Ohio State played very well last night against Purdue. In an exciting, up-tempo game, they put the pedal to the metal in the last seven minutes of the game to pull away from the Boilermakers and win, 88-71. Their reward is . . . Michigan.
The Buckeyes and the Wolverines have played twice this year and split the two games. In Columbus, Ohio State spanked Michigan, 64-49. In Ann Arbor, the Buckeyes played an uninspired game, shot poorly, and lost, 56-51. It was one of those performances that caused some to question not only the team’s capabilities, but also its character. This afternoon, the Buckeyes have the opportunity to win the rubber game.
I don’t care if Ohio State wins the Big Ten Tournament, but any game against Michigan is, well, a game against Michigan. And if there is such a game, Ohio State must win, period. I don’t care if its tiddlywinks or horseshoes, the good guys must prevail and the Maize and Blue must go down to ignominious, towel-crying, teeth-gnashing, humiliated-faced-fans-leaving-early defeat.
This won’t be easy, because this Michigan team is good. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. are studs, the Wolverines can play an inside game and an outside game, and they have lots of experience and talented role players. It’s a game that will help to get the Buckeyes ready for the NCAA Tournament. When you get to the Big Dance, you’ll play athletic, well-coached teams like the Wolverines game after game, and you have to figure out how to get past them and move on.
Beat the Wolverines!