Michigan basketball traveled to Columbus by entering enemy territory and arose victorious in Juwan Howard’s biggest win as head man.
For the first time ever in this illustrious series, both rivals came into the affair as top five teams. The Buckeyes darted out to a 4-0 start until Eli Brooks broke the seal on the scoreboard with a three for the Wolverines. Both clubs were dialed in from the tip and showing the nationwide audience why they are seen as projected number one seeds in the tournament.
Michigan basketball got hot from beyond the arc in the opening half and it earned them their first lead with about nine minutes remaining till the break. In total the maize and blue drained a staggering 10 3-pointers. However, Ohio State kept it tight as a whistle with a relentless effort on the glass and the Wolverines took a 2-point advantage into the locker room.
The up-tempo track meet continued on to open things up after the break. Each squad held a short-lived lead until the other one eventually overcame it. The much-anticipated battle of heavyweights was truly living up to its billing. Then, following a fury of going toe-to-toe for the entire afternoon Michigan basketball made its move to seal the deal.
Isaiah Livers was gifted with an old-fashioned three-point play after an errant pass by the Buckeyes. Michigan went up by six and salted it away from the free-throw line to conquer the Buckeyes in their home digs.
It is Juwan Howard’s initial win over his heated enemy since returning home to his alma mater.
Hunter Dickinson paved the way with a performance that will be remembered for ages in this epic rivalry. He notched a Michigan-high 22, while four of the five starters hit double digits in the victory.
Chaundee Brown was a factor off the bench with 15 as he made his presence felt when he was on the floor.
This triumph cements Michigan as the one to beat in the nation’s toughest conference. At worst they will be no lower than a two seed in March madness and may have just secured the number one overall seed in the Big Ten tourney depending upon how the rest of the schedule plays out. It’s arguably the most substantial win in all of college basketball this season.
Michigan now turns its attention to Iowa at Crisler in what will be another must-see showdown. It’s a colossal duel between Dickinson and player of the year candidate Luka Garza that many have been patiently waiting for.
So far the maize and blue have been ready for the steep competition and that will keep going as long as this group can keep going at this superior level.