|Ohio State 13-5, 3-4 Big Ten Roster | Schedule||January 28, 2009 6:30 PM ET - BTn —— The Schott Columbus, OH||Michigan 14-6, 4-4 Big Ten Roster | Schedule|
With the whacky B10 schedule, the Buckeyes and Wolverines face off for the second time in four games tonight in Columbus. While it is Michigan, something tells me the local weather and early start time won't bode well for any home court advantage.
This battle is for sixth place in the conference and the winner will be closer to a potential tourney berth, as both teams already have quality wins on their resume.
Each team has struggled in the last couple of weeks, with Michigan losing 3 of 4, including the first meeting 65-58, while Ohio State has lost 2 straight to ranked opponents.
|2||Jeremie Simmons||7.3||1.8||3.1||G||44||Kelvin Grady||5.8||1.9||2.4|
|33||Jon Diebler||10.6||3.3||2.6||G||0||Zack Novak||6.7||3.3||1.4|
|21||Evan Turner||15.4||7.1||3.0||F||31||Laval Lucas-Perry||9.5||2.1||1.6|
|44||William Buford||10.8||3.5||1.0||F||44||Manny Harris||17.6||7.6||4.6|
|52||Dallas Lauderdale||5.8||4.4||0.3||C||34||DeShawn Sims||15.8||8.0||0.7|
Michigan faces an uphill battle the remainder of this season, playing 7 of their last 11 on the road, including games at Purdue, UConn, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Wolverines come in scoring 63 points a game in conference play and sit next to last in FG percentage at 39.9, just ahead of Indiana.
In typical Beilein fashion, Michigan has chucked up more threes than any other team in conference play, hitting 69 of 225, which equates to a 30.7 percent clip or 10th in the league. Unfortunately for UM, they also rank 10th in 3PT defense at 38 percent. In the first meeting, Michigan attempted 29 of their 56 shots from behind the arc.
Like Ohio State, Michigan is young and not too deep, starting 2 freshmen, 2 sophomores and a junior. CJ Lee, Stu Douglass and Zack Gibson will lead them off the bench, combining for about 12 points and 6 rebounds.
This is the time of the season it gets tough for me to write previews. As with last season, I feel like I become a broken record when it comes to what Ohio State has to do in order to win consistently. A negative effect of recruiting one and done players is how young it can make your team from season to season, raising the frustration level of fans and coaches.
The raging debate right now is the choice between continuing the match-up zone or trying out some man defense. Of course the zone leads to a rebounding deficit EVERY game and poor rotation can allow shooters to get open, but the zone also allows Thad to keep his young centers out of foul trouble by not having to hedge on ball screens.
“You know how many ball screens B.J. Mullens has had to hedge 30 feet from the basket this year?” Matta asked. He then held up a hand with his thumb and index finger connected in the shape of a zero... Remember when we had Greg (Oden)? We went zone at the end of that year. Why? Because of that right there -- he was picking up fouls . . . on the hedge."
With the depleted roster Thad is dealing with right now, it looks as if the zone is here to stay.
Simmons has scored just 15 points and dished out 6 dimes in the last two games, while Diebler has 18 points and 2 assists over that span. Both have been more selective with their shots, but neither one consistently looks to get the ball inside either by dribbling or passing. They have a combined 5 free throws over the last three games.
In the first meeting with Michigan, Turner, Buford and Mullens combined 49 points and 19 boards. All three have been carrying the scoring load for the Bucks recently and I expect them to do the same tonight. Something tells me Diebler and Simmons are also going to have comeback games tonight, helping OSU to the 69-59 victory.
Kudos to Bob Baptist for his vent on Eddie Hightower and his annoying antics. IMO, Ted Valentine and him account for the two worst referees in the conference.
- Simmons and Diebler have made a 3-pointer in all but 1 game this year.
- It doesn't look like Lighty will be back anytime soon.