Michigan State's Adreian Payne and Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas had big games against each other during the regular season, and both are fresh off of solid performances to help their teams advance to the Big Ten semifinals.
The Michigan St. Spartans and Ohio St. Buckeyes square off in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals on Saturday, marking the third time the perennial powers have met this season.
Michigan State outlasted Ohio State, 59-56, on Jan. 19 in East Lansing, Mich., despite being unable to corral Deshaun Thomas, who scored 28 points. Thomas was kept in check when the teams met in Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 24, but Aaron Craft broke out for 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting to lead the Buckeyes to a 68-60 win.
The Buckeyes had a bit of trouble with 6'10 Spartans forward Adreian Payne, who followed up a 14-point effort in the first game with 12 points and 15 rebounds in the rematch.
On Friday, Michigan State found themselves down big early against the Iowa Hawkeyes before rallying for a 59-56 victory. Payne led the Spartans with 18 points and 10 rebounds. One game earlier, Ohio State easily dispatched of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 71-50. Thomas had 19 points and 9 rebounds.
The winner will advance to the Big Ten Championship game and face either the Indiana Hoosiers or Wisconsin Badgers.
Game time, TV: 4 p.m. ET, CBS
Location: United Center, Chicago, Ill.
More: Additional coverage on Michigan State can be found at The Only Colors, while further Ohio State news and analysis is available at Land-Grant Holy Land.
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• Full coverage of the ACC tournament
• Full coverage of the Big East tournament
• Full coverage of the Big Ten tournament