Michigan State’s home finale looks much more difficult than it did a week ago.

The Spartans will host Ohio State on Saturday afternoon in East Lansing, Mich. The Buckeyes are second-to-last in the Big Ten standings but have won their last two games.

Michigan State (18-11, 10-8 Big Ten) is coming off an 80-76 victory at Nebraska on Tuesday. The Spartans rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit.

“We just had to refocus as a group and know what we want,” guard A.J. Hoggard said. “It’s that time of year. We’ve got one more regular-season game, so it’s tournament time now. We’ve got to refocus as a team and complete our goals and know what it takes to get there. We put that all out to the forefront, came out here, started off rocky and just responded.”

Michigan State regained some confidence after squandering an 11-point lead to Iowa in the final minute of regulation, then losing 112-106 in overtime.

“It’s our biggest comeback victory,” Hoggard said. “We’ve come back in some games this year but didn’t close them out. So, to come back and close out and win by double digits after being down double digits is huge and definitely a good momentum swing going into tournament time and this last home game.”

The Spartans seem assured of an NCAA Tournament bid, no matter what happens on Saturday or the conference tournament. Ohio State (13-17, 5-14) would need to win the conference tournament to qualify, but it has shown some fight the last two games. It defeated Illinois 72-60 on Sunday and Maryland 73-62 on Wednesday.

The Buckeyes had six players finish in double figures against the Terrapins. Ohio State, which made all 20 of its free throw attempts, led virtually the entire game.

“For the last maybe week and a half, two weeks, I do feel like we’ve played better, so maybe across the board our confidence is higher as a group,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “I just thought they had a look in their eye.”

The Spartans won in Columbus 62-41 on Feb. 12 behind Joey Hauser’s 22 points.

–Field Level Media