OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (17-4)
at MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (20-2)
Crisler Center - Ann Arbor, MI
Tip-off: Tuesday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Michigan -8, Total: 133
Big Ten rivals square off in a showdown of two top-10 teams on Tuesday night when No. 10 Ohio State visits No. 3 Michigan.
The Buckeyes are seeking a fifth straight win, blowing out these four conference foes by an average of 9.8 PPG during the win streak. They are also looking to sweep the season series with the Wolverines, beating them 56-53 in Columbus on Jan. 13. Michigan is coming off a loss at new-No. 1 Indiana, but the team is 28-1 SU at Crisler Center in the past two seasons, including 13-0 SU (7-4 ATS) at home this season. Ohio State has dominated this series recently though, going 17-3 SU (11-9 ATS) in the past 20 meetings, but Michigan won last season's home meeting over then-No. 6 Ohio State by a 56-51 score.
Can Michigan blow out its Big Ten rival on Tuesday night? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season StatFox Gary is 9-4 ATS (69%) in his past six days of Best Bets, boosting his season record to 56.3% ATS (72-56-1). StatFox Dave has gone 15-11 ATS (58%) in the past eight days to move to 53% ATS (114-101-3) for the season.
Ohio State's offense is nothing special, averaging 71.7 PPG (80th in nation), but it does shoot pretty well from the floor (45.9% FG) and from three-point range (37.4%). The Buckeyes commit just 11.2 TOPG (21st in nation) and outrebound teams by +4.8 RPG. But where they really thrive is on the defensive end, as OSU ranks among the nation's top-20 teams in both scoring defense (57.3 PPG) and FG Pct. defense (37.8%). PF Deshaun Thomas leads the Big Ten with 20.0 PPG thanks to a 47% FG clip and making 82% of his free throws. Thomas has not played well in his past two road games though, averaging just 13.0 PPG on 10-of-31 FG at Penn State and Nebraska. But he has no trouble getting up for Michigan with three straight 20-point performances (22.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG) in this series. Thomas tallied 25 points and 13 rebounds in the loss at Ann Arbor last season. Junior SG Lenzelle Smith, Jr. (10.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG) was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field (3-for-3 threes) in Saturday's win at Nebraska, finishing with a season-high 21 points. Smith had a double-double (17 pts, 12 reb) in the home win over Michigan last season, but scored just five points in the final two meetings. In last month's victory, he had just four points, but grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. PG Aaron Craft (9.2 PPG, 4.7 APG, 1.9 SPG) has a strong 2.45 Ast/TO ratio and has been starting to drive the basketball better, averaging 11.5 PPG in his past four games, thanks to 17-of-21 FT. Backup PG Shannon Scott (5.2 PPG, 4.0 APG, 1.7 SPG) has been outstanding in taking care of the basketball, as his 3.32 Ast/TO ratio ranks third in the country. But Scott hasn't seen much time during this four-game win streak (13.5 MPG), which has translated into just as many turnovers (5) as assists (5) during this stretch. C Amir Williams (4.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG) has been a presence in the paint with a team-best 1.62 BPG and has pulled down 14 rebounds in the past two games combined.
Michigan's offense is outstanding in many facets, scoring 77.8 PPG (16th in nation) on 50.5% FG (3rd in D-I) and 40.2% three-pointers (8th in nation). The Wolverines commit the second-fewest turnovers in the land (9.4 TOPG) and also rank second in Ast/TO ratio at 1.64. The team also benefits greatly from committing the fewest personal fouls in the entire country at 12.1 per game. Michigan is driven by it's outstanding backcourt of PG Trey Burke (18.2 PPG, 7.2 APG) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG). Bothe players shoot better than 48% from the floor and 37% from three-point range with Hardaway Jr. knocking down 41% of his treys. Burke ranks second in the nation with a 3.76 Ast/TO ratio. But the duo was just 9-of-28 (3-of-11 threes) in last month's loss in Columbus. F/G Nik Stauskas (12.5 PPG) also struggled versus the Buckeyes, going scoreless (0-for-3 FG) in 23 minutes of action. But since that game, Stauskas has 11.6 PPG on 9-of-23 threes, moving him to fourth in the nation with an impressive 48.2% clip from three-point range. Freshman F Glenn Robinson III (11.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG) has scored at least 12 points in three straight games before a woeful showing on Saturday night. Despite playing all 40 minutes, Robinson finished with two points (1-of-6 FG) and four rebounds in the loss at Indiana. Junior C Jordan Morgan (6.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG) was able to return to the court after missing last Wednesday's game with a sprained ankle, but played just two minutes. PF Mitch McGary (5.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG) played very well against the Hoosiers with 10 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench. He now has 8.7 RPG in the past three games despite averaging just 19.7 MPG.