Michigan and Ohio State did not meet on the football field in 2020 as the Wolverines struggled through COVID-19 issues, but the rivals' lone scheduled basketball meeting Sunday on CBS is set to make up for the canceled gridiron clash. The No. 3 Wolverines and No. 4 Buckeyes are both in the mix for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and have been especially hot as of late.
Michigan (15-1, 10-1 Big Ten) has won four straight overall, including two in a row since returning last Sunday from a 23-day break between games. Ohio State (18-4, 12-4) has won seven in a row, though, and could still compete for the league title with a win over the Wolverines. This will be the 16th time these teams have met when both are ranked, but it will be their best-ever combined ranking for a game in the series.
Unlike in football, a regular season game cannot make or break a basketball season, and both these squads are headed towards great NCAA Tournament seeds regardless of what happens Sunday. But this top-five clash between rivals could provide a peek at who is more likely to make a deep postseason run, and it should be one of the best games this season in the ultra-competitive Big Ten.
- When: Saturday, 1 p.m. ET
- Where: Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio
- TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
- OTT: CBS Sports App (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast)
Michigan: Michigan is limiting opponents to 32% 3-point shooting in Big Ten games, which is the second-best mark in the conference. The Wolverines' 39.2% 3-point shooting mark in league games is second in the conference. In short, the Wolverines are winning the battle from beyond the arc. But they are also lethal in the paint, where 7-1 center Hunter Dickinson is making a run at being the league's freshman of the year and is the team's leading scorer at 14.6 points per game. But he has plenty of help with Isaiah Livers and Franz Wagner, who are versatile forwards with good size and the ability score from multiple spots.
Ohio State: E.J. Liddell has been a monster recently, averaging 18.1 points per game during the Buckeyes' seven-game winning streak. The 6-7 sophomore forward is a tad undersized but is a solid shot blocker nonetheless and is one the most-improved players in the country. While his interior play accounts for a good bit of the team's recent success, the Buckeyes also ranked second in made 3-pointers per game at 8.6 during league play. In short, this is an elite offensive team. If there's a question for Ohio State to address its interior defense. No one taller than 6-8 is part of the regular rotation, and that means defending Dickinson could be a challenge.
Game prediction, pick
The Buckeyes are the real deal, but Michigan is the best team they will have played this season. The Wolverines haven't missed a beat since their long layoff and have the length and athleticism to be the first team since Purdue on Jan. 19 to hold Ohio State under 70 points.. Prediction: Michigan 75, Ohio State 68 (MICH +1.5)
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