One of the most improved, and most impressive teams this season, the Michigan Wolverines arrive in Columbus undefeated. Their 16-0 record includes an impressive win over currently 18th ranked NC State at home. Let’s give them a glance.
|School||University of Michigan|
|Location||Ann Arbor, MI|
|Student Population||42,716 total, 27,407 undergrad|
|School Type||Public – Land Grant|
|Head Coach||John Beilein|
|Experience||6th year at UM|
Here we go, another ‘Before we get started‘ commentary. I want to advise of my whatever-degrees of-freedom connection to this program. Beilein is a native of western New York, and as it turns out, I golf several times a year with Beilein’s brother-in-law. We’re gentlemanly enough to get off the course in a civil fashion, but during the round, I flog him mercilessly. Only somewhat related, when Beilein left West Virginia for UM, his successor was none other than Bob ‘Huggy Bear’ Huggins’. Bob and I are alumni of the same high school, and my brother and Bobby (as he was known back then) were on the same high school basketball teams.
Information will be pulled from the excellent site at Statsheet. I‘ll measure of teams capabilities that I will refer to will be the Four Factors; effective FG%, TO%, Off Rebounds Rate and FT Rate, as well as a couple other metrics just to flesh out the teams performances.
The #15 Buckeyes will host the #2 Wolverines this Sunday afternoon in Columbus. As you’ll see below, it’s a good thing it is a home game.
The second ranked Wolverines (16-0, 3-0) are a very good Michigan team, propelled by an efficient offense. They lead the Conference in points per game (84), point-per-possession (1.31 ), assists per game (19) and second fewest turnovers per game (8). They are last in the Conference in rebounds-per game (27), but since they are undefeated, it doesn’t appear to have hurt them too much. When you shoot the lights out like the Wolverines do, there aren’t that many rebounds to be had.
|#1||G. Robinson III||16||31.5||12.563||60.3||67.9||37.9||6.125||1.313||0.813||0.313||1.063|
|#10||T. Hardaway Jr||15||32.867||16.333||48.0||76.6||38.4||5.4||2.733||0.6||0.4||1.6|
The (now) 15th ranked Buckeyes (12-3, 2-1) play another ranked team, this time in the friendly confines (more on that later) of Value City Arena . The usual cast of characters, below. Key stats for the starters:
|#32||L. Smith Jr.||15||27.0||10.733||44.8||56.0||43.5||5.533||1.8||0.533||0.133||1.733|
The below table has the comparative Four Factors as well as possessions per game (PPP), points per possession – offense (PPP-O) and points allowed per possession (PPP-D).
The Buckeyes back-court will be defensively challenged due to UM ability to shoot well from 3-point range (41%) and be able to dish for assists. I expect Evan Ravenel to see significant and productive court time. The front line, and Lenzelle Smith, need to make a concerted effort to get offensive rebounds because OSU isn’t as offensively efficient as Michigan. A good way to offset that shortfall is to get offensive rebound put-backs. And it denies UM a transition possession.
If Ohio State plays with the intensity and energy that they began against Purdue, for the full 40 minutes, this will be an interesting game. If they don’t, it won’t. Earlier, I’d mentioned “friendly confines”, and it should be as true Sunday as ever. The Buckeyes need a full-throttle, high-energy level of effort to beat the Wolverines on Sunday. If you can even remotely make it to the game to provide high-volume support for your Buckeyes, please do so.
Tip-off is on January 13th at 1:35 at Value City Arena. Please join us for the live blog at 1:15. The game is televised on CBS.