When Michigan and Ohio State met on Feb. 4, both teams were 4-6 in the Big Ten and had fallen out of the AP Top 25 after early-season appearances in the top-five. Neither looked like a definite NCAA Tournament team. Now, as they prepare to meet again Sunday, both are firmly on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble thanks to solid February performances that have helped both return to the top 25.
The No. 19 Wolverines (18-10, 9-8) have won five of their last six, while the No. 23 Buckeyes (19-9, 9-8) have won four of their last five. Ohio State won the first meeting 61-58 at Michigan. This time, they will square off again in front of a sellout crowd at Value City Arena.
- When: Sunday, 4 p.m. ET
- Where: Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio
- TV: CBS | Connected TV: CBS All-Access
- Live stream: CBSSports.com | Mobile: CBS Sports App
Michigan: Wisconsin snapped the Wolverines' five-game winning streak on Thursday, but there is no shame in losing to the surging Badgers. Michigan is playing better basketball than it was a month ago, thanks in part to the emergence of Franz Wagner. The freshman forward is averaging 16.7 points and seven rebounds over his last four games after averaging 10.1 points and 5.3 rebounds over his first 20 games. Wagner went just 2 for 12 in the first meeting. The Wolverines were also without Isaiah Livers in the first meeting. The junior forward has been injury-prone this season but has averaged 13.4 points and made 44.4% of his 3-pointers in the 18 games he has played. He should be available Sunday.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes are honoring their 1960 national championship team at halftime. There have been moments when this Ohio State team looks capable of winning the university's first national title since then. The Buckeyes beat three top-10 teams before Christmas and earned a No. 2 national ranking before losing six of their next seven. They appear to have found stable footing again while navigating the treacherous Big Ten. Having a consistent interior force like Kaleb Wesson helps. The junior forward finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds in the first meeting. Wesson has 11 double-doubles this season. Starting forward Kyle Young is doubtful for the game with an ankle injury.
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Game prediction, pick
Latest odds via SportsLine: Ohio State -3.5
With a healthy Livers and surging Wagner, this is a different Michigan team than the one the Buckeyes saw a few weeks ago. Expect the Wolverines to play like it and cover against a Buckeyes team has a couple of Big Ten home losses on its resume. Pick: Michigan +3.5