5 Keys to Michigan at Ohio State: Game Preview

When: 7pm (EST), February 16th

Where: Columbus, Ohio

Coverage: ESPN

Tuesday, the Wolverines will take the trip down to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes.  Michigan is coming off of a huge win against Purdue and looking to continue their push towards the NCAA Tournament.  Ohio State comes into the game winning two straight, looking to make it three against the Wolverines.  Let us take a look at what the Wolverines need to do to come out of Columbus with a much needed win.

1.) Defense

I think it is safe to say that Michigan’s defense won them the game against Purdue.  Michigan held the boilermakers, who average 77.6 points a game according to ESPN, to just 56 points.  If the Wolverines can continue playing lights out defense, they will be a team to watch down the stretch.

2.) Get The Offense Rolling

Michigan’s offense played well enough to win the game on Thursday but if they want to play in the big dance, they are going to need some more points.  61 points  is a decent amount, especially against a good top 25 team in Purdue.  Ohio State on the other hand, lends the Wolverines a chance to get back on track.  A win tonight against a Buckeye team that has a deceivingly good defense, would be a much needed shot in the arm for the Wolverines offense.

3.) Still Need Help In The Post

Michigan still needs to get a big man who can out rebound Derrick Walton Jr.  I do not know if that is quite possible right now given the level Walton is playing at.  Walton recorded a solid seven rebounds against Purdue to lead the team once again.  If Michigan can some how get Donnal or Doyle to start getting some presence in the paint, the Wolverines will be a scary team to play against.

4.) Derrick Walton Jr. Keep Being Clutch

Walton only had six points against Purdue but the timing of those points could not have been any better.  Walton turned it on exactly when Michigan needed it, scoring those points in the final two minutes and some change, of the game.  Walton also had huge defensive rebounds down that stretch.  Walton has more or less taken over this team.  He has provided great leadership for a very young group of guys.

5.) Depth

Depth has been a problem for Michigan this year, mainly due to injury.  Now the Wolverines depth players have some valued experience and the addition of Caris LaVert coming back from injury makes the Wolverines much deeper.  The depth players have grown a great deal this year under Beilein, which is very helpful on such a young team as Michigan’s.  Also with LaVert back, Michigan will be dangerous.  Now LaVert is not completely ready to play heavy minutes but he has some time to get healthy, while just having him as an option is a great boost.

Prediction: Michigan 77 – Ohio State 70

Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports