Where: The Schott â€“ Columbus, OH
When: 7:00pm EST
Records: OSU 20-3 (8-1); Wolverines 16-7 (4-4)
Opponent: Tommy Amakerâ€™s Michigan squad stops by the Schott sporting a three game losing streak. The first two were expected since they were road games at Wisconsin (71-58) and Indiana (76-61), however their most recent loss at home to Iowa was a game they should have won. Michigan led 34-23 at the break before surrendering 46 second half points that included a 20-1 run before falling 69-62. With a full five days off to ponder the stank of the home loss that certainly hurts their NCAA resume, the Wolverines will likely overcome Amakerâ€™s poor coaching and come out with some fire. That said, donâ€™t expect the fire to translate into a victory because they are running into an OSU machine that is gaining confidence each time out.
Players: 6â€™10â€ Courtney Sims leads the Wolverines in scoring (12.8) and rebounding (6.3) and is tied with Greg Oden at the top of the conference with a 62.9% FG percentage. The senior center had one of the best games of his up and down career with 29 points and 11 rebounds against Iowa on 9-12 FG shooting and 11-13 from the line. Senior guard Dion Harris is second on the team in scoring at 12.6 per game and looks to bounce back after missing all 11 field goal attempts in a 1 point effort against the Hawkeyes. Harris shoots a solid 82% from the stripe and leads the team in assists at 4.2 per game. Another senior, 6â€™6â€ Lester Abram, throws in 9.6 points with 4.2 rebounds and shoots 81% from the line. Other contributors include the extremely athletic, if offensively challenged, Brent Petway and 6â€™6â€ junior forward Ron Coleman. Petway produces some highlight reel dunks but struggles to consistently create his own shot and comes in averaging 6.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Coleman, a junior forward, averages 7.4 points and 3.5 rebounds. Michigan plays a lot of juniors and seniors with significant experience but they simply donâ€™t have the talent to match up with Ohio State.
Notes: UM is 3rd in the conference in FT% at 72% but they're last in three pointers made with 114 on 33.7% shootingâ€¦Amaker is 103-77 in his 6th year at Michigan.
Buckeye Breakdown: OSU looks to extend their current seven game winning streak after winning back to road games last week including Saturdayâ€™s 63-54 victory over Michigan State. The Buckeyes went on a 13-5 run midway through the second half and led by at least three points the rest of the way before scoring the last six points of the game to produce the nine point margin. Four players reached double figures and OSU grabbed 16 offensive rebounds in the balanced team effort.
Key Players: The offense appears to have finally adapted to having Oden (15.3 ppg, 9.6 reb, 3.5 blk) in the post and Jamar Butler (8.6 ppg, 3.8 ast) has established himself by reaching double figures in the last three games while Mike Conley (9.7 ppg, 6.4 ast) continues to play beyond his years running the point. Against Michigan, itâ€™s important that Ron Lewis build off his 11 point performance against MSU and for Daequan Cook to recover from a 17 minute, 5 point effort. Coach Matta has been unhappy with Cookâ€™s mental lapses on defense and with shot selection which costs him minutes, especially on the road. Cook averages 22.1 minutes per game on the season but is averaging just 18 minutes in his last four road contests. Hopefully, the friendly confines of the Schott will help get Daequan back on a track.
Notes: The best analyst in the biz (Steve Lavin) and the hottest sideline reporter to ever draw a breath (Erin Andrews) will join Brent â€œThe Fossilâ€ Musburger on the ESPN telecast as part of Rivalry Weekâ€¦Matta is the only OSU coach to win at least 20 games his first three seasonsâ€¦Conley is 4th nationally in assistsâ€¦OSU has won the last 3 meetings against Michigan...OSU moved up to #3 in both polls.