Preview: Ohio State

Submitted by Tim on February 3rd, 2011 at 5:41 PM

The Essentials

WHAT Michigan v. #1 Ohio State
WHERE Columbus, OH
February 3rd, 2011
THE LINE Michigan +16.5

The Story

Signing Day has come and gone (on to the class of 2012!), and since last we previewed a game for the Men's Basketballing Wolverines, they've gone out and ended a 14-year road losing streak to their archrival, and taken care of business against a lesser opponent. The team's best player has broken out of a mini-slump with a solid performance in the first game, and a triple-double in the second. Good times in Crisler Arena.

Of course, it must be mentioned that said archrival is struggling like they rarely have under Tom Izzo, and Iowa is indeed terrible at the basketball (but way better than State! HAHAHAHAHA!). Despite both coming up short against the Wolverines, Kalin Lucas and Melsahn Besabe each had wonderful days offensively against Michigan. These Wolverines did not suddenly turn into... well, Ohio State.

Ohio State, on the other hand, remains Ohio State. They're among the tops in the country both offensively and defensively, and are the best team in Division 1 basketball by a healthy margin. Though Michigan played them close in Crisler Arena 22 days ago, they're likely to play much better at home.

The Buckeyes still have Jared Sullinger, and they still have an excellent supporting cast around him. In ValueCity Arena (about which: LOL), every single Wolverine will have to play some of his best ball this season to come away with a win.

Tempo-Free Breakdown

With a few games under each team's belt, it's finally reasonable to look at the stats. If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.

Michigan v. Ohio State: National Ranks
Category Michigan Rank Ohio State Rank Advantage
Mich eFG% v. OSU Def eFG% 67 73 -
Mich Def eFG% v. OSU eFG% 166 6 OO
Mich TO% v. OSU Def TO% 23 10 O
Mich Def TO% v. OSU TO% 237 5 OOO
Mich OReb% v. OSU DReb% 304 32 OOO
Mich DReb% v. OSU OReb% 47 65 M
Mich FTR v. OSU Opp FTR 344 1 OOOO
Mich Opp FTR v. OSU FTR 60 236 MM
Mich AdjO v. OSU AdjD 48 5 O
Mich AdjD v. OSU AdjO 87 2 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 think I've already made this joke once already this year, but hide ya kids, hide ya wife. Ohio State is good at the basketed ball. Even one of Michigan's strongest suits - not turning over the ball - is a statistical advantage for the Buckeyes. The only areas in which Michigan has performed better is rebounding Ohio State misses, and not sending the Buckeyes to the free throw line.

When last these teams met, the Wolverines outshot the Buckeyes, 64.1-60.7 eFG%. The teams were about equal in turnovers and rebounding. The biggest difference is displayed in the chart above: Ohio State shot more than three times as many free throws as did Michigan.

Judging by the statistics, it's likely that Michigan played above their heads the first time against the Buckeyes. While there could be matchup reasons for that, I think it's more likely that a rivalry game in front of the home crowd played a much bigger role. On the road, Michigan is more likely to struggle like the stats imply they should.


Last time I predicted Michigan would perform better than expected but still lose, it worked out just fine, thank you very much. Ken Pomeroy predicts a 73-56 win for the Buckeyes, and Vegas says OSU by 16.5.



February 3rd, 2011 at 9:12 PM ^

I know you guys work hard with all the writing, and are busy with all the signing day stuff, and I should be happy to have such a great site offered up for free, but it would be awesome to have the previews up more than a few hours before tip off.


February 4th, 2011 at 12:07 AM ^

Man, our offense was just tough to watch in the second half tonight, especially when D-Mo was out.

Also, ugh to the missed layups and free throws.  Thankfully tsio sucks even more at free throws.

Where did Lauderdale go?  He started and then disappeared for the rest of the game.