Buckeyes, Wolverines meet in showdown
Published 12:45 am Saturday, February 20, 2021
The Associated Press
Third-ranked Michigan and fourth-ranked Ohio State have found themselves atop the crowd of teams chasing unbeatens Gonzaga and Baylor.
Their meeting Sunday headlines the national AP Top 25 schedule for the week, a matchup of teams contending for No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament and more.
Michigan (15-1, 10-1 Big Ten) returned Sunday from an extended pause due to coronavirus concerns with a comeback road win at No. 21 Wisconsin. Meanwhile Ohio State (18-4, 12-4) has won sev en straight overall — including against the Badgers and No. 11 Iowa.
Both teams were top seeds in Saturday’s initial rankings from the committee that will select the field of 68 teams for the NCAA Tournament. They boast two of the nation’s most efficient offenses.
The Buckeyes are fourth in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency by averaging 122.6 points per 100 possessions.
“The biggest thing as a coach right now is we’ve got to get better,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said after Saturday’s win against Indiana. ”And the moment that any type of complacency comes in and we see it in practice, it needs to be addressed. … And we’ve got to stay fully engaged as a group, from scout team on down.”
As for the Wolverines, they rank seventh (118.5 points per 100 possessions) but also boast KenPom’s No. 7 defense (89.1 points allowed per 100 possessions) — which showed when they held the Badgers to 7-for-28 shooting (25%) and 1 for 12 from 3-point range after halftime.
“We trust (coach Juwan) Howard, we trust the whole coaching staff,” Wolverines forward Isaiah Livers said afterward. “We trust each other most importantly.”