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Before Ohio State faces Michigan State on the basketball court, they’ll meet on the ice

Plus, there is LOTS of Buckeye news today out of the NFL.

Kirk Irwin

“The Spartans resume Big Ten play by hosting No. 8 Ohio State on Friday and Saturday at Munn Ice Arena ... MSU has 14 games remaining on the schedule, all of which are against conference opponents.”

- Michigan State Spartans

The Ohio State men’s basketball team will be facing a No. 1 ranked Michigan State team on the court on Sunday, but in the days leading up to the competition, the Buckeye men’s hockey team will try their hand at besting the Spartans on the ice.

The Buckeyes have been climbing up the rankings, as they’ve turned out to be much better this season than expected. The Spartans haven’t quite bounced back as strongly in 2017, but they do feature some of the best young talent in the country — setting them up for seasons to come — including Mitchell Lewandowski, Taro Hirose, and Patrick Khodorenko. Of the three, Lewandowski is a freshman, and the other two are sophomores.

Lewandowski leads all freshman nationally in points (23), goals (10) — good for third in the entire Big Ten conference —, and game-winning goals (3). Just behind him, second-year player Hirose ranks No. 5 in the conference in points (24), and also claimed No. 3 (Big Ten) and No. 4 (nationally) in assists, with 17.

Likewise, Khoderenko is on a three-game scoring streak, ranking second on the team with nine goals (a career high), good for No. 5 in the Big Ten and No. 3 among the Spartans.

It’ll be tough back-to-back matches between a conference opponent which Buckeye fans are all too familiar.

“It went fine. We talked,” Gettleman said, via Steve Serby of the New York Post. “He was very attentive. He was focused. He couldn’t be at Monday’s team meeting, so I went through the points that I made to the team with him. … Time will tell. I told him he’s got a clean slate for me. Let’s move forward, let’s see what happens.”

- Josh Alper, ProFootballTalk

It has been a tough season (and year) for second-year NFL cornerback Eli Apple. Part of the historic 2016 draft class out of Ohio State, Apple had a decent rookie season before being almost a weekly feature among the drama-filled headlines coming out of the New York Giants organization throughout 2017.

From firing their head coach, to sitting one of the league’s most tenured QBs, the Giants have been a mess this year — as evidenced by their 3-13 record. Making matters worse, Apple was among a position group that seemingly had the most drama of anyone on the drama-filled team. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was suspended after fighting with head coach Ben McAdoo, Janoris Jenkins was suspended for violating team rules, and Apple was likewise suspended for Week 17 for conduct detrimental to the team.

It’s not like the Giants have been the pillar of stability this year, but still, Apple’s off-field issues have probably seeped into his practice and work habits a bit, which would manifest (in a bad way) on Sundays. His Mom underwent a divorce and brain surgery in a year for Eli Apple that was filled with distractions on and off the field.

Now that the Giants have started making personnel changes to the coaching staff, the team also hired on a new General Manager, Dave Gettleman — former GM for the Carolina Panthers. Gettleman addressed the team earlier in the week to introduce himself and explain what kind of organization he was trying to rebuild. Despite Apple not being able to attend the team meeting, Gettleman still was able to get some face time with the former Buckeye, and has decided to give Apple a clean slate in which to build on in the offseason.

As of now — despite a lot of speculation -- it appears that Eli Apple will still be with the New York Giants for the 2018 season.

“Shazier now has feeling in his legs again, according to his father as reported WPXI on Jan. 4, 2018. His father added that Shazier was making progress in his recovery, but would not offer an answer when asked if the Steelers linebacker was walking yet.”

- Adam Stites, SB Nation

A serious shadow was cast over the 2017 NFL season in Week 13, when Ryan Shazier suffered a terrible back injury early in the Bengals-Steelers rivalry game. Shazier immediately began pointing to his back as he attempted to roll over without use of his legs. Since he was carted off the field that day, there have been few updates — but the latest from his Dad is certainly encouraging.

From teammates and coaches, friends and family, everyone has understandably been closed-lipped about whether or not Shazier had feeling in his legs or was able to move them. He underwent spine stabilization surgery in the days following the injury, and has since been seen in a suite for several of the Steelers home games to close out the season.

We still might not know his exact diagnosis and prognosis, but any news is good news at this point and as long as he keeps smiling as big as he has been from the suite, he seems to be heading in the right direction.

All Ohio State Teams’ Weekend Schedule

Team Match-up When
Team Match-up When
Fencing @ Junior NAC (Virginia Beach) Friday, All Day
Men's Swimming @ Kentucky Friday, All Day
Women's Swimming @ Kentucky Friday, All Day
Men's Track & Field Buckeye Classic Friday, All Day
Women's Track & Field Buckeye Classic Friday, All Day
Women's Ice Hockey Penn State Friday, 6:07 pm
Wrestling @ Maryland Friday, 7 pm
Fencing @ Junior NAC (Virginia Beach) Saturday, All Day
Men's Swimming @ Kentucky Saturday, All Day
Women's Swimming @ Kentucky Saturday, All Day
Men's Gymnastics Alumni Exhibition Saturday, 2 pm
Women's Ice Hockey Penn State Saturday, 3:07 pm
Men's Volleyball North Greenville Saturday, 7 pm
Men's Ice Hockey @ Michigan State Saturday, 7:05 pm
Women's Gymnastics @ UCLA Saturday, 9 pm
Fencing @ Junior NAC (Virginia Beach) Sunday, All Day
Women's Basketball @ Michigan Sunday, 12 pm
Wrestling @ Rutgers Sunday, 12 pm
Men's Basketball Michigan State Sunday, 4:30 pm