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It's always fun when Aaron Craft and Keith Appling link up.
The Spartans and Buckeyes will play in the 2013 Big Ten Football Championship Game this weekend. A bout between the basketball teams on March 9 in Columbus, Ohio, could go a long way toward determining the seeding in the 2013 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament.
Ohio State is ranked No. 5 in hoops and may be the best team in the country. Michigan State would probably have something to say about that.
The stage is now set.
Thad Matta has the senior leadership of Aaron Craft as an advantage. Players like Craft don't come along very often, and college basketball followers should applaud his display of loyalty. He's in for the long haul and has dedicated four years to Buckeyes basketball.
Izzo has athletes who also epitomize the college game: Adreian Payne and Keith Appling are just two examples of the four-year players suiting up in East Lansing. Put them up against Craft, and there will be 12 years of combined Big Ten experience rubbing elbows on the court at Value City Arena.
Those three are certainly worthy of mention as some of the top Big Ten ballers in recent memory.
By definition, a conference road clash with an equal or better team isn't a "trap game," but March 9 could be the day that the Big Ten is won. It's important for the Spartans and Buckeyes to treat that match accordingly.
Spectators will get two of the best in college basketball when Izzo and his bunch take on Matta and the Buckeyes.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan State Spartans basketball writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81