As Ohio State and Michigan get ready for their only scheduled meeting of the regular season Sunday on CBS, both teams desperately need to start stringing some victories together to keep their postseason aspirations afloat. The Wolverines (12-10, 6-5 Big Ten) and the Buckeyes (11-11, 3-8) are outside the projected NCAA Tournament picture in Jerry Palm’s Bracketology and starting to run short on time to boost their résumés.
Michigan finally picked up its first Quad 1 win of the season Thursday night at Northwestern with an impressive 68-51 victory sparked by its defense. But now the Wolverines must show they can string together consecutive victories for the first time in over a month.
Meanwhile, Ohio State is in its worst slump of sixth-year coach Chris Holtmann’s tenure, having lost eight of its last nine games after Thursday’s 65-60 home loss to Wisconsin. Holtmann was ejected for arguing with the officials late in the first half, and the Buckeyes nearly came back from an 18-point deficit to win without him.
Beyond the intrigue of desperation felt by both teams in this rivalry matchup, the game also pits two of the nation’s best freshmen against each other in Ohio State’s Brice Sensabaugh and Michigan’s Jett Howard, both of whom are regarded as likely first-round NBA Draft picks.
Sensabaugh has reached double figures in 15 straight games as one of the best pure scorers in the country. Howard has also proven to be a versatile offensive weapon while playing for his father, Michigan coach Juwan Howard. There will be plenty of talent on the floor for this matchup and plenty at stake as both teams try to rebound from rough Januarys and get rolling in a critical early-February league showdown.
How to watch Michigan vs. Ohio State live
Date: Sunday, Feb. 5 | Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Crisler Center — Ann Arbor, Michigan
TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
Michigan vs. Ohio State prediction, picks
What better time and place for Ohio State to suddenly figure things out than on the road against rival Michigan? The Wolverines are a bit too clunky offensively to capitalize on the Buckeyes’ weak defense, and Ohio State has enough weapons to take advantage of a Michigan defense that alternates between good and bad, depending on the day. It’s desperation time for the Buckeyes after eight losses in their last nine games. Look for Ohio State to play with nothing to lose and create another wonky result in the perpetually unpredictable Big Ten. Prediction: Michigan -3
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