|Michigan at Ohio State
Tuesday, Feb. 16 | Columbus, Ohio | 7 p.m. ET | ESPN
|Line: Ohio State -1.5
||Field Goal %
||3-pt FG %
||Free Throw %
||Field Goal %
||3-pt FG %
|Caris LeVert (16.5), Derrick Walton (12.0)
||Marc Loving (12.5), Keita Bates-Diop (12.1)
|Derick Walton (5.7), Caris LeVert (5.3)
||Keita Bates-Diop (6.6), Jae’Sean Tate (6.3)
This season, Michigan only gets to play its two major rivals once apiece. The Wolverines dropped their only meeting with Michigan State, but now get a chance to take bragging rights from Ohio State when they battle in Columbus tonight.
The Buckeyes are amongst a rare down year with a really young team. At 16-10 overall and 8-5 in the Big Ten, Ohio State won’t make the NCAA Tournament unless they run through the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. But with two games against Michigan State, a game against Iowa, and a visit to Nebraska remaining, OSU sees Michigan as its best chance to pick up another win before the regular season ends.
Ohio State is led in scoring by junior forward Marc Loving (6-foot-7, 220) and his 12.5 points per game. But after starting Big Ten play with games of 20 and 27 points, he hasn’t scored more than 15 points in a game since. He was held scoreless against Rutgers on Saturday and is shooting just 25.7 percent in the past month. He has nearly as many turnovers (18) as field goals (19) during that span.
Sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop (6-foot-7, 235) is the second leading scorer at 121 points per game and leading rebounder at 6.6 rebounds per game. He carried the Buckeyes in Saturday’s win over Rutgers with 24 points and 14 boards, his second double-double in the past five games and fifth of the season. He scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the second meeting against Michigan last season.
Sophomore forward Jae’Sean Tate (6-foot-4, 225) is the third Buckeye who has started every game this season. He averages 11.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest and scored a season-high 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting against Rutgers on Saturday. His main weakness is free throw shooting where he averages just 51.3 percent despite having taken the third-most attempts on the team.
Freshman guard JaQuan Lyle (6-foot-5, 210) has started 22 of 26 games and averages 9.9 points, four rebounds, and a team-leading 4.5 assists per game. He’s not a major threat from three-point range where he shoots just 26.2 percent. After making 4-of-7 three-point attempts against Indiana on Jan. 10, he has made just 6-of-27 (22.2 percent) in the nine games since. But he did lead Ohio State with 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting and 3-of-6 three-point shooting at Wisconsin last week.
Sophomore center Trevor Thompson (6-foot-11, 250) is the fifth starter, averaging 6.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He leads the team in field goal percentage (54.8 percent) and has a season high of 16 points against Illinois on Jan. 28.
Redshirt sophomore guard Kam Williams (6-foot-2, 180), freshman forward/center Daniel Giddens (6-foot-10, 230), and freshman guard A.J. Harris (5-foot-9, 165) are the main reserves, averaging 8.0, 3.9, and 2.8 points per game, respectively. Williams is the team’s best three-point shooter, averaging 48.8 percent. Although three other players have attempted more threes than Williams, he leads the team with 40 makes. He has been up and down as of late with 19 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting against Rutgers on Saturday, but just two points on 0-of-6 shooting against Northwestern a week ago. Giddens leads the team with 1.7 blocked shots per game, but isn’t a huge offensive threat. He hasn’t scored double figures since the season opener. Harris had his two best three-point shooting days (2-of-3 in each) against Kentucky and Maryland, but hasn’t hit multiple threes in any other game.
As a team, Ohio State ranks 10th in the Big Ten in scoring (70.9 points per game) and seventh in scoring defense (66.3). They’re the ninth-best shooting team (44.4 percent) and 11th-best three-point shooting team (34.3 percent), but do have a pretty good defense, ranking third in shooting defense (39.3 percent) and fifth against the three (33.5 percent). The Buckeyes’ main weakness is that they rank last in the conference with a 65.7 free throw percentage.
Michigan is the better team, but Ohio State will be ready to capture the season’s only meeting in the friendly confines of Value City Arena. They’ll have some new LeBron James kicks to wear and will honor former Buckeye Evan Turner, who Michigan fans would love to forget, at halftime. This should be an evenly contested game that goes right down to the wire, and if it comes down to free throws I like Michigan’s chances.