheeks.
The man is a defender.
He's ferocious. He gets up into you. He's a pest. He has quick feet and even faster hands. He racks up a lot of steals (1.8 per game), but he forces a lot more turnovers with his dogged pressure.
That was obvious last weekend when he forced Michigan point guard Trey Burke, who has a ridiculous 3.8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, into four turnovers and just four assists.
Appling, who is averaging 4.5 assists and 2.3 turnovers per game, is likely in for a long night.
Both of these teams can clearly defend.
The Buckeyes are 11th in the nation in points per possession allowed while the Spartans are 23rd.
But while Michigan State has more offensive weapons and a clear advantage down low with Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne, they haven't been all that impressive in Big Ten play.
They have four straight wins, yes, but the Spartans are ranked just fifth in offensive efficiency and sixth in defensive efficiency against mostly the bottom portion of the league.
Look for Ohio State to build off its win against Michigan to earn a hard-fought, defensively-charged win.
That being said, if the Spartans can quicken the pace and get Appling, Harris and Branden Dawson in transition, where they can be deadly, they will prove me very wrong.
Ohio State 63, Michigan State 60