Ohio State vs. Michigan

6:30 p.m. TODAY

Where: Value City Arena


Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (63 stations), Sirius 145/XM 195, WBNS-AM (1460)

Records: Ohio State 6-3, 1-0 Big Ten; Michigan 7-2, 1-0

Notable: At plus-109, Keita Bates-Diop has the best individual plus-minus rating on the Ohio State roster. …. … Michigan is No. 33 nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom.

Projected starters


G Jae’Sean Tate, 6-4, Sr., 13.2

G Musa Jallow, 6-5, Fr., 5.3

G Kam Williams, 6-2, Sr., 6.2

F Keita Bates-Diop, 6-7, Jr., 17.3

C Kaleb Wesson, 6-9, Fr., 12.1

Key reserves: G C.J. Jackson, 6-1, Jr., 12.8; G Andrew Dakich, 6-2, Gr., 2.8; C Micah Potter, 6-9, So., 5.3; F Andre Wesson, 6-6, So., 2.1; F Kyle Young, 6-8, Fr., 2.0


G Eli Brooks, 6-0, Fr., 3.7

G Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, 6-4, Sr., 9.7

G Charles Matthews, 6-6, Jr., 15.2

G/F Duncan Robinson, 6-8, Sr., 11.1

F Moritz Wagner, 6-11, Jr., 15.6

Key reserves: G Jordan Poole, 6-4, Fr., 6.6; G Zavier Simpson, 6-0, So., 2.6; C Jon Teske, 7-1, So., 4.2; F Isaiah Livers, 6-7, Fr., 3.6; G/F Ibi Watson, 6-5, So., 3.0

Michigan presents a different challenge for the Buckeyes than Wisconsin did two days ago.

“It’s a typical Michigan team,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said Sunday evening. “They’re obviously really well-coached. They’re really talented. Last year obviously they had multiple pros in their lineup. Certainly this group has a chance for that as well. We all know about the big fella and how talented and skilled and versatile he is. They’ve got (Charles) Matthews, the transfer who’s playing really well for them. They’ve got some freshmen playing really well, and they have some returning guys that have went to a Sweet Sixteen and seen some things.

“Their ability to spread you out and hit shots, to play downhill in transition, to play inside-out, and their length, they’ve got good size and good positional length, they’re just across the board a complete team that’s no question one of the best teams we’ve played all year.”

Holtmann also downplayed the notion of carrying momentum over from the last game to this one.

“Each game is so unique and so different,” he said. “I don’t know that you can ever take a whole lot from one game to the next. It’s nice that we played well. Obviously we probably caught Wisconsin on a good day (for us). Michigan is really good. I think they’re a clear, bona fide NCAA Tournament team. I don’t think it’s even a question mark, and I think they’re a team that can advance. They present a ton of challenges in their own right.”


*Potter has been officially ruled out for the game as he continues to recover from a left ankle sprain. The team announced the news this afternoon and said he will remain sidelined indefinitely.

I asked Holtmann about Potter’s status Sunday evening, before the Buckeyes gathered for what he said would be a light practice and film session.

“I think we’ll probably make some decisions here about maybe just pulling him altogether until he can completely heal,” he said. “That’s maybe what he’s most comfortable with. I’m going to talk with our medical staff, our training staff about is that potentially the right decision to make. Obviously he wants to get back. We desperately want him back in the lineup, and we need him. He was obviously playing really well before he got hurt, but with ankles it may be the right thing to just let it heal, limit anything he does until he can be completely confident in his strength.”

The goal, Holtmann said Sunday, is to have Potter fully healthy by the time the Buckeyes resume Big Ten play. That would be Jan. 4, when they play at Iowa.

The injury is not season-threatening, Holtmann said. Potter is averaging 5.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in his seven appearances. He started the first four games of the year before being injured in the fourth, and in the first three games he averaged 11.0 points and 5.0 rebounds before having his minutes significantly limited by the injury.

*Against Wisconsin, Holtmann used his fourth different starting lineup of the season. In going with a lineup of Tate, Jallow, Williams, Bates-Diop and Kaleb Wesson, he went with a group that had played together just once this season: a 15-second stint against Clemson during which it scored two points and allowed zero.

To start the game, that lineup outscored Wisconsin 9-3 before Holtmann’s first subs at the 14:38 mark. Young and Jackson replaced Williams and Wesson for a lineup that, after having logged a total of 5:13 together in three prior appearances, matched the Badgers 5-5 in 1:38 before another seldom-used lineup came into the game.

Andre Wesson replaced Tate, uniting a lineup that had played together for 17 seconds entering the game. Jackson hit a pair of threes, giving this group a plus-6 rating in just 62 seconds before more subs at the 11:58 mark.

Then, when Dakich and Kaleb Wesson replaced Jallow and Bates-Diop, it was a lineup not yet seen this season. Ohio State led 20-8 at that point, and two more unused lineups pushed the lead to 13 at 34-21.

This was the most unpredictable Holtmann’s substitutions have been all season.

*The starting lineup for the prior four games didn’t appear together until 7:38 remained in the Wisconsin game and Ohio State was already ahead 71-43. That group went plus-2 (six points for, four against) in 2:25. Entering the game, that lineup was plus-38 (110 points for, 72 allowed) in 56:54.

*This is Ohio State’s sixth straight game against a top-100 team according to KenPom.com. The average ranking of those six teams is 48.8.

What does KenPom say?

According to the advanced statistics of KenPom.com, Ohio State has a 53 percent chance to win today’s game. After climbing 14 spots to No. 61 in the national rankings after the Wisconsin, Ohio State is projected to beat Michigan by a score of 68-73. The Wolverines are ranked No. 42 in the country.

Pregame reading

Earlier today, Kaleb Wesson was named Big Ten freshman of the week.

From today's Dispatch, today's game pits Dakich's current team against his former one. That's a little weird, right? I talked to him about that.

Still buzzing over that Wisconsin win? I covered a lot of topics in the postgame blog late that evening in Madison.



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