It’s a shame Michigan and Ohio State are guaranteed to meet just once on the hardwood this season. That one time is tonight, as No. 22 Ohio State hosts No. 15 Michigan at 9 p.m. ET. It’s a huge game, both in terms of the rivalry and the Big Ten title race. Our guys offer their game analysis in this post.
[ MORE: AP: Michigan at Ohio State preview ]
Will Nik Stauskas bust out of his slump?
Tom Dienhart: No. Ohio State’s defense will clamp down on him. And I have to think Stauskas’ confidence is wavering a bit, too.
Brent Yarina: No. Considering small, quick guards are the ones giving Stauskas fits, his inevitable return isn’t likely against Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott.
Michigan wins if…
Dienhart: … Glenn Robinson III scores 15-20 points. He needs to find his rhythm as a shooter to take pressure off of Stauskas.
Yarina: … The defense can clamp down and make LaQuinton Ross Ohio State’s lone double-digit scorer.
Ohio State wins if…
Dienhart: … Amir Williams controls the paint by rebounding with passion while also scoring 8-10 points.
Yarina: … Shannon Scott continues to provide a spark in his new role as a reserve. After all, the Buckeyes are 3-0 since moving him to the bench.
Higher total tonight: Stauskas points or Craft steals AND assists?
Dienhart: Craft’s steals and assists. The guy is peaking at the right time, impacting games on multiple levels. Look for him to combine for 11-13 steals/assists.
Yarina: Stauskas’ points. Craft averages an aggregate 7.4 assists/steals on the season, and as bad as Stauskas has been the last three games, he’s averaged 8.3 points.
Higher total tonight: Zak Irvin 3-pointers or Amir Williams blocks?
Dienhart: Williams’ blocks. He has become Ohio State’s X-factor. Williams can guard the rim well, dissuading players from driving. If they drive, they get rejected. Look for at least a couple blocks tonight.
Yarina: Irvin’ 3-pointers. The freshman sharpshooter is on a tear, hitting eight of his last 15 treys in the last two games, and he should get plenty of looks as a result.
Dienhart: Ohio State 62, Michigan 58
Yarina: Ohio State 67, Michigan 63