Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Life&Culture | By Peggy Hughes

5 reasons the Buckeyes will win Big Ten in 2018

5 reasons the Buckeyes will win Big Ten in 2018

Although it won't have a chance to avenge its loss to Ohio State, this game could have seeding implications for both teams. Maybe the Buckeyes should start trusting one another to get the job done. The Buckeyes appear to be more than ready for what is to come next season. The Buckeyes certainly deserve their first-place holding in the Big Ten. I think that's the one benefit that they have.

The game plan was clear for Michigan State on Saturday afternoon when it took on Purdue - don't let the Boilermakers' shooters win the game.

One of the few people who isn't very surprised about all of this is Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. The team has really bought into Holtmann's system, and you can see an energy and hustle among the players that just hadn't been there in years past. Bridges is scoring 17 points per game.

Bates-Diop, a multi-talented 6-foot-7 junior, missed last season with a foot injury but has blossomed this season.

Michigan State trailed for the first 31 minutes of the game, before Bridges dribbled to his right and hit a pullup jumper with 8:58 left to give his team its first lead of the game, at 57-55. In a game that saw almost 50 combined shots from the charity stripe between the two teams, this ultimately led to their downfall.

McCaffery admitted he's not really sure there is any way to completely stop Bates-Diop because he does so many things well and can score in nearly every way imaginable.

"When you play a team twice you kind of know each other a little better", Bates-Diop said.

Purdue had won 19 games in a row before losing at home to Ohio State Wednesday night, and they have been winning in powerful fashion. Tyler Cook is leading Iowa with 15.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while Jordan Bohannon is adding 13.7 points and 5.3 assists per contest. Guard Kam Williams remains suspended and Andre Wesson again will start in his place.

The stellar sophomore hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left to lift the No. 4 Spartans over No. 3 Purdue on Saturday in a game with NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed and Big Ten title implications.

McCaffery said he has known about Holtmann's coaching ability for a long time. Averaging 20.2 points per game this season to lead the conference, Bates-Diop finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds to register his 11th double-double of the season.

"I don't think it changes the mentality or preparation", guard Sierra Calhoun said. In order to do that, they must remain focused and avoid a letdown coming off their biggest win of the season. MSU hasn't been great at taking care of the ball this year, but against Purdue, the Spartans turned the ball over just six times, which was pivotal.

Iowa didn't get the production from its back court that it did in the 96-93 loss to Michigan State.

The Buckeyes are now ranked 22nd nationally with a 3-1 record to open the 2018 season, but they are coming off their best season in program history previous year.

"Hopefully we'll be ready to go", Painter said.

"We had some defensive lapses in the first half, and they took advantage of that", Holtmann said.

Expect Wesson to be back in the starting lineup on Saturday with Iowa's size and rebounding ability - the Hawkeyes are No. 40 in the country, and lead the Big Ten in conference play, in offensive rebounding percentage.

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