Ohio State men’s basketball continues its surprising run in the 2023 Big Ten tournament on Friday when it takes on Michigan State in the quarterfinals. Tipoff is set for approximately 2:30 p.m. Eastern.
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The 13th-seed Buckeyes pulled off another upset on Thursday by beating Iowa, 73-69. The Spartans haven’t played since Saturday, when they beat Ohio State, 84-78.
Who: Ohio State (15-18) at Michigan State (19-11).
When: Friday, March 10, 2023.
Time: Approximately 2:30 p.m. Eastern.
Where: United Center, Chicago (20,917).
TV: Big Ten Network.
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Latest line: Michigan State -4.5.
Find out how to watch the entire Big Ten tournament.
Read some of what Stephen Means of cleveland.com wrote about the Buckeyes hoping they can use this year’s tournament run as a springboard for next season.
The Ohio State basketball team has won four of its last five games, including upset wins over Wisconsin and Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament to find itself three wins away from an automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
Now it’ll face Michigan State Friday afternoon with a trip to the semifinals on the line.
That is not a concept that anyone would have conceived even remotely possible two weeks ago when it walked off the field following a 75-71 loss to Penn State to extend its second losing streak of the season to nine. It’s a sudden turnaround that could mean everything or nothing in how to think about this season depending on how the next three days go, though actually pulling this off is easier said than done.
The only thing that’s certain about what’s happened the past 14 days is that the Buckeyes are providing a reason for a fan base to have hope in a program that’s hit rock bottom. It’s not just about the fact that they’re finally winning games and playing quality basketball, but about who are the reasons why that’s happening.
It starts with a group of freshmen that have finally started to figure it out even if it’s a lot later than most thought they would. Bruce Thornton’s first 12 games as a Buckeye built a solid foundation to build off of averaging 10.8 points on 50.5% shooting and 47.2% from 3-point range. Then came the freshman wall at the beginning of the new calendar year. He followed up by averaging 5.4 points on 27.1% shooting and 25.9% from 3-point range over his next 10 games, reaching double figures just once. It took a 22-point outing against Michigan to snap him out of that funk and he’s since averaged 14.4 points on 54.8% shooting and 37.2% from 3 over the last 10 games including three games with at least 20 points.
Thornton’s emergence mixed with Brice Sensabaugh’s steadiness this team’s leading scorer (16.3 points per game) has helped this team starts heading toward its promising season. Chris Holtmann’s decision to completely lean into the future by also starting Roddy Gayle Jr. and Felix Okpara has allowed those two to start flashing their upside as well.
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