Indiana 71 Michigan 65, Michigan 6-6 (0-1 Big Ten)
The Indiana game was the type of contest that makes me not want to even think about Michigan basketball for a couple days, so I did just that. It happened pretty much the way I expected, except a close game at the end broke the way of the Hoosiers, not in favor of Michigan. The Wolverines have still only won 1 game away from home this season, and the 6-6 record means Michigan is almost certain to miss the NCAA tournament, and will struggle to even make the NIT.
Michigan got in foul trouble too early, and was unable to get into a rhythm. DeShawn Sims and Zack Novak both fouled out, and Manny Harris was limited in the first half with foul trouble (though he did manage 30 total minutes in the game). Indiana was allowed to shot the ball very well, and Michigan's defense seemed to regress since the encouraging contest against Kansas.
On the bright side, Zack Novak was able to knock down a couple threes, as was Stu Douglass. Novak started the game on fire then went 1/6 the rest of the way, but seeing the ball go in the hoop at all will aid his confidence. Other than that, it's probably best to forget about this game.
Part 2: The Essentials
||Michigan v. Ohio State
||Ann Arbor, MI
January 3rd, 2009
||Big Ten Network
*Line provided by online sports betting site Sportsbetting.com.
The Buckeyes, like Indiana before them, face Michigan without their best player. Evan Turner is scheduled to return from fractured vertebrae in just a few days, but isn't expected to play tomorrow. The Buckeyes enter this game coming off a shellacking at the hands of Wisconsin on Thursday, only their second loss since Turner went down.
Leading the way in Turner's absence are William Buford, who is the assist leader, David Lighty, who is the best defender, and big outside sniper Jon Diebler, one of the nation's leaders in shooting, with an effective field goal percentage of 66.7%. The Buckeyes don't have one huge guy to scare Michigan fans about size, but they are big at every position. PJ Hill at 6-1 and Jeremie Simmons at 6-2 are the only Buckeyes in heavy rotation under 6-5.
If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy. Also, you'd better hide the women and children before they catch a glimpse of this chart.
|Michigan v. Ohio State: National Ranks
||Ohio State Rank
|Mich eFG% v. OSU Def eFG%
|Mich Def eFG% v. OSU eFG%
|Mich TO% v. OSU Def TO%
|Mich Def TO% v. OSU TO%
|Mich OReb% v. OSU DReb%
|Mich DReb% v. OSU OReb%
|Mich FTR v. OSU Opp FTR
|Mich Opp FTR v. OSU FTR
|Mich AdjO v. OSU AdjD
|Mich AdjD v. OSU AdjO
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.
HAHA WE WON'T FOUL YOU AND ARE TOTALLY GOING TO WIN. Ohio State has advantages in a vast majority of categories, including the two big boys of overall efficiency. Michigan will have to play well above their season-average level of play in order to get a win. A defensive effort like the one they put in against Kansas will have to be combined with one of the best shooting performances of the year for Michigan to win, unless something bizarre happens.
The Buckeyes can shoot better, defend opponents' shots better, rebound better, and keep opponents of the foul line very well. Unless the Wisconsin game was evidence that they can't compete against similarly-talented competition without Turner (the only teams they beat without him were Presbyterian, Delaware State, and Cleveland State), Michigan is probably in for a tough, tough game.
This looks like one that the Buckeyes lead by single-digit margins almost throughout, and then pull away at the end. If Michigan wants to come away with the victory, keeping the deficit manageable is their best bet.