After a tough loss on the road at Indiana on Saturday night, redemption is on the line tonight at the Crisler Center.
Is there a better way to right the ship than at home against your biggest rival?
The #3 Michigan Wolverines (20-2, 7-2 B1G) come home to face the hated #10 Ohio State Buckeyes (17-4, 7-2) in another nationally televised primetime showdown. The last time these two teams met in Columbus, it definitely did not go the way of the Wolverines.
In that game, Michigan went down by as much as 21 points in the first half. OSU’s perimeter defense, namely Aaron Craft, was able to stymie the Wolverines early on. It caused them to take bad shots and have little patience on that end of the floor.
Although it’s been a small sample size with only two losses on the year, it seems as if the blueprint to shutting the Wolverines down is keeping their freshman in check. In their two losses, Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III had subpar games. Stauskas was held scoreless in their last matchup against the Buckeyes. Those guys need to step it up in order for this team to take it to that next level.
Aaron Craft will give Trey Burke fits all night, so decision making and turnovers will be another key to this game. He is going to have to be a pass-first guy. Tim Hardaway Jr. has been a calming force for the offense at times this year, and will have to be a steady presence tonight.
There is not much to fear offensively for the Buckeyes outside of Deshaun Thomas. In fact, they were so hot to start off that first game and Michigan was playing so poorly that they should have been able to deliver the knockout blow. From OSU’s point of view, that never should have been as close as it was. If they keep Thomas down, it will be a much easier road for Michigan.
The home court advantage is going to be a big deal for the Wolverines tonight. Expect the intensity to be high at the Crisler Center. No matter the records, these two teams always bring out the best in each other. The fact that they are both near the top of the standings raises the stakes even higher.
The game tips off at 9pm on ESPN.
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