Who: Michigan (6-6) vs. Ohio State (10-3)
Ohio State makes the trip north to Crisler Arena to take on a Michigan team in disarray. The good news for Michigan is that Ohio State will be without the services of Evan Turner who is recovering from a fractured vertebrate in his back.
Ohio State got waxed in Madison, Wisconsin in their Big Ten opener, falling to the Badgers 65-43. But that’s not to say they aren’t with out talent. William Buford and David Lighty are the main scoring options on the wing while Jon Diebler can flat out shoot the rock, even if he can’t do much more.
Inside the Buckeyes look to Dallas Lauderdale (one of the best shot blockers in the Big Ten), Nikola Kecman, and Kyle Madsen. For the first time in a few years, the Buckeyes are without a sterling post prospect in the mold of Greg Oden, Kosta Koufas, or BJ Mullens.
One of my biggest worries is that Ohio State has the ability to shutdown Michigan’s “big two” of Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims. Lighty has the length, athleticism, and experience to stick with Harris while Lauderdale has the size and tenacity to stop Peedi in the post.
The Buckeyes statistical profile is very pretty, even if most of it stems from the Buckeye team that had Evan Turner, the most complete player in the conference. On offense, Ohio State shoots it at a very high percentage. Their 57.9% 2 point percentage and 40.6% 3 point percentage combine for a 59.1% eFG% which ranks third in the nation. The two guys to watch outside the arc are Jon Diebler (48.3%) and Jeremie Simmons (51.2%).
They do a very good job of valuing the basketball (17.3% TO%, 29th) but they don’t really crash the glass (30% OR%). The Buckeyes don’t get to the line all that often, especially without Turner, except for David Lighty but he is only 33/58 on the year from the stripe (57%).
Defensively Ohio State is solid across the board. They play strong field goal percentage defense (45.2 eFG% allowed), force a number of turnovers, and are solid on the defensive glass.
Losing Evan Turner was a huge blow for Ohio State but I still have a relatively hard time seeing Michigan winning this game. Michigan is 0-5 against RPI top 200 teams this year and 5-2 against teams outside of the top 200. To emphasize: Michigan hasn’t beaten a top 200 team this year.
Can they beat the Buckeyes? Michigan should certainly be able to play with Ohio State, but at this point it’s tough to predict a win in any game.