Game 28: Michigan at Ohio State Preview

Dylan Burkhardt


Who: Michigan (13-14, 6-9) at Ohio State (22-7, 12-4)
Where: Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
When: 12:00 PM, Saturday, February 27th, 2010
Radio: MGoBlue, WWJ 950 AM/WTKA 1050 AM
Stats: Live TFS
Pomeroy Profile


The first match-up between these two teams resulted in one of Michigan’s best victories of the season but even the most optimistic of Michigan fans would struggle to give the Wolverines a chance in Columbus this Saturday. Ohio State is 12-3 since their loss to Michigan and they’ve added some guy named Evan Turner back into their lineup.  Ohio State is in the thick of the Big Ten title race while Michigan is limping along, 3-7 in their last 10 games, and trying to play their way into the NIT.

Michigan won the first game thanks to a great performance from Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims. The duo played one of their best games together and combined to shoot 22 of 34 from the field for 52 points (more points than Michigan has scored in either of their last two games).

The problem for Michigan is that Ohio State has Evan Turner back in the lineup. Turner is the front runner for National Player of the Year and the most complete player in the country. At 6-foot-7 Turner runs the point and leads the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. He also has a talented supporting cast:

  • David Lighty: Lighty plays the four for Ohio State so Michigan won’t have to worry about dealing with a huge height advantage at that position. Lighty can do a bit of everything, he can hit the three (37.8%), get to the free throw line (44.2% FTR), and is also a great defender.
  • Jon Diebler:Diebler is easily one of the best three point shooters in the Big Ten. He’s 83 of 191 (43.5%) on the year but is just athletic enough to drive when necessary to keep defenders honest.
  • Dallas Lauderdale: Lauderdale looks physically imposing at 6-foot-8 255 pounds but he is a good not great rebounder, leaving Evan Turner to shoulder most of the rebounding burden. Lauderdale does sport an NCAA-best 76.4 FG%, most of this probably has to do with the fact that almost all of his baskets are layups and dunks off of Evan Turner assists.
  • William Buford: Buford is the complete package. He’s athletic, long, and can shoot it. He doesn’t turn the ball over and is capable of finishing wherever Turner gets him the ball.
  • Bench: Despite their talent at the top of the roster, Ohio State isn’t particularly deep. Kyle Madsen and Jerime Simmons are the only options that Thad Matta seems to trust off the bench and even they barely get any playing time. Madsen is the option when Lauderdale gets in foul trouble while Simmons has only played in three of Ohio State’s last six games.

At the macro team level, Ohio State is a statistical monster. Their adjusted efficiencies on both sides of the ball rank in Pomeroy’s top 20 and they are tied with Wisconsin and Purdue for the best efficiency margin in Big Ten play.

The one statistic that stands out on the offensive side of the ball is Ohio State’s 55.9 eFG% (3rd nationally). The Buckeyes shoot 55.7% on 2PA and 37.5% on 3PA. Interestingly enough, Michigan held Ohio State to their 2nd worst shooting performance of the year in their first match-up. Ohio State’s weaknesses on the offensive side of the ball are offensive rebounding and getting to the free throw line but honestly you can live without offensive rebounds and free throws when you shoot as well as Ohio State.

On defense, Ohio State is solid across the board and doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. The weakest link appears to be allowing opponents to shoot a respectable 34.8% from three point range. With Ohio State’s length and athleticism it’s not surprising that they are a good defensive team. Since their loss at West Virginia, opponents are scoring only .94 points per trip. Michigan actually had the best offensive performance this year versus Ohio State scoring 1.17 points per trip with an eFG% of 61.5%.

The good news for Michigan is that they played not only one of their best games of the year in the first match-up, they played one of the best games that anyone has played versus Ohio State. The bad news is that Evan Turner is back, the game is in Columbus, and Michigan has looked absolutely awful offensively in their last two games.

Michigan made 21 of 41 (51%) threes in their last two road games compared to only 12 of 59 (20.3%) in their last two home games. Maybe there is something wrong with the rims in Crisler? The first key for Michigan is figure out a way to make shots. Judging by these Stu Douglass quotes, Michigan’s shooting woes are wreaking havoc in their own minds:

“It’s almost a vicious cycle thinking about it too much, like I’m going to hit this next one,” Douglass said. “You almost can’t even say that. Sometime you need to just quit thinking and just play. Even with the positive reinforcement sometimes turns into you thinking about it too much.”

Shooting has become such a laborious process for this team and they are making it harder than it is. Because I just finished re-watching a few seasons of The Wire, I point you to this gem (language warning):

David Simon uses this scene as a metaphor for the bureaucracy and lack of leadership within the Baltimore Police Department that prevents anything from getting done. For Michigan, the leadership and communication issues are definitely relevant but, more directly, shooting has become something like pushing a desk through a doorway from both directions. Michigan’s shooters beating themselves up. They are certainly working hard but they definitely aren’t working smart.  It is time for Michigan to take a step back, look at what they are doing, regroup, and just play ball.

KenPom likes Ohio State by 12 and gives Michigan only a 9% chance at the victory. It’s tough to disagree when you look at how well Ohio State has been playing of late compared to Michigan’s poor play. I’ll take Ohio State, 70-56. Let’s hear your thoughts and predictions in the comments.

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  • Douglass misses a wide open three. Manny throws up an ugly one. Turner pins a Novak layup. That’s how a game like this slips away. Also, Michigan can’t stop OSU in transition.

  • AG2

    I’ve counted at least 2 no calls when Lighty went over the back. Buford and Turner are still getting anything they want. Whatever we did to close out the 2nd half has to happen again. We’ve made quite a few mistakes so far.

  • JayRich

    UGH! Come on guys…make a little run. SHow some guts

  • Giddings

    Stu simply has to knock that shot down. We can’t afford to get nothing out of that 3 on 1 fast break. And Manny should not be taking that shot.

  • Ohio State goes zone and forces Darius into a nasty turnover. Nice call out of a timeout from Matta.

  • Jay

    FYI manny’s ugly one was shot clock driven since they dont attack the basket until 10 sec left on the clock, just didnt chuck one up. Also hes playing within the offense, instead of forcing but you can see he is gettin antsy. Why is there no plays to attack Turner? Pick up that 4th at least give it a try. This game took a turn right after Turner picked up his 3rd, and Novak missed the two free throws. Momentum totally changed

  • Darius bad pass, but Stu should have taken the open shot.

  • Drae

    I think ur watching D-Mo growing up right in front ur eyes… Too bad he can’t any help… This is where u need ur senior leaders step up and make smart plays…

  • 1-3-1 working moderately well against OSU. At least takes them out of rhythm. This is the worst man-to-man Michigan has played in a while.

    Now… about making open shots…

  • Drae

    And here is the reason Manny needs another year… Bad shot selection!

  • Giddings

    7 points in the first 10 minutes of the half (including a wild banked 3 by Darius… so we’ll call it more like 4 points). That’s just not gonna do it.

  • South Florida Maize Rage

    What’s up with Manny Harris putting up Stu Douglass numbers? This is awful. 1-for-6, passing the ball on 2 on 1 breaks? Where have you gone Manny Harris?

  • AG2

    Where the hell was that foul on sims?

  • No idea on that last foul on the rebound. I didn’t see it, might have missed it.

    Here’s a question… Does OSU have the most talented starting 5 in the conference? I don’t think there’s any question.

  • Yeah, Manny really tentative. Has lost his confidence.

  • Merlin

    eddie hightower missed one-no way

  • GoinBlue

    Manny is killing us. If he badly misses another three from 4 feet behind the line I think I’m going to lose it.

  • AG2

    Man, I’d love to break that OSU streak of games without a blown lead with 5 mins left.

  • Giddings

    Quite possibly the most obvious missed call all season…

  • AG2

    No call flagrant on Lauderdale.

  • Drae

    Nice no call there… They are makking Lauderdale look like a star when he’s really not good @ all…

  • South Florida Maize Rage

    Imagine if Manny was able to get to the line like this all game

  • Jay

    LOL@ Drae, Lauderdale not good at all? LOLLLLLLLLLL get real, it’s a reason every team in the nation would take a brut like Lauderdale anyday of the week. Be real with your comments please

  • Drew

    Lauderdale sucks. Does so little with his size. He has no offensive skills whatsoever. Get a clue

  • Zach

    Lauderdale is not good

  • Jay

    Lauderdale sucks? Your right, hes a contributor on a top 10/top team in the big 10 at a position of need on any team. You are right he sucks, you have no use for 6-8 260 who just grabs boards and is a defensive presence. None at all, must be drinking the Coach Belein kool aid a lil to tough.

  • South Florida Maize Rage

    Ok let’s put the OSU hatred aside for a second. He’s shooting 68 percent from the field for his career which is pretty solid. A poor rebounder for his size but he is a defensive force. He leads the conference in blocks. I’d take him, that’s for sure.

  • Lauderdale works for what OSU is trying to do. He is a good defender and he can finish. But he’s not a great player, doesn’t have much offensive game. Just benefits from playing with some *GREAT* players.

  • Ha… Calling a carry on Evan Turner with 31 seconds left in the game is one of the funniest calls I’ve ever seen.

  • maxwell’s demon

    Decent effort. Just no way we were going to win this game. OSU is definitely Elite 8/Final Four material.

  • Jay

    I guarantee you these are the same people who said “Ekpe Udoh sucks” or “why did he go to Baylor?” ..learn the game, dont just judge intangible pieces by what they do on offense. If your a Pistons fan you know this first hand, because Ben Wallace supposedly sucked too. But he anchored the D for many years!

  • AG2

    OSU didn’t really pull away in the 2nd half so much as we stopped scoring, again. When you have a team that barely goes 6 deep and instead of getting them into foul trouble and getting them winded, you stand around on offense because you’re so bad at shooting that the only way you can defend is just sitting on the ball.

    Size, shooting. We need both.

    And as good as OSU looks, WE’VE ALL SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE. OSU *WILL* get burned by its lack of depth in the tournament. Its not even a question.

  • Jay

    Back to the game…Good effort, just fail short in the end. Happy to see the fellas not mailing it in, and bringing some fight to the table. Use to it by now, you cant bring a knife to a gun fight! Just dont have the weapons to get it done at the end of the day, good thing spring ball is around the corner. Lets go Rich!!

  • South Florida Maize Rage

    Five players score in double figures for Blue. Not bad. Great game by Darius (outside of his couple freshman moments) and Novak had a great first half. Whole team, especially Manny, seemed tentative at times. Harris killed us. If he plays well, Blue might win that game.

  • Giddings

    2nd half felt a whole lot like the Illinois game. Can’t buy a bucket and when we did play good defense, OSU would throw up a shot, miss, but get a perfect bounce off the rim to one of their players.

    26% shooting in that 2nd half. And despite our good 3-point shooting in the 1st, we ended up right about on our average at 29%.

  • maxwell’s demon

    That’s a good point AG2. I’d say OSU’s starting five can play with just about anybody but depth certainly matters in tourney play.

  • ZRL

    OSU will not lose to any team in the tournament, they will lose to some crappy ref who decides to call 2 early fouls on Turner and put him on the bench for the whole half.

  • Merlin

    No one said Ekpe Udoh sucks-nobody. He was a huge loss.

    Today too little from Sims and Manny-what can you say-Manny has very little game right now. Is that Beilein’s fault that Manny has not improved where as Turner is just fantastic. Its almost certain Manny is not going to make the NBA right now-whether he leaves that is another question-I hope not and I hope he really works on his game. LLP played good D today but his shot is not there. Novak battles as usual-he is a good piece if the others play well. D Morris really improving fast-good defender. Stu got something going today but Stu on Turner was instant 2 for OSU.

  • AG2

    Turner is clearly ready for the pros. Frankly, I think Buford is gone too.

    That being said, ZRL you have to be crazy to think that OSU won’t run into a team that will actually push them. Beating slow Big Ten teams with very little depth themselves is one thing, but what happens if they run into Mizzou with that swarming speed? What happens if they run into Mississippi State’s size? Not to mention teams that have just as much talent as they do later in the tourney.

  • Brian W

    Merlin’s right about Manny. Manny mentioned in an interview after the last game about getting better next season, so hopefully that’s a sign that he knows that he needs to improve before going pro. Not hitting the free throws near the end and then getting stripped under the basket… that was frustrating.

    The announcers on TV were really irritating me in regards to Turner. Yeah, he’s great, but they’re endless a## kissing for Turner was almost like a Tim Tebow-Gary Danielson love-fest. Sheesh.

    It was great to see Stu find his shot and get some confidence… Was also nice to see them not relying on the three quite as much and attacking more, especially in the first half.

    Need to beat Minnesota and find a way to beat Sparty next week.

  • JB

    we need more talent asap.if ziegler doesn’t come to michigan, i hope we can still get a decent third recruit.

    on another note, thad matta is clueless.

  • AG2

    Could Steve Lavin have ridden Evan Turner’s jock any harder? “Arguing his case like a lawyer?” Are you kidding me? More like “whining to the refs like he’s already in the NBA.”

    Even next year OSU probably won’t go more than 7 deep, and they’ll probably end up starting a lot of freshmen.

    As for us, it is what it is. We don’t have all the pieces yet.

  • gpsimms

    i didn’t get to see this game, but the fact we were winning at half, and hung on until (kind of) late is pretty impressive. i’m really curious to see how osu fares in the tourney. in a 5 on 5 game, they can (maybe even sould) beat anyone, but it will be interesting to see if their lack of depth kills them sometime in the second weekend.

    anyway, most everyone has packed it in…but the kids sound like they’re playing hard even when there’s pretty much nothing left to play for. i hope they just put it all on the line and play a great last game against msu. i know we have no chance, but wouldn’t it be fun if we made them not win the title?

  • Deacon Blues

    Lauderdale sucks?

    Jeff Van Gundy (random, I know) says it best: People have a bad habit in basketball of focusing on what players can’t do instead of what they can.

    Sure, Lauderdale has limited skills. Probably won’t amount to much professionally. But, as Dylan said, he can defend bigs and he clearly can finish. In other words, he brings something.

    And it’s not something everyone in college basketball has. Look at us.

  • Turner looks awfully good to me. Sloppy dribbler, though, and M exploited the fact. Jeebus, we just make a few shots in EVERY FREAKIN GAME we are right there w. everyone we played. Hope the angry Michigan Hatin’ Gods lift their edict next yr.

  • maxwell’s demon

    I bet Beilein would love to have a Lauderdale next year. He’s a fine compliment to the rest of the talent on their team.

  • noah tahl

    Since Deacon made a great point about only looking at what players can’t do, how about stirring up the pot in regards to Michigan’s roster, both good and bad.

    1. Manny Harris – Good; dribble drive and finish,defend,find the open man, ft shooting, rebound. Bad; dribble drive and don’t finish, falls asleep on d when his shot is not falling, turnovers.

    2. Deshawn Sims – Good; nice post moves underneath, active under offensive board, unselfish. Bad; terrible hands,does not utilize his quickness to his advantage on the defensive end, inconsistent shot and free throw shooter.

    3.Zack Novack – Good; hustle, help defense, does not turn the ball over. Bad; shooting inside, outside and ft’ up countless rebounds because of size and an inability to jump.

    4. Stu Douglass – Good; passes ball well and sees the court.nice stroke from outside. Bad; defense, taking ball to hoop, ft’s.

    5. D Morris – Good; defends,hustle, takes ball to basket. Bad; has no outside shot,ft’s need work.

    6. LLP – Good; nice looking form on shot, defends well, ft’s, rebounds, hustle. Bad; hot and ice cold shooter, can’t finish on drives to basket, turnovers.

    7. Zack Gibson – Good; shoots well, both inside and out. Bad; out of control, falls asleep too often on defense, bad hands.

    This team lost confidence early on with losses to Marquette,Alabama, and Utah. The offense they run is predictable and therefore easy to defend.Consider this year as either a learning experience for Belein or the begining of the end for his coaching career.

  • ZRL

    AG2, what I meant by my previous comment is that OSU will run into some chump ref (cough, Jim Burr, cough) in the second round who will call a couple crap fouls on Turner and OSU will be toast.

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