Michigan takes aim at another ranked opponent: No. 16 Ohio State
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Michigan will seek its second win over a ranked opponent in three days when it hosts No. 16 Ohio State on Saturday.
The Wolverines (13-9, 7-5 Big Ten) pounded third-ranked Purdue 82-58 in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Thursday for their first win over a ranked team this season. It was the highest-ranked victory for coach Juwan Howard while at Michigan, bettering a win at No. 4 Ohio State on Feb. 21, 2021.
It should be another electric atmosphere for the Wolverines with their rival Buckeyes (14-6, 7-4) in town.
"The fans tonight really brought it," Howard said after the Purdue game. "The Maize Rage, they're always consistently there supporting us and then all our student body, the way how they were present on a late game on a weekday. It was nice to see the energy in the building and I know our guys really appreciate seeing and experiencing that. There's nothing like winning at home. Tastes really good."
That doesn't bode well for the Buckeyes. They are 3-4 in conference away games, including a 66-64 loss at Rutgers on Wednesday.
Ohio State led 64-56 before the Scarlet Knights reeled off 10 unanswered points. Meanwhile the Buckeyes missed their final seven shots, with two of them being blocked.
"Playing on the road is hard," Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. "You learn those (lessons) each step of the way. I don't think we have mastered that. We have to do some things better on both ends there.
"We just have to finish games and play with a little more force offensively. I just didn't think we played with enough force. I thought their activity bothered us late. You have to play with force on the road. We just weren't able to finish the plays we needed to."
The good news for the Buckeyes is that after the Michigan game, they'll play six of their final eight games at home, where they are 10-0 overall and have won all four Big Ten contests.
However, they will face a congested schedule to make up two conference games -- one postponed vs. Nebraska because of COVID-19 protocol and the other against Iowa due to inclement weather.
That's what makes the Wolverines' rout of Purdue so impressive. The game was rescheduled from Jan. 11 and came two nights after Michigan won 58-57 at Penn State.
"I loved it. I loved how they responded from a short turnaround, a limited amount of rest," Howard said. "People have to remember this -- and I sort of like, in a respectful way, complained to the Big Ten as far as we postponed (for) COVID. Can we please reschedule a game where it's not every other day, and to not be late at night?"
The tough circumstances didn't seem to bother the Wolverines, especially Hunter Dickinson and Eli Brooks.
Dickinson scored 22 points and had a career-high four 3-pointers. Brooks, who had 18 points, was 7 for 8 from the floor and 4 for 4 from 3-point range.
"People were finding me in good spots," Brooks said. "Got open looks, and it felt good."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 11, 2022