College Basketball Game of the Week: Michigan vs. Ohio State
We are nearing the end of February and approaching the best month of the year for college basketball fans. Sunday should give us a taste of what March will bring us this year.
No. 3 Michigan will travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on No. 4 Ohio State. The Wolverines are sitting at 15-1 on the season, with their lone loss coming to Minnesota a month ago. The Buckeyes are 18-4 and have won seven straight game and ten of their last 11.
Hearing that the Ohio State-Michigan game is going to be a top five matchup would typically lead you to believe that they would be playing a different sport in the Horseshoe or the Big House in late November. But these two football blue bloods are the real deal in College Basketball this year.
Michigan had to wait nearly a month to play a game due to COVID-19 postponements in late January. They finally were able to play No. 21 Wisconsin this past Sunday, where they got right back on track and beat the Badgers 67-59. They followed up that win with a 71-64 victory over Rutgers.
One of the biggest surprises of the season for Juwan Howard’s squad has been freshman big man Hunter Dickinson. The 7’1” center is averaging 14.6 points per game while shooting 64.6% from the floor.
If Ohio State wants to stop Dickinson inside, E.J. Liddell is going to have to play great. The Buckeyes are certainly at a disadvantage in the height category as Liddell only stands at 6’7”, but Liddell has been defying that principle all season long.
Ohio State has gone up against star Big Ten big men like Luka Garza, Trayce Jackson-Davis, and Kofi Cockburn in the past month and came away victorious against all of them. Liddell is averaging 15.5 points per game and 6.6 rebounds. He is coming off of a 23 point and five rebound performance against Penn State on Thursday night.
While the battle in the paint will play a huge factor in this one, the guard play may ultimately determine the outcome. Senior guard, CJ Walker, has been rock solid all season long for Ohio State. He isn’t putting up gaudy stats by any means, but he has been a real veteran presence on the court for the Buckeyes.
If Michigan wants to pull out the victory in this rivalry matchup, Mike Smith is going to have to come to play. He is leading the Big Ten in assists with 5.3 per game, and is shooting 48.6% from three point range.
If this past year has taught us anything in the sports world, it is that you can’t take a matchup like this for granted. Ohio State. Michigan. Top five matchup.
College Basketball’s version of “The Game” should be a fun one. Tip off is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.
Trevor Grady is a junior majoring in management information systems and minoring in journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.