Preview: Michigan vs. #1 Ohio State

By Chris Lauderback on March 12, 2011 at 8:00a

Matta and Boals laugh at Mike Sanzere's attempts to not suck

Ohio State Buckeyes #1 Ohio State 30-2, 16-2 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 1:40 PM ET - CBS —— Conseco Fieldhouse Indianapolis, IN Michigan Wolverines Michigan 20-12, 9-9 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

Needing overtime to get past Northwestern 67-61, the Buckeyes take on a Michigan squad that came back from a nine point 2nd half deficit to beat Illinois 60-55. Already 2-0 against Michigan this season, Ohio State looks to reach the B1G championship game in what will undoubtedly be a charged up Conseco Fieldhouse.

The fanbases started chirping yesterday with Michigan fans chanting "Fire Tressel" and Buckeye fans responding with boos all throughout Michigan's comeback victory. There were actually more than a few threats from ushers to have unruly fans removed though I didn't see anyone actually shown the door. Bottom line, the atmosphere is going to be the best we've seen all season.

Similar to Tressel's ownership of the Michigan football program, Thad Matta has enjoyed enormous success against the Wolverines winning 13 of his 15 matchups. The two wins this season have been very competitive games with OSU winning by four in Crisler Arena to spoil Brady Hoke's grand entrance before winning by nine in Value City Arena back on February 3rd.

44 William Buford 14.5 3.9 3.1 G 4 Darius Morris 15.1 4.0 6.8
33 Jon Diebler 12.3 2.5 2.5 G 10 Tim Hardaway Jr. 13.8 3.8 1.7
23 David Lighty 12.3 4.1 3.4 F 1 Stu Douglass 7.3 2.9 1.5
0 Jared Sullinger 17.3 9.7 1.2 F 0 Zack Novak 8.6 5.8 1.6
52 Dallas Lauderdale 4.5 3.5 0.2 C 52 Jordan Morgan 9.5 5.6 0.5



Michigan's impressive comeback win over the Illini saw Darius Morris score eight of his 17 down the stretch with Tim Hardaway Jr. adding 16 and Zack Novak 14. A streaky three point shooting team, the Wolverines buried 11/24 (46%). How they perform beyond the arc today will be something to keep an eye on. In the near upset of Ohio State back in January, Michigan was also 11/24 from downtown though they hit just 6/19 (32%) in the 62-53 loss in early February.

The Wolverines are using a different starting lineup than OSU faced in the two prior meetings with Stu Douglass replacing Evan Smotrycz. For the few minutes Lauderdale is in, that creates a bit of a size advantage for the Buckeyes. Within their rotation, Michigan did use the smaller lineup against OSU for stretches of the previous meetings and Sullinger had up and down results. In the first meeting, Sullinger really struggled defensively when the Wolverines forced him to play on the perimeter. He failed to communicate on some switches and didn't hedge effectively giving Michigan some easy buckets.

Morris scored 18 against the Buckeyes in January but most of that was condensed into an eight minute stretch of the 2nd half. Craft held him to 12 in the 2nd matchup including just two points in the 2nd half on 1/7 shooting.

Hardaway Jr. will have to come up big for Michigan to pull the upset. He went for 11 and 15 in the two previous games, burying three triples in each. Novak and Smotrycz were also factors in the first game with four treys apiece. Stu Douglass has had little success against OSU this season, scoring just 10 points on 4/14 shooting in 59 minutes. 

Inside, freshman Jordan Morgan will have his hands full with Sullinger. He played just 19 minutes due to foul trouble in January but scored 10 points in 28 minutes the 2nd time around.

Buckeye Breakdown

Unable to get in a shootaround before the Northwestern game, OSU struggled from the floor connecting on just 32% of their shots. Today, another built in excuse, fatigue, could be a factor as Sullinger and Diebler played 45 minutes yesterday with Buford logging 43 and Craft 40. My guess is the raging atmosphere will supply all the adrenaline necessary to fend off another poor shooting effort from Buford (3/14) and Sullinger (2/12).

Buford scored 19 in the first matchup with Michigan and 11 big 2nd half points in the February tilt shooting a combined 11/25. Sullinger was more up and down. He played what was then his worst game of the year in the January win turning it over six times along with the aforementioned defensive struggles but he bounced back with a monster 19/15 dub-dub including eight points during a backbreaking 13-5 Buckeye run that turned a slim 44-42 lead into a 57-47 bulge with just over a minute to play.

Craft was a boss yesterday with 17 points and seven dimes, huge contributions considering Buford and David Lighty delivered just 15 combined points on 6/22 shooting. He averaged nine in the two earlier Michigan games with slowing down Morris as his primary focus.

Bouncing back from a offensively invisible six points at Penn State, Lighty played well versus Wisconsin with 13 points and six boards but against the Wildcats he tallied just eight points, seemingly not looking to attack as much as we've seen in the past. He's passed up some open looks recently and he's just 5/15 in two games against Michigan this year. Could he be ready to bust out? If I had to guess, I'd say Buford is the much more likely candidate to get it going early tomorrow which might open lanes for Lighty and jumpers for Diebler.

It's tough to beat a team three times in one season but, in what should be another close game, I'll take the Buckeyes by six.


  • As a ranked team, the Buckeyes are 31-4 against Michigan. 
  • Ohio State has won 11 of their last 14 conference tournament games.
  • Matta has four of the top eight single season win totals in school history.

Comments Show All Comments

BuckeyeChief's picture

A scUM fan friend of mine decided to start chirping last night. I told it's nice to have hope.

It's going to be a tough one, and I have a feeling if the guys aren't on their "A" game they'll be upset.


"2014 National with it!!!"

Reens's picture

I O. I will always take a win over scUM but rest wouldn't be the worst thing to happen before the tourney. I believe that the depth argument is a little overdone, but there are 3 freshmen that are probably no used to these kind of minutes.

Kyle's picture

I hope sully dunks on that little bitch novak and breaks his face

gravey's picture

I'll be hoping for the "N. I. T."  chant.  We better shoot better though.  The NW game was ugly; still Angelina Jolie compared to Wisky-State Penn though.

buckeyedude's picture

I heard about the PSU/UW game...36-33?! WTF? ROFL. Glad I didn't watch that one.



buckeyedude's picture

Boy they sure didn't play good yesterday, but I state the obvious. Hopefully it was just the fact that they were coming off one of their best games and the bye, that were factors in them being flat.

Purdue out. Illinois out. Wisconsin out. I guess we should be happy OSU was the lone favorite that won their game.

Buckeyes HAVE to beat the Crapperines, PUHLEEZE!!!! I bought 3 tix for $180 last weekend, feeling confident that the Buckeyes would AT THE VERY LEAST be in the final.



TLB's picture

I think at this point we are no worse than the #2 #1 seed.  A win today and I think the #1 #1 is a lock.

painterlad's picture

I am getting it quite a bit from the Michgan fans at work the past few days. Odd how we wanted them to keep their coach while they are very eager to see us fire ours.
Regardless, this should be a very exciting game today. If the Bucks come to play they should win by at least 8, but if they come out shooting poorly then Michigan will win.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

Marshall's picture

Betting most of that has to do with the win-loss records against each other.  Of course they want Coach Tress gone...9-1.

2002 graduate of The Ohio State University
National champs.  Coincidence?

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

We getting another liveblog today? That was pretty sweet.

Hate Novak.

Bucks's picture

Unless some problem occurs, I would assume yes. Jason said it would be back for today. :)

slippy's picture

Has there been any word on Dallas?  I never heard any updates.

clevelandbuckeye's picture

Is there anyone else that is down here in ACC country?  CBS is showing the ACC tourney instead of the OSU game!?  So it has ESPN and CBS/Raycom showing ACC, and no Big Ten games.

Does anyone know if the game is shown on any type of package?

Maestro's picture

Don't get me started CB.  I live in Oklahoma and I had to pay my cable company to watch the Big 12 games last night.  I had CUSA, MAC, MWC, and Big East games on TV for free.  Being married to a Jayhawk I had no choice but to purchase the games.  Freaking racket.

vacuuming sucks

clevelandbuckeye's picture

What provider do you have?  I have Time Warner (which sucks) and they turn CBS into Raycom for ACC games, and then they just put Sports Center on ESPN instead of showing the ACC game as it normally would in any other region.

I wouldn't mind purchasing the game if it comes to that.

BuckeyeChief's picture

I have cox. It's On in Virginia Beach.

"2014 National with it!!!"

cronimi's picture

I'm in Charlotte (also originally from Cleveland), and it looks like the OSU game is being preempted for ACC ball, although the late B1G game will be shown.  In any event, I'm headed to a bar to watch the game (Strike City, if you're local).  Luckily, the B1G championship is scheduled to be aired on the CBS affiliate tomorrow.

clevelandbuckeye's picture

I am on hold with Strike City right now, they don't seem to know if they are going to be showing it either.  They told me they were showing a previous OSU game that was supposed to be on CBS and they couldn't get it once I went down there.

Have they told you it will definitely be on?

cronimi's picture

Just returned from Strike City.  They did not have the game, and the manager said the game was not available anywhere in the region, except online.  CBS screws B1G fans again!!!

William's picture

I'm in Pinehurst, I had to watch the feed online at


Maestro's picture

Buford better decide that he wants to play today.  Dude drives me crazy with his inconsistency.

vacuuming sucks

TLB's picture

I hope one of these teams in the UTEP Memphis game would pull away from the other.  Pace of this game already has me a little on edge.

Chris Lauderback's picture

Gonna be a great day. 11W getting a little more love today. We're right across from OSU bench right near the baseline. Players are out stretching. Can't wait for tipoff.

Chris Lauderback's picture

Looks like white uni's for the Buckeyes today.

RBuck's picture

Got Valentine and Hightower today. Look for Sully to be in foul trouble the first 2 times he touches the ball. Game will take 3 hours plus or minus.

Long live the southend.

BucksfanXC's picture

Those two are allowed out there together? That should be against the rules. Is Walton the third?? Come on!

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

poguemahone's picture

The third referee is some chap named Tim Donaghy. Thus, the announcers will surely be calling the game "well-officiated" at least 73 times today

TLB's picture

And it won't be.  It'll be about them, not the players.

BucksfanXC's picture

Has anybody heard anything about Dallas?

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

JakeBuckeye's picture

If all goes as C-usaBS plans this will go into double OT just to spite us.