Game 18: Ohio State at Michigan Preview

Dylan Burkhardt

: Ohio State (12-3) at Michigan (13-4)
Where: Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor, MI
When: Saturday, January 17th 8:00 ET
Spread: U-M by 3
Preview: Stat Sheet, U-M KenPom Profile, Ohio State KenPom Profile
Radio: MGoBlue, WWJ-AM (950), WTKA-AM (1050)

Big games are back in Crisler Arena. Maybe it hasn’t been that long but there was a stretch last year when I didn’t know when the feeling would return. Saturday’s game has just about all of the ingredients for a big time game: its Michigan vs. Ohio State, both teams are battling for tournament bids, the 1989 national championship team will be honored, there is a sense of momentum and energy surrounding the program that hasn’t been felt for years, and did I mention we are playing Ohio State?

Ohio State started the season 9-0 with wins over Notre Dame and Butler but their season hit a skid when David Lighty injured his foot and they suffered a 28 point home loss to West Virginia. Ohio State comes into the Michigan game having lost 3 of their last 6 while sitting at 2-2 in the Big Ten. Their conference wins came over Iowa and Indiana at home while their losses were to Michigan State and Minnesota. Michigan is coming off a disappointing loss to the Illini but they have played some of their best basketball this year after a loss.

Defense has been the core of Ohio State’s team this year and while their D hasn’t played at such a high level after the loss of David Lighty they are still nothing to laugh at. They are one of the best teams in the country at blocking shots (block rate of 19.1%) while also keeping opponents off the free throw line (FTA/FGA = 23.7%). There is still some good news on the defensive side of the ball for Michigan. First, Ohio State doesn’t do a very good job defending the three point shot (opponents shoot 34.2% from long range, 181st nationally).  Second, Ohio State struggles against teams that hold on to the ball. West Virginia, Michigan St., and Minnesota all turned the ball over on less than 20% of their possessions and managed to beat the Buckeyes. The only other teams to hold on to the ball at that rate were Notre Dame (lost by 5) and UNC-Asheville (lost by 24).

Offensively, Ohio State is solid but unspectacular. Their offense revolves around do-it-all forward Evan Turner who averages 15.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.7 apg, and 2.3 spg. As a team they do a solid job of getting to the line (FTA/FGA = 39.9%) and holding on to the ball (to% = 18.7%). For a team with a good amount of size they do a poor job on the offensive glass and only rebound 30.2% (265th nationally) of their misses.

Ohio State provides quite a challenge for an undersized Michigan team inside. BJ Mullens and Dallas Lauderdale provide size on both ends of the floor. Lauderdale averages a gaudy 2.8 blocks per game to go along with his 6.2 ppg and 4.7 rpg in 22.9 minutes. Mullens on the other hand is a bit more skilled and averages 8.3 ppg in 18.7 minutes. Hopefully DeShawn Sims has done some soul searching because Michigan is going to need his A-game on offense and defense.

Ohio State also starts two very athletic wings that can get it done in a variety of ways: Evan Turner (6-foot-7) and William Buford (6-foot-5). Buford is averaging 18.3 ppg over his last three games and is really starting to get comfortable in his freshman season. Turner has looked like the Big Ten player of the year at times this year and is a bit similar to Manny Harris in the sense that he can shoot, pass, and rebound. John Diebler and Jeremie Simmons round out the starting lineup. Diebler can’t do much more than shoot the three while Simmons runs the point and is probably the weakest link for the Buckeyes.

If I’m Michigan I would try to match up LLP with Buford and put Manny on Turner. That leaves Novak on Diebler and Grady on Simmons at the point. If OSU can get Turner matched up with Novak they are going to have a big advantage because I just don’t think Novak is quick enough to keep Turner out of the lane. Michigan will probably be at a height disadvantage at every spot on the floor but that really isn’t anything new. I also would expect Michigan test Jeremie Simmons with the 1-3-1 zone early and often.

This is the first of 2 games in 11 days between the Buckeyes and Wolverines and both games are a critical for each team’s NCAA tournament chances. Right now it appears to be a pretty safe bet that 6 teams make it from the Big Ten (and 7 might be possible). Both Ohio State and Michigan appear to be positioned right around the 5-7 slots in the conference and if either one of them could sweep the season series they would put themselves in good position come March.

If you have tickets for the game make sure you don’t let the weather keep you away, this team needs your support. Let’s hear thoughts and predictions in the comments.

Pre-Game Reading:

This site is supported by donations

Like what you see? Click the button below to donate and access exclusive content.

  • Tom

    You can bet OSU watched the Ill. game and are going to go to BJ all day down low…

  • Bluebufoon

    BJ Mullens and Dallas Lauderdale side by side is a tough match-up for U-M. It will be interesting to see how Beilein defensed OSU ?

  • Chris

    Playing Mullens and Lauderdale together at the same time has been very ineffective for OSU this season.

    Mullens has made strides in recent games & will soon average over 10 ppg if he keeps it up.

    You’re playing with fire if you don’t defend Diebler well – I don’t think this preview gives him the respect he deserves. He can torch teams that put lesser athletic players on him. Sometimes he struggles, but other times he’s lights-out.

  • Chris: Would you put Manny on Diebler or Turner? …

  • Bluebufoon

    If I’m Thad Matta I overwhelm Michigan with size. U-M has problems handing one big man, if you add a second I think the Wolverines would be overwhelmed down low– hope I’m wrong.

  • Starting games at 8:30(Illinois) and now 8:00 against OSU, whats the deal? This should be a Saturday afternoon game, I hate these late starts. If they want a night game then wouldnt 7:00 be late enough? This after serving pancakes against Iowa, I dont get it.

  • Gary

    I’m sure the late start has to do with TV. Usually, I’d prefer an afternoon game. This time I am happy it’s a late start because I have to do something with my kids all day.

  • Trevor

    As far as Ohio State going with a humungo lineup with Mullens and Two-City, this could definitely have drawbacks for them as well. I don’t think they’d want either guy chasing Novak around the perimeter. And offensively, I could see that lineup really struggling to move the ball, particularly against the 1-3-1.

  • Aaron

    I surely hope the guys come back with a W today. Need to see the inspired defense we saw for 3/4ths of the Iowa game. And we still need to shoot better for the entire game.

    I’m excited to have those hot dog-tiny hot dog things…

  • MaizeRage1989

    Does anyone know when the snow is supposed to stop? I’m going to try to get to Crisler, but yikes.

  • El Capitan

    After two very close predictions in the Indiana and Iowa games, I was way off on the Illinois game, so here’s to hoping I get out of my slump, and we can continue our stellar performance at home.

    I’ve said this nearly every game, but I’m going to continue to say it until it happens: breakout game for Stu Douglass!

    Ohio State 65
    Michigan 70

  • Jacques Auef

    me thinks the IL games was the start of the UM meltdown and where UM will let the ticket to the big dance fall from their hand into the gutter.

  • UMDC

    I think maybe some of us have spent too much time watching the (great) show Mad Men on AMC. Because I don’t think that in basketball height = better anymore. I’d say that began to change with the introduction of the three point line decades ago.

    If OSU wants to go with a bunch of lumbering big men, I say let them. They won’t be able to cover us from outside and, as luck would have it, our entire team is based on getting quality shots from outside. If they want to give them to us, I say thank you.

    Will they get a few wide open dunks on us when our D breaks down? Yes. But so what.

    Michigan shoots 42.5% from 3pt range today and wins this one 75-62.

  • It’s a balancing act… Illinois didn’t dominate us because of playing 2 big men IMO and they didn’t really exploit the matchup at the four. It was Tisdale on Peedi…

    Will OSU try to get Mullens a lot of touches against Peedi? Certainly. Will OSU try to play Mullens and Dallas? I doubt it. I don’t see either of them keeping with Novak on the perimeter and right now he’s probably the last guy I would leave open on Michigan’s roster.

    4 guard lineups can work because they force opponents to guard you on the perimeter and everyone is a threat to shoot the three.

  • Point spread opened at UM -3 and has moved all the way up to UM -5.5 in some places… Seems like the gamblers like Michigan.

  • KJay

    Some mentions of Novak above–has anyone else watched his Rivals HS highlights video? Couple things stood out: Zack shows more athleticism than I was expecting, and, wow, those Indiana teams can pass the basketball. Novak displays quite a bit of ‘Larry Legend’ traits in those clips. For those who have access and haven’t seen it, check it out!

  • rlc

    I understand that Beilein’s system relies on the team applying pressure on offense by fielding as many shooters as possible, but this seems like one game where Shepherd’s defense may be needed. If Novak is being burnt to a crisp by Turner or Buford, Shepherd may see some minutes…

  • Matt

    Does anyone know if this game will be streamed anywhere?

  • josh

    Look at this kid…….. Talk about motivation

  • ryan

    wow, what an idiot. my prediction is 67-59 BLUE.

  • JimC

    and never EVER leave the couch!
    And Crisler better be rocking tonight too.

    Mark Titus’ (OSU benchwarmer) Club Trillion is the funniest blog on the web, IMO, but let’s CRUSH THE BUCKEYES!!!

  • Chrisgocomment

    Are you doing a CIL?

  • Dylan typically doesn’t do CIL’s for home games, as he is a season ticket holder. A couple times WLA has done them.

  • Mullens is classy and intelligent. Good for him.

  • Drew

    Any last-minute stream info on the OSU game? Help a fella out — living in New York City, so I don’t get the BTN, since there are SO few Big Ten alumni in Manhattan. Thanks.

  • Manny Fresh

    I hope Beilein plays the Mullens video in the locker room about 50 times in a row prior to tip-off.

    Michigan needs a second half comeback to take it 67-62

  • Dylan

    try or

  • Ninja Football
  • AG2

    Suffice to say, Michigan doesn’t match up well with big teams like Wisconsin, OSU, and most likely MSU as well.

  • jmblue

    We need DeShawn to play like the guy who was averaging 17 and 9 in the nonconference season. He simply has not had a good conference season.

  • Jay

    Deshawn..soft, wants no part of contact. Looks like hes being taught by Rasheed Wallace or Nowitzki on how to be a post presence. Grady hate is back, the real KG has shown back up, and has turned into a harlem globetrotter. Dribble back an forth with no penetration, and alot of chuck shots.

    LLP- might need to put a 10-57 out on him, cause he is MIA of late. Settling for nothing but jumpers.

    Novak-love his heart and hustle, but isnt looking for his shot at all.

    Players like LLP, KG, and Deshawn continue to settle for jumper after jumper..when in a drought a drive to the bucket could be the thing that gets them going? Also with all the time Novak is getting, is it illegal to use Shep or Ant Wrong a couple times to see what they could bring to the glass or on D?

  • jmblue

    You want to reduce Novak’s minutes? The kid was all over the court today keeping possessions alive with his tips. Even if he didn’t score much, he had a good game. He was not the problem. I don’t see what Shep or Wright would’ve brought in his place.

  • AG2

    I still think Michigan will make the tournament if they go .500 in big ten play. That means 6 more wins. Northwestern twice, Iowa on the road, one vs. penn state, one vs. minnesota, and one vs. purdue can do ot.

  • A lot of season left, but that one is going to sting….

  • JimC

    That game made me sick.

  • maizeragePaul

    you can’t lose home games in this league

  • PeteM

    I’m not saying anything new here, but what’s with DeShawn? He missed a flurry of shots inside 5 feet. We also have had tough time finishing on layups (although that was a bigger issue at Illinois). I worry that if the shooting drought continues we’re in for a tough stretch.

  • Pingback: Game 21: Michigan at Ohio State Preview | UM