Game of the day: Michigan at Ohio State
Michigan Wolverines at Ohio State Buckeyes (-2)
Michigan is one of only two undefeated teams left in Division I basketball. The biggest test to the Wolverines’ undefeated record so far will come on Sunday, when they visit rival Ohio State. The 14th-ranked Buckeyes have struggled against highly-ranked opponents in the first half of the season, with each of their three losses coming against teams ranked in the top 11. Michigan has taken its first three Big Ten games by an average of 23.7 points.
The Wolverines have only played one ranked opponent so far - a 79-72 home win over then-No. 18 North Carolina State on Nov. 27 - but will be ramping up the schedule strength considerably over the next few weeks. Ohio State will put pressure on Michigan’s defense with Deshaun Thomas, who is leading the Big Ten in scoring at 20.3 points, and have a guard in Aaron Craft who is strong enough defensively to put pressure on Trey Burke.TV:
1:30 p.m. ET, CBSABOUT MICHIGAN (16-0, 3-0 Big Ten, 9-5 ATS):
The Wolverines got to ease into the Big Ten with Northwestern, Iowa and Nebraska but will play three of its next four games on the road against ranked teams. Michigan has made it up to No. 2 in the country thanks to an efficient offense led by Burke. The sophomore point guard ranks third in the conference in scoring (18.2 points) while setting the pace for the Big Ten in assists (7.3). Tim Hardaway Jr. has put up 18.3 points over the last three contests since returning from an ankle injury, and Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III are both capable of carrying the team for stretches. The Wolverines have only allowed two opponents to reach even 70 points on the defensive end and are coming off a 62-47 win over Nebraska on Wednesday.
ABOUT OHIO STATE (12-3, 2-1, 8-5 ATS):
The Buckeyes have had some trouble replacing Jared Sullinger’s presence on the inside and have Thomas averaging almost 10 more points than any other player. Thomas went for 24 points on 9-of-21 shooting but the rest of the cast shot 28.2 percent from the floor in a 74-55 loss at Illinois on Nov. 5 that knocked Ohio State out of the top 10. The Buckeyes looked like a different team three days later in a 74-64 win at Purdue. Craft (15) and Evan Ravenel (13) each stepped up to join Thomas in double figures as the team shot 56.4 percent. The Buckeyes took two of three from the Wolverines last season, including 77-55 victory in the Big Ten tournament.TRENDS:
* Under is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings in Ohio St.
* Wolverines are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings in Ohio St.
* Wolverines are 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings.
* Under is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings.
* Underdog is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings.TIP-INS:
1. The Buckeyes are 146-13 at home since coach Thad Matta took over before the 2004-05 season.
2. Michigan shoots 41.1 percent from 3-point range, led by Stauskas’ 52.3 percent.
3. Burke and Thomas were both named to the midseason John R. Wooden Award top 25 on Thursday.