Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Longtime rivals square off in a Big Ten Conference matchup at Value City Arena on Tuesday night, as the 15th-ranked Michigan Wolverines battle the 22nd-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.
Michigan is out to recover from an 85-67 rout at the hands on Iowa on Saturday. The loss was the second in the last three games for the Wolverines, who are still a solid 17-6 overall, which includes a 9-2 league ledger, tying them for first place with ninth-ranked Michigan State. A date against Wisconsin is next on the schedule.
Ohio State has 19-5 overall mark, but is just 6-5 in conference action. The Buckeyes have begun to pick up steam of late, however, with wins in three straight contests, including a 67-49 triumph over Purdue on Saturday. They will visit Illinois next time out.
This is the only scheduled meeting between these foes, whose rivalry is more storied on the football field, but still has plenty of history on the hardwood. Ohio State has the edge in the all-time series (93-73), but the teams split the season series last year, with the two games decided by a combined five points.
Michigan got beat up on the inside in the recent loss to Iowa. The Wolverines were outrebounded, 38-29, and also outscored in the paint, 24-18. As a team, they shot just 42.3 percent from the field, with Caris LeVert leading the way with 22 points.
It was an uncharacteristic showing offensively for Michigan against Iowa, The Wolverines are one of the most efficient scoring teams in the country, ranking 17th in field goal percentage (.484). The struggles on the boards were not so unprecedented, with the Wolverines last in the Big Ten in rebounds (32.7 rpg). Nik Stauskas (17 ppg, 3.7 apg) is the leader among three players averaging in double figures. The 6-foot-6 guard is most deadly from beyond the arc, where he shoots at a 44.4 percent clip. Also aiding the cause are Glenn Robinson III (13.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and LeVert (12.6 ppg)
Ohio State put forth an impressive defensive showing in the recent win over Purdue. The Buckeyes forced 15 turnovers, while committing only seven, to lead to an 18-6 scoring differential off takeaways. They also held the Boilermakers to 42 percent shooting. LaQuinton Ross scored 17 points to pace the victors.
Lighting up the scoreboard against the Buckeyes is certainly no easy proposition, as the squad ranks ninth in the country in scoring defense (58.9 ppg). Keeping passing lanes closed has been the key, with foes only assisting on 8.9 field goals per game, the third-best mark in the nation. Ross (14.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Lenzelle Smith Jr. (12 ppg) are the team's go-to scorers. Smith had 16 points against Purdue and Ross extended his streak in double figures to a season-best eight games. Amir Williams (9.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg) lends support as the top rebounder and Aaron Craft (9.3 ppg, 4.8 apg, 2.5 spg) and Shannon Scott (7.8 ppg, 2 apg) are aggressive defenders in the backcourt.