the just released schedules were a flat-out statement that the B10 doesn't believe SOS will matter in playoff selection
Big Ten Tourney Preview: Ohio State
|WHAT||Michigan v. Ohio State|
KenPom: OSU -11 (89% win)
Once more for good measure? Once more for good measure:
Ahem. Now that we have that out of the way, on to the game. The Wolverines lost the season series to the Buckeyes in a pair of close games (OK, that's a bit of a stretch for the second one, but the Wolverines led at half and were within 7 with a minute left on the road). I'm not sure if there's data to support the "can't beat a team three times in one season" meme, but I sure hope it's true.
As you're well-aware, the Buckeyes host two of the top three candidates for B1G freshman of the year in Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft, and they're surrounded by a host of senior contributors in sharpshooter Jon Diebler, prematurely bald guy Dallas Lauderdale, and Brooks Bollinger Memorial 8th-year Senior Award recipient David Lighty.
Let's get right into the...
If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy:
|Michigan v. Ohio State: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||Ohio (YTO) Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. OSU Def eFG%||46||139||M|
|Mich Def eFG% v. OSU eFG%||156||3||OO|
|Mich TO% v. OSU Def TO%||16||22||-|
|Mich Def TO% v. OSU TO%||252||8||OOO|
|Mich OReb% v. OSU DReb%||327||24||OOOO|
|Mich DReb% v. OSU OReb%||66||64||-|
|Mich FTR v. OSU Opp FTR||336||1||OOOO|
|Mich Opp FTR v. OSU FTR||28||173||MM|
|Mich AdjO v. OSU AdjD||45||11||O|
|Mich AdjD v. OSU AdjO||50||1||O|
Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.
I've made this joke a hundred times already this year, but: Hide ya kids, hide ya wife. Ohio State is the best team in the country, and I don't care what Kansas, Duke, and Pitt have to say about it. In personal e-pinion (and e-pinion of one Ken Pomeroy), it's not really close.
So, what is the underdog strategy in college basketball? No easy baskets for the opposition (which also means don't allow offensive boards), make your shots when they're open, and don't turn over the ball. Getting the opponent's best players into foul trouble - while not getting into the same predicament yourself - certainly doesn't hurt. Easy, right?
Taking a look at the chart, the Wolverines should be able to get off some good shots against an Ohio State team that's not as good as Illinois in forcing opponent misses. They should also at least be able to stalemate in turnovers - though Darius Morris had more giveaways than assist last time against the Buckeyes. They should even have an OK chance to keep the Buckeyes from getting second-chance points.
It's the fouling that becomes an issue. Aside from the free-throw rates (in which Ohio State has an advantage still), Michigan's bigs have been known to get themselves into foul trouble early in games. Against Jared Sullinger, keeping Jordan Morgan in the game is going to be of the utmost importance. Northwestern learned in overtime yesterday that having a second or third option on Sullinger is going to spell your doom.
Dylan previews the game on UMHoops. Along the Olentangy previews the game and doesn't understand offensive rebounding, and Eleven Warriors doesn't so much preview the game as run down player stats from the last two games and yesterday's OSU/Northwestern contest.
I don't know where to go with this prediction. Ohio State has looked vulnerable, and Michigan (in fits and starts) has been playing some of their best ball all year of late. Still "looking vulnerable" is not the same thing as "losing basketball games," and the Buckeyes have only done the latter on the home court of some really good basketball teams.
Kenpom and Vegas aren't keen on Michigan's chances... and there's a reason for that. I think Michigan is capable of beating Ohio State, but I'll believe it actually happens as soon as the clock hits all zeroes. Ohio State wins a closer-than-expected battle, and the Buckeyes emerge with a 69-67 victory.