Big Ten Title Game Preview: Michigan State vs. Ohio State

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It’s kind of wild when you think about it, but the No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament look like they are going to come down to the last day of the season.

At least that’s how it looks in the Big Ten.

Ohio State and Michigan State shared the regular season title (with Michigan) in the nation’s best conference. Combine that with a win in the Big Ten Tournament and, regardless of who actually wins, it looks like the Big Ten will be getting at least one No. 1 seed.

Kentucky and Syracuse are getting No. 1 seeds. If UNC wins the ACC Tournament they are getting one as well. That leaves Kansas, Missouri and the Big Ten teams. Call it a hunch, but I think that a share of the regular season title and the tournament title will be enough.

Perhaps the most interesting part about this title game is that Michigan State, despite losing starting small forward Branden Dawson, may actually be playing their best basketball of the season. They thoroughly dominated a scrappy Iowa team and then ran through Wisconsin, leading by close to 20 for much of the second half. It hasn’t been just one player picking up the slack, either. Adreian Payne had 16 points against Iowa. Austin Thornton hit three straight threes to spark a game-changing run for the Spartans against Wisconsin.

Losing Dawson hurts, but with the rest of the roster stepping up, the Spartans have yet to miss a beat.

The scary part is that Ohio State may actually be playing better basketball than the Spartans right now. The Buckeyes routed Purdue on Friday and followed that up with a never-was-even-close win over Michigan on Saturday. As you would probably expect, Jared Sullinger is playing as well as he has all season long. Deshaun Thomas had 22 points in both games as well, but Ohio State’s x-factor William Buford has still yet to find the rhythm.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention that, just one short week ago, Ohio State went into Michigan State and knocked off the Spartans which cost MSU the outright Big Ten title. So while the issue for us may be the No. 1 seed, I can guarantee that the Spartans are out for revenge.

They already had the Buckeyes cost them one conference title. I’m pretty sure they don’t want to allow them to take another one.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.