Looking to shake off road struggles, MSU heads to Columbus to take on Buckeyes

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The No. 23 Michigan State Spartans (12-3, 2-2 Big Ten) head to Value City Arena this evening to take on an Ohio State team (5-8, 1-3 Big Ten) that has not shown the same level of play that head coach Kevin McGuff is used to.

Ohio State finished 25-6 last season and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. McGuff has won more than 20 games in four out of five seasons thus far at the helm in Columbus as well, with two sweet 16 appearances to add.

So to say that his team is not living up to its prior history is a little unfair but also warranted, the Buckeyes have had an extremely tough schedule and drew national powerhouse University of Connecticut early in the year. Then, OSU went and defeated an Indiana team at home that is 15-2 with a win over, you guessed it, Michigan State. So the Buckeyes could be turning a new leaf as the Spartans come to town.

Michigan State has been an entirely different team at home than on the road and it has shown not just by its play but in the standings as well, as MSU dropped two straight conference games on the road to Indiana (by four) and Northwestern (by eight). The Spartans are averaging nearly 88 points a game at the Breslin Center, compared to just 75.1 points per game when playing away from East Lansing.

Those numbers back up the case that this team considers itself lucky to draw teams like Oregon, Iowa, Minnesota and Maryland at home. And with the team now 2-2 in the Big Ten conference, several games back from Rutgers, who is 4-0, the Spartans find themselves in a deep hole after lofty expectations were placed on them after a double-digit win over Iowa.

Ohio State is looking to build off a big win over a ranked opponent and find come consistency for a team that dropped a head-scratcher to Nebraska at home, a game the Buckeyes are accustomed to winning in recent seasons.

The Buckeyes are led by the tandem of forward Dorka Juhasz, who is avering 12.1 points and eight rebounds, and guard Carmen Grande, who had 19 points in the win over IU.

Michigan State is led by senior Jenna Allen, who has changed the tone of the team’s play this season. Allen is averaging a team-high 15.7 points per contest and is leading the team in rebounds with 7.9 per game.

Guard Shay Colley returned from Injury against Iowa after suffering a lower leg injury against Kennesaw State. The junior guard had 28 points in the loss to Northwestern and is looking to keep her strong play going against OSU.

Ohio State is 4-2 at home, with its two losses coming to Nebraska and South Florida. The Spartans are 2-2 away from East Lansing and hope to climb back into the conference title race with a quality road win.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and can be found on Big Ten Network.