There's 2014 NCAA basketball live stream and televised games on the schedule for the night of Tuesday, Jan. 4 including two top five teams in action against one another. The Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Michigan State Spartans in a battle of No. 3 versus No. 5 teams hailing from the Big Ten conference. The latest televised and live stream NCAA basketball will arrive for fans on Tuesday night thanks to the ESPN sports networks.
A report from the ESPN.com site on Jan. 7 notes that tonight's game will feature the undefeated Ohio State team at 15-0 and 2-0 in the Big Ten as they visit Jack Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing, Michigan. They'll be playing the No. 5 Michigan State Spartans, a team playing its second top-five matchup of the season. The previous game was about two months ago, when Michigan State took down then-No.1 Kentucky. Michigan State eventually reached the No.1 spot themselves, until they were upset by the North Carolina Tarheels at home.
Meanwhile, Ohio State has played and defeated just one ranked squad so far, former-No.17 team Marquette 52-35 on the road back in November. Now two of the top Big Ten teams meet up in East Lansing, with their 2-0 conference records and a game which will provide an early season measuring stick. It's quite possible one or both of these schools will be among the Final Four later in March Madness 2014.
Tonight's game will feature two star point guards facing off, with MSU's Keith Appling against OSU's Aaron Craft. Spartans coach Tom Izzo said of the matchup and Appling's tendency to want to outplay his individual opponent, rather than focus on the team game:
"Sometimes Keith will do that. It gets to be where those two get talked about and that's not good for Keith. He's got to just play his game. They're two different kinds of players, both very good defensively. But Keith can do some other things -- scoring the ball -- that I think Craft can't do. And Craft can do some things that Keith doesn't do as well."
Heading into the matchup, Craft is leading the Buckeyes in both steals (2.5 per game) and assists (4.9 per game), while scoring just under 10 points a contest. His opponent, Appling leads the nation's top assist team right now with 4.6 per game in addition to his 15.6 points a game. Surprisingly, Appling is third in scoring, behind leader Gary Harris (18.2ppg) and Adreian Payne (16.1ppg). The Spartans currently are 23rd in the nation in scoring, averaging 82.6 points per game.
The Buckeyes aren't anywhere near the top 30 in any of those categories mentioned, ranking 107th in points per game, and 145th in assists per game. They're also 63rd in field goal percentage, as they hit about 47% of their shots. LaQuinton Ross is leading the team in scoring with just 13.6 points a game, while Lenzelle Smith Jr. is right behind him, averaging 12.7 a game. So far, only Notre Dame has come close to competing with Ohio State in a game, but it is looking like they could have their hands full at Michigan State tonight.
Odds makers have the Spartans as the clear favorites tonight. MSU first opened as 5 1/2-point favorites, with the line remaining around there at various sports books. Tonight's over/under points total is set at 132 1/2 at various books, after initally opening at 129 points. There's no significant injuries of note for either team as of this report.
Tuesday night's Ohio State vs. Michigan State game has a scheduled start time of 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. ESPN will present the standard and hi-definition television coverage for cable or satellite TV viewers. In addition, this game is available live streaming online through WatchESPN, the ESPN broadband sports network. This free streaming service is available for parts of the country via specific cable or satellite companies who make the network available to their customers as a courtesy. See more info here on how to watch online through the WatchESPN site.