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.
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.
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.
"A congenital heart defect has apparently felled Sullinger, moments before he could step on to the court..."
In all seriousness, I think we can keep it reasonably close. The pressure's off, they're in the tournament, a loss won't hurt them and they aren't expected to win this game. They can just go out and play and do what they can.
i really do not see the b1g being a 7 bid conference. hating on state aside i would think they are in at this point. if psu beats them then they are going to get a long look by the committee. a possible bid could come at the expense of illinois
History is written by the victors-Winston Churchill
Bids have nothing to do with conference. If the Big Ten is a 7-bid conference it's because they had 6 worthy at-large teams to go with the auto-bid.
As it stands, OSU, Wisky and Purdue are likely 1-4 seeds and Michigan, Sparty and Illinois are in, probably in that order. Penn State probably needs a win today. They're right on the cusp but there are a few bubble teams still playing and the potential for a bid steal in the A-10.
I think this is better preparation for the tournament in all honesty. Let's take an elite team on again on a neutral court and really get used to the intensity and skill we are going to have to beat next week. We were going to have to beat elite teams to win the Big 10 title; we just have to beat one in the semifinals and not the finals.
I think that's the one good thing in this. It's like the 1980 Olympics. Sure you have to get through the Soviets (pretty apt comparison for OSU if you ask me) in the semifinals, but we would get a much more reasonable matchup in the finals if we can pull off the upset.
"We bring you to Michigan to take care of Michigan; your job is to protect that block M."
Agreed not good to count chickens before they're hatched but Tim did the Muppets for the victory against Illinois not in reference to this game IMO. In that case, I think it's fine to have the Muppets again.
I get knocked down, but I get up again; you're never going to keep me down. I get knocked down, but I get up again; you're never going to keep me down.
Remember when you couldnt win around these parts--the Big 10--with guys like Douglas and Novak?
Worth pointing out that they already have as many NCAA Tournament appearances in their MIchigan careers as Maurice Taylor, Robert Traylor and Louis Bullock did. When its all said and done, they'll have more. They already have as many NCAA Tournament wins as that group. Only for another week, though.
Just a little historical perspective for those still not convinced that the program is better than its been since anytime since the Fab Five left.
Go Blue. Hope the Bucks love themselves some HAM. They're getting a heap of it soon
Michigan and Northwestern are the only 2 teams that haven't been pounded in at least one of their two games against OSU. I think they have as much of a chance as Northwestern. Probably more of a chance, since Michigan actually has some talent.
The key is to limit possessions and hope for a sleepy day from Diebler.
Hopefully the Buckeyes are disinterested for good portions of the game, which they are prone to do. If we get the OSU's best effort we are toast, but I doubt we will get their best effort.
We have 20 fouls to give on Sullinger and will probably use at least 10 of them. I would rather foul Sullinger and see if he can repeat his foul shooting excellence from yesterday, opposed to letting him get easy 2's.
I'm curious as to the severity of Horford's knee bruise and his availability for today's game.
Don't want to speak for Tim but while this is a Michigan blog, it has some mainstream credibility and is used by many fans as their primary source of information regarding Michigan sports. As a result, any analysis/predictions should strive to be objective.
That is him in my avatar. He played quite a bit this year and is Siva's backup. He has played sparingly in both the conference tourney games so far because Siva is good and has barely come out! Thanks for asking.
When you reach the end of your rope tie a knot and hold on...
between being easily able to count to 3 from the time Turner touches the ball to the moment he releases it ( watched it a bunch of times when the showed it yesterday).......to all the heartbreakers we have come back from (getting up and winning on the road after the Wisconsin dagger).......to Tattgate and Tressel-is-not-a-crook.......throw in half the national chmapion players from Auburn leaving, having attended about 3 classes or leaving due that silly armed robbery thing..........WE ARE DUE.
Does anyone think Morris was mocking Izzo in the last couple seconds of yesterdays game? A few seconds to go, five point lead, Morris going in for an uncontested layup. He jumps up the air and fakes either a dunk or the layup. I didn't see this mentioned in previous threads, but thought it was rather funny.
Nah, he was just excited and having a good time. I don't think he gave a shit about Izzo or anyone else in that moment, he was just happy to get a win but wasn't going to go put in a basket at the buzzer.
Izzo, but he was definitely thinking about the end of the sparty game when he did that. I know I was anyway.
"True loyalty is that quality of service that grows under adversity and expands in defeat. Any street urchin can shout applause in victory, but it takes character to stand fast in defeat. One is noise - the other, loyalty." — Yost
For what little it's worth, I think that these are the main things that Michigan has to do to defend Sullinger and get Ohio State out of its offensive rhythm:
1. Break out the 1-3-1. This defense has two big advantages: it prevents the easy post entry pass from the wing; and it provides an opportunity to bring a double team on the low post from unexpected directions. Michigan should play man most of the time, but the 1-3-1 can be an important change of pace.
2. Front Sullinger with different defenders. Sullinger killed Northwestern in overtime last year, catching the ball in the post and backing his defender down, drawing fouls. If Michigan plays him like that, Morgan's going to be in foul trouble very quickly. I think the solution is to front Sullinger, pressure the ballhandler to make the entry lob harder, and bring a help defender from the weakside, as soon as the entry pass is released. The help defender should get behind Sullinger and establish position just as he catches the ball, increasing the chances for a charge. The help defender's objective should be to stop Sullinger from moving, not so much to block or bother his shot. Because of this, the help defender does not have to be a big; Michigan could bring a guard down from the perimeter or any other player from the baseline. In fact, I think it would be most effective if the help defender constantly came from different directions and was not always the same size. Thus, I think Michigan could sometimes from Sullinger with Novak or Smotrcyz and bring Morgan on the double. Or they could front with Morgan and bring a guard to double (depending upon who has the fewest fouls). Changing up its defensive looks could be a big problem for OSU and keep them off balance.
stick with a similar defensive gameplan against OSU last time they played. They doubled Sullinger with defender helping out on the weakside. They really frustrated Sullinger all game long though he got his numbers.
Michigan struggled offensively because they turned the ball over but as long as Michigan take care of the ball and they should. The game will be down to the wire once again.
This is going to be a great game today. Michigan is definitely the hot team coming into the game. We might be a little tired from OT and being lulled to sleep by that damn NW offense. Somehow I doubt we shoot as poorly as we did yesterday. Sully is gonna be sore, so maybe he'll be kicking it out to Diebler and Buford for three a lot today.
I honestly wouldn't mind a loss today, because I'm in the camp that a conference tourney loss helps your NCAA chances. Not so much for the extra rest, but to avoid the injuries and to motivate them a little bit. Get a feeling of what it's like to go home early before it really matters.
Michigan winning a B1G title really could go a long way in reviving the program. That would be great for the conference. And hell, another MSU/UM game would be damn entertaining.
Go luck out there today guys.
“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
Yesterday's Purdue-Michigan State game. (Right, it's a single data point, and it's canceled out by the 2004 Wisconsin team that actually beat Izzo's team thrice, but it crapped all over my hopes of a good NCAA for Purdue, so I thought maybe it could do some good here.)
Ironically, Purdue nearly beat OSU three times in 2009: they lost in Columbus in OT and won in West Lafayette and Indianapolis. Also in 2009, Sparty swept OSU but lost to them in the BTT.
In 2006, they lost to Iowa once in the regular season and again in the BTT final.
In 2005, Wisconsin beat OSU three times.
Under Matta, here's what's happened in BTT games where the Buckeyes faced a team they'd swept in the regular season:
2010: beat Illinois, 2 OT
2007: beat Michigan and Purdue (let's pretend that year never happened)
2006: beat Penn State
2005: beat Penn State
Soooo ... yeah, when Matta's team lines up a target for a third loss, they never fail. Never. It's a guaranteed W.