OSU Michigan CBB

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Ohio State

vs.

Michigan

College Basketball

Pick

2/18/18

The Big Ten may be in a down year, but neither one of these teams has an easy close to the regular season. In its quest to win the regular season title, the Buckeyes still have to travel to Indiana in addition to this Game. As for the Wolverines, after taking on first place Ohio State, have to travel to Penn State and Maryland in back-to-back Games.

Ohio State and Michigan may not be a huge rivalry in basketball, but these schools still don’t like each other. They met what seemed like forever ago and it kind of was, back on Dec. 4, when neither team was considered all that good. The Wolverines led most of the way, but didn’t do enough to close the Game, while Ohio State made 12 more free throws with that being the difference. There wasn’t one guy that took control in that first Game with Moritz Wagner going for 14 points and nine boards, while Keita Bates-Diop had 18 and nine. Maybe the biggest thing was that point guards Zavier Simpson and CJ Jackson both came off the bench in that Game. Things have changed a lot since then as both are starters.

Michigan’s only home loss this season came unluckily by one point against Purdue. Other than that, they’ve scraped by against everyone from Maryland to Minnesota. As for the Bucks, they’ve already shown they can play their brand of basketball on the road taking down Purdue last week.

ACCording to the numbers, this is Ohio State’s Game to lose, second in the Conference in offensive efficiency and first on defense. Michigan’s defense has been an issue this season and is near the bottom in the Big Ten in field goal percentage allowed from inside the arc and out. It doesn’t help the Wolverines that they’re also last in the Conference in offensive rebounding percentage, while shooting at a mediocre rate from deep. But similar to the previous matchup, it may be best to throw numbers out the window.

Matchups will play a big role and it’s unknown how Michigan will deal with Bates-Diop, since Wagner will be used against Kaleb Wesson and Micah Potter. The Wolverines will hope Duncan Robinson and Isaiah Livers can do enough against Bates-Diop, but that’s only hoping. There’s a good chance they’ll try and go to some zones if they can’t defend Bates-Diop straight up. But on the other end, OSU will have issues stopping Wagner, who can stretch the floor against Wesson and win down low against Bates-Diop. It could be a similar situation as to when Michigan plays Purdue in that Wagner and Isaac Haas usually get whatever they want offensively.

Ohio State still doesn’t have suspended Kam Williams, but that hasn’t mattered much anyway. Jae’Sean Tate, CJ Jackson and Andre Wesson have been enough for the Buckeyes so far with Musa Jallow helping when needed. The good news is that Michigan has the size to deal with Tate in Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman or Charles Matthews.

The problem for the Wolverines is that they continually struggle on the offensive end. Wagner will get his buckets in this matchup, but second-leading scorer Matthews has been all over the place. Abdur-Rahkman usually has a size advantage at shooting guard and he’ll need to use his length against a bulkier Tate in this matchup. He’s been the only guy outside of Wagner that has produced consistently as of late.

If the Wolverines can stop Bates-Diop from going off, this will be a close Game throughout. Michigan isn’t a great free-throw shooting team, which will make them a tough team to back in close situations and that could happen here. But at home without any major matchup disadvantages, the Wolverines are in a good spot.

Our Pick – Ohio St +3