Ohio St.-Michigan Preview

The memory of another frustrating loss to rival Ohio State last

month remains vivid in the collective minds of the Michigan

basketball team.

With that defeat as motivation, the No. 17 Wolverines try to

avoid a seventh consecutive loss to the sixth-ranked Buckeyes on

Saturday night in a Big Ten matchup at Crisler Arena.

Michigan (19-7, 9-4) trailed by three at halftime at Ohio State

on Jan. 29, but the Buckeyes used a 14-2 run midway through the

second half to win 64-49. By the end of the game, Buckeye fans

added insult to the result by singing “We Don’t Give A Damn For the

Whole State of Michigan.”

“It goes both ways, but we’ll be looking forward to (the next

meeting),” Michigan coach John Beilein said after the game.

The rematch is here, in a prime-time setting and on a court

where the Wolverines have won 15 straight dating to last


“(Ohio State is a) really good basketball team, but we’ve worked

hard and we feel good about the direction we’ve gone this week to

get ready,” Beilein told Michigan’s official website. “It certainly

is advantageous to get a win.”

Michigan is one game behind Big Ten co-leaders Ohio State (22-4,

10-3) and Michigan State, but has lost 15 of 17 against the

Buckeyes. Though Ohio State’s only two losses during that stretch

have come over the last four games in Ann Arbor, the Buckeyes have

held the Wolverines to an average of 58.3 points on 41.7 percent

shooting during the six-game overall winning streak in the series

that dates to a 73-64 loss at Crisler on Jan. 3, 2010.

The Wolverines shot 35.8 percent at Ohio State last month.

“Their defense was really suffocating at times,” said Beilein,

whose team has won two in a row and three of four since that


Tim Hardaway Jr. had 15 points and star freshman Trey Burke

added 14 as the Wolverines went 23 of 46 from the field in Sunday’s

70-61 home victory over Illinois.

Hardaway has scored 15 points in each of the last three meetings

with Ohio State while Burke (14.0 points, 4.8 assists per game)

added 13 but also had five turnovers against the Buckeyes last

month. Despite Burke’s troubles handling the ball in his hometown

of Columbus, Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft knows he’ll likely be in

for a handful against the talented point guard this time.

“Trey’s a great player,” said Craft, who had seven points and

four assists versus Michigan last month. “You know he’s going to be

in attack mode all the whole game.”

Ohio State sophomore and Burke’s former high school teammate

Jared Sullinger managed 13 points while dealing with foul trouble

against the Wolverines in January, but fellow sophomore Lenzelle

Smith Jr. helped pick up the slack with 17 points and 12


Sullinger has averaged 20.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in four

games since that contest. He had 23 points and eight boards Tuesday

as the Buckeyes won 78-68 at Minnesota, bouncing back from a 58-48

home loss to seventh-ranked Michigan State three days prior.

William Buford, held to four points on 2-of-12 shooting against

the Spartans, finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and five

assists at Minnesota.

“We just need to get that element of toughness back and keep

playing hard,” Sullinger said. “Five guys together. When you do

that, you’re pretty hard to beat.”

Ohio State snapped a four-game road skid against Top 25

opponents with a 58-52 victory at then-No. 19 Wisconsin on Feb.