Feb 18, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Jordan Morgan (52) grabs a rebound in the second half against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Crisler Center. Michigan won 56-51. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

GBMWolverine: Michigan Basketball -- Ohio State at Michigan -- Mission Accomplished -- Review

Posted at 6:00am — 2/18/2012

GBMWolverine: Michigan Basketball — Ohio State at Michigan — Mission Accomplished/New Challenges Ahead — Review

The stated objective for Michigan was to beat Ohio State in order to draw into a tie with the talent rich Buckeyes. But somewhere between the hippocampus, thalamus, and frontal lobe the idea must have surfaced that Michigan needed to prove it could play and beat a team of this nature. After all, there will be plenty of talent rich teams in the tournament. This game of February 18th is not the biggest victory in Michigan basketball history, not even close, but it will be remembered, perhaps longest by the players who engineered the final result.

As stated in the preview, and bordering on the inanely obvious, Michigan had to play well and Ohio State had to shoot some blanks. Michigan shot almost 50% against a very good Ohio State defense. Both teams fired blanks from the perimeter, but Michigan made one more deep shot than Ohio State, and that was nearly the final difference.

The preview indicated Michigan had to get off to a good start and the Wolverines did indeed. There was no fighting out of a 20-point ditch as Minnesota faced Tuesday. Check objective number one.

The frequent double down strategy on Sullinger needed to keep him in check enough for Michigan to have a chance. This happened as Morgan held his own and help came from all angles, especially the backside. Check objective number two.

Morgan needed to stay on the floor and play with smarts. He did and played an impressive 35 minutes. His rebounding softened the anticipated big Buckeye edge. Check objective three.

Michigan needed to play very tough on the perimeter and this happened. The excellent defense forced Ohio State’s “super-duo” of Buford and Craft to go a combined four of twenty. Right there was the game, no need to expound. Double check for objective four, the blanks were fired but credit the Michigan defense for a great effort.

The preview stated the mental aspect of the game may be more important than the physical aspect. The mental aspect played an important role. Ohio State had the preparation advantage and home court advantage last time around, but this time Michigan had an equal advantage. Ohio State did not wilt in any manner, but Michigan fought hard to maintain its slim advantage. There was no wilting this time around for the well rested and well prepared Michigan team. Michigan maintained excellent poise that resulted in few turnovers and a very well played game. Ohio State had its moments and again showed it is vulnerable on the road to a team that hangs in when the Buckeyes go cold. One moment that will be skewered in Columbus was Matta’s decision to not foul Michigan with less than 45 seconds to go and the shot clock only showing a seven second difference. Smart strategy would have been for Michigan to shoot with 9 seconds and fall back, fouling the Buckeyes with less than 3 seconds to go, not allowing a three point shot. But Michigan ran the high pick and after maintaining calm control Burke made for the basket and sealed the game as Ohio State’s defenders did not react well enough. Check objective five.

The final objective was for Burke to come back tough after a rough game in Columbus. He did, and it says a lot that Beilein put the game outcome on his shoulders. But Trey is not a typical freshman and the situation was one to mold a player into a leader.

Coach Bellein and the Wolverines will hit the road and must put the memories of a most pleasant evening to rest and concentrate on the business at hand. Michigan is done with the tripartite of playing Ohio State and Michigan State. Michigan and Ohio State have a last game date that will tell much about the league championship for 2011-2012.

It is gratifying to see Douglass and Novak have shining moments on a magnificent stage.

Video Highlights:

Michigan – Ohio State Gameday

Douglass & Novak

Michigan Wolverines Basketball: John Beilein’s Pregame Interview Before The O$U Game 2-18-2012

Michigan – Ohio State Highlights 2-18-2012

Michigan – Ohio State Highlights 2-18-2012

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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