Well, that didn’t go as well as I’d planned..
School: University of Michigan
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Student Population: 42,716 total, 27,407 undergrad
School Type: Public – Land Grant
Stadium: Crisler Center
Head Coach: John Beilein
Experience: 6th year at UM
The 11th ranked Buckeyes (17-4, 7-2) travel to the Crisler Center to complete the season series with the #1 ranked Wolverines (20-2, 7-2). The last time these teams met, Ohio State was ranked 15th and Michigan ranked #2. Since then, both OSU and UM have gone 4-1. This is the second of a two-game road trip for Ohio State, while Michigan returns home to begin a two-game home stand.
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 (formerly) top ranked Wolverines have continued to roll since their loss in Columbus, winning their 4 games by an average of 15 points, while coming off a tough loss at Bloomington. Their offensive efficiency continues to be impressive; starter’s stats below.
The Buckeyes are on a bit of a streak, winning four consecutive games. Despite the lackluster win at Nebraska on Saturday, there were several positive takeaways. It was a conference road win, Lenzelle Smith Jr. had a spectacular shooting night, and the Bucks can draw and make free throws.
Aside from that, I hope the team was looking forward to the Michigan game, because this did not look like a top 10 team playing a conference weak sister. OSU matched Nebraska in ball handling (8 assists, 11 turnovers), were out rebounded by the Huskers (30-34 total, 6-13 offensive) and generally shot the ball poorly, 39%. Don’t be lulled be looking at the box score and noticing three Buckeyes in double figures (Thomas 15, Craft 14 and Smith Jr. 21). Thomas and Craft were a combined 10-30 (30%). Not good. In fact, remove Smith from the calculation, and as a tem, OSU shot 30% from the field. You can do that and win at Nebraska; you won’t be able to do that at Michigan.
The usual cast of characters, below. Key stats for starters:
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).
|| Off Reb
|| FT Rate
|| PPP (O)
|| PPP (D)
Michigan won’t put a big team on the floor with Burke (6‘0“), Hardaway Jr. (6‘6“), Stauskas (6‘6“), Robinson III (6’6”) and Morgan (6’8”). OSU counters with Craft (6’2”), Smith (6’4”), Thomas (6’7”), Thompson (6’7”) and Williams (6’11). The Michigan offense runs through Columbus native Trey Burke, who leads the team is several categories (team chart above), but he has a lot of help, as the same chart indicates.
Sure it did!
The Buckeye perimeter defense will be challenged by UM’s ability to shoot well from any spot on the floor, and Burke’s ability to create assists off his drives. I expect Evan Ravenal 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. Fortunately, Amir Williams has put together a couple nice rebounding games lately, and the Bucks need that to continue.
Ohio State needs to play very efficiently and fundamentally sound on Tuesday night. As UM showed on Saturday, they managed to come back from an early Indiana blitz and nearly pulled off the upset in Bloomington. As you saw from Michigan’s offensive stats, they are very capable of making scoring runs them selves. This is where the Bucks will need the steady hands, clear heads and patience of the upper classmen. In the previous meeting between these teams, OSU jumped out to a 1st half lead with good shooting, out rebounded UM and generally handled the ball better. No reason they can’t repeat that. Since OSU’s next game isn’t until February 10th, there is no ‘looking ahead’. Total focus is where is always should be; defeating Michigan.
Tip-off is Tuesday February 5th at 9:00PM the Crisler Center. Please join us for the live blog at 8:45. The game is televised on ESPN.