On John Beilein’s 60th birthday, #3 Michigan Basketball will host #10 Ohio State on Tuesday night at Crisler Center. Tip off is scheduled for 9pm and the game will be televised on ESPN. The game has been declared a Maize Out, which means wear Maize. Don’t be that person who shows up in the gray or blue shirt. ESPN The Magazine will be on site capturing the event as part of its “One Day, One Game” issue on Michigan basketball.
Michigan had ascended to #1 in the AP Poll last week, but a loss at Indiana on Saturday saw the Wolverines and Hoosiers flip spots in the rankings. Indiana is now #1 and as mentioned above, Michigan is #3. Previous to Saturday, Michigan’s only loss came at Ohio State. The Wolverines will be looking to avenge that and maintain their streak of not losing back-to-back games in either of the past two seasons.
The Buckeyes beat Wisconsin and Nebraska last week to run their record to 17-4, 7-2. Ohio State has the Big Ten’s leading scorer in DeShaun Thomas (20.0) and they have a version of Trey Burke kyrptonite in Aaron Craft. In 4 career games against Craft’s very hands on style of defense, Burke is shooting just 33% from the field with 14 assists and 20 turnovers. “Every time I play against Craft it makes me better,” Burke said on Monday. “Going into the film session I can see what I can do to get better.”
Michigan will need bigger contributions from their young guns if they are going to cap Beilein’s 60th birthday with a victory. Against Indiana, Nik Stauskas (10 points on 3-10 shooting) and Glenn Robinson III (2 point on 1-6 shooting) struggled. This is a fact not lost on Michigan’s point guard. “We have to get the freshman going early,” Burke explained. “That is something that we failed to do in Columbus.” Another key factor in both of Michigan’s losses was they got ambushed in the opening minutes by both Indiana and Ohio State. “We have to come out with high-intensity and throw the first punch,” Trey Burke said at Monday’s press conference.
It will be a welcome treat for the Wolverines to play at home in front of a frenzied crowd that will, hopefully, be completely decked out in maize. Watch for a big game from Tim Hardaway Jr, who is playing the best basketball of his career. He is averaging a career best in points (15.6), rebounds (4.8), assists (2.3), field goal percentage (48.3) and three-point field percentage (41.0). Additionally Hardaway has developed into a defensive stopper for the Wolverines and a team leader.
Freshman big man Mitch McGary continues to get better. He performed very well going head-to-head with Cody Zeller at Indiana on Saturday. He had 10 points, 7 boards and 2 steals and the stats don’t even tell the story on how great his impact was. McGary’s energy and relentless style of play continually spark the Wolverines and quite often lead to fast break opportunities.
This game has all the makings of a knock-down drag-out Big Ten affair. However, don’t be surprised if, fueled by the home crowd, Michigan pulls away from Ohio State.
Predictions: So far this season I am 21-1 and Joe is 19-3 predicting the outcome of Michigan Basketball games. We both like Michigan to win this one.
Michigan will be wearing all maize against the Buckeyes; jersey, shorts, shoes and socks.
Michigan remains the odds on favorite to win the 2013 NCAA Tournament
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