It isn’t THE GAME… But it is The Game

OSU LogoA mere ten days ago, Michigan (17-6, 9-2) sat atop the B1G undefeated and in the AP top 10. Ohio State (19-5, 6-5) was 3-5 in the B1G and completely out of the AP top 25. Now, the roles are reversed, with now No. 15 Michigan having lost 2 of 3 and No. 22 Ohio State on three game wins streak with tough road wins in Madison and Iowa City. If the Buckeyes are going to climb back into the B1G regular season title chase, they cannot afford to drop any games at home, especially against a team they are chasing.

This will be the only regular season matchup for the two teams as Ohio State hosts the Wolverines only three days off a convincing 85-67 loss at Iowa. Michigan had been responding well after losing big man Mitch McGary to back surgery. Strong rebounding and balanced and selfless team play have made up the difference with forward Glenn Robinson and 6’6” guard Caris LaVert adding a double digit boost to leading scorer 6’6” guard Nik Staukas. Stauskas was held in check in the loss to the Hawkeyes, scoring only 9 as he was guarded by Hawkeye Roy Devyn Marble for much of the time.

For the scoring challenged Buckeyes the recipe will be much the same—strong defensive effort to slow down the Michigan running game and holding top scorers in check. At 6’2”, B1G player of the week Aaron Craft could draw much of the defensive assignment against Stauskas. Craft handled the bigger Marble well in the last meeting in Iowa and could also be the answer for much of the time against Stauskas. La Quinton Ross, the Buckeyes leading scorer always has the potential to have a big night, as does Lenzelle Smith, Jr., though those nights have been fairly rare in B1G play. A little offense from the defensively stout Amir Williams is always a plus but it during games like these when that little extra could make all the difference.

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