NCAA Sunday Afternoon Basketball: Ohio State/Michigan Preview

by Big Al Staff

The CBS Sunday afternoon college basketball game features a Big Ten battle between two of the top-four teams in the nation.

Michigan took the court for the first time since January 22nd last Sunday at Wisconsin after a three-week pause after the athletic department shut down all activities. The Wolverines fell behind by 14 points before holding the Badgers to 7 of 28 shooting in the second half in a 67-59 victory as a small favorite.

Michigan followed up that victory with a 71-64 win at home against Rutgers as a 9.5-point favorite on Thursday. Sophomore Franz Wagner scored 20 points to improve his 12.6 points-per-game scoring average. Hunter Dickinson added 10 points and eight rebounds. The freshman leads the team with a 14.6 points-per-game scoring average along with a 7.8 rebounds-per-game mark. Senior Isaiah Livers's 14.5 points-per-game average is second on the team. Three other players score at least 8.1 points-per-game for head coach Juwan Howard.

With a 15-1 record on the season, Michigan ranks third in the nation in the Associated Press poll. The Wolverines lead the Big Ten with a 10-1 record. Their lone loss was at Minnesota. This contest will be Michigan’s just sixth game away from Crisler Arena this season, but they have nice wins on the road at Maryland, Purdue, and at the Kohl Center last Sunday against Wisconsin.

Michigan ranks seventh in adjusted offensive efficiency according to the metrics at kenpom. The Wolverines are 15th with a 56.3% shooting percentage inside the arc, which helps elevate their effective field goal percentage to 56.6%, tenth nationally. They are making 38.0% of their 3-point shots, ranking 24th nationally. Michigan registers an assist in 57.7% rate of their made field goals, 54th nationally. Only 6.5% of their shot attempts are getting blocked, 28th nationally.

The Wolverines are 7th in adjusted defensive efficiency at kenpom. They are second in opponent’s effective field goal percentage with a 43.1% mark. Michigan is also second nationally by limiting their opponents to just 40.6% shooting inside the arc. These opponents make 32.0% of their 3-pointers, 92nd nationally. This team does not foul as they rank 22nd nationally in foul-rate. They block 12.8% of their opponent’s shots, 31st nationally. They hold their opponents to just a 43.5% assist rate, 23rd nationally.

Ohio State won their seventh straight game on Thursday in a 92-82 win at Penn State as a 4.5-point favorite. The Buckeyes trails by 8 points at one point but a 15-0 run in the second half propelled them to the victory. E.J. Liddell scored 23 points. The sophomore leads the team that can go eleven deep from their bench with a 15.5 points-per-game scoring average.

Head coach Chris Holtmann returned five of the nine players that played at least 10 minutes per game last year for the group that finished 21-10 with nine wins in their final twelve Big Ten games. Holtmann then added three impact transfers in the offseason: Abel Porter was the starting point guard at Utah State; Justice Sueing scored 14.6 points-per-game as a sophomore at California; Seth Towns is a former Ivy League Player of the Year at Harvard.

The Buckeyes opened the Big Ten season by losing two of their first three games. Yet Holtmann has seen his team win ten of their last eleven games to rise to third place in the highly-competitive conference with a 12-4 record. Ohio State has lost to Minnesota, Northwestern, and twice to Purdue. The Buckeyes have Purdue while notching two wins apiece against defeated Wisconsin, Maryland, and Rutgers. They also have a resume-building victory against UCLA in non-conference play. With an 18-4 overall record, Ohio State ranks fourth in the current Associated Press poll.

The Buckeyes are third in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency, according to the numbers at kenpom. They are 19th in free throw rate. Ohio State is 62nd in adjusted defensive efficiency at kenpom. Holtmann’s team is third in the Big Ten by holding their opponents to an effective field goal percentage of 48.7%.

BookMaker lists this matchup as a pick ‘em with the total set at 146. The CBS broadcast begins at 1 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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