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Andy Katz | Correspondent | January 7, 2018

Spartans look to keep rolling against Ohio St.

  Michigan State looks to win its 15th straight game when it visits Ohio State Sunday afternoon.

Here's what you need to know for Sunday, Jan. 7:

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Game of the day

Michigan State at Ohio State, 4:30 p.m. ET, CBSThe Spartans are playing the best basketball of the season. They are the No. 1 team, and they are only going to get better. But this is a Big Ten road game. And as we’ve seen lately, the elites are prone to getting beat on the road. Ohio State doesn’t have the depth, but the Buckeyes do have the pieces to cause some problems for the Spartans. This would be a huge win for the Buckeyes’ NCAA tournament quest.

Most intriguing game

Florida State at Miami, 6 p.m. ET, ESPNUThe Seminoles and ‘Canes are two of the potential contenders for the ACC title. This race has multiple candidates and both teams have had their moments where they’ve looked like they could contend. These two teams are known for defense. But they have had moments where they have not stayed true to their principles (see Florida State giving up 100 to Duke and Miami unable to contain New Mexico State in Honolulu). This could turn into being a decisive road win for the Seminoles if they can get it and would complete quite a week after knocking off North Carolina. Miami is hoping to hold serve.

A blossoming rivalry

SMU at Cincinnati, 6 p.m., ET, ESPN2This has turned into one of the better series in the American since its inception. These two teams play intense, gritty ball. But this Bearcats team has more finesse this season under Mick Cronin. The Mustangs lost at upstart Tulane by three and are trying to avoid getting swept on the road. The Bearcats are trying to stay close to Wichita State in the race to the top of the AAC.

The gift

Arizona State at Utah, 8 p.m., ET, ESPNUThe Sun Devils got a second chance to keep pace with Arizona after the Wildcats lost at Colorado Saturday. Had Arizona won then the pressure would have been on big-time on the Sun Devils. Lose, and ASU could have fallen three games behind Arizona. Now, even if Utah wins, ASU would remain two games behind the Wildcats in the standings. That’s doable. Being down three would be a tall task with only one remaining game against Arizona. Win and ASU is right back in the race. Oh, and ASU could use its first Pac-12 win after a sensational start to the season. Being 0-3 on the road in the Pac-12 would be the first real obstacle this team has faced on the season.

Gut check game

Iowa at Maryland, 8 p.m., ET, FS1The Terrapins got hammered at Michigan State by 30. Yes, Maryland is thin on numbers, but the Terps aren’t that far behind Michigan State. Here comes Big Ten winless Iowa (0-4). Maryland (2-2 in the Big Ten) cannot afford to drop another home game after losing in December to Purdue. Maryland will have a long road to make the NCAA tournament, but what they haven’t done yet is lose games to teams projected below them. They still need to beat teams ahead of them.

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