As an Ohio State fan there are 2 things in this world that truly make me happy; Ohio State winning, and Michigan losing. Unfortunately for me and Ohio State fans everywhere, when the brackets were released I had the exact opposite feeling in my gut. I saw Ohio State matched up with SDSU on the 5-12 line and I thought, “well shit, upset.” Then it got worse, as the bracket moved down, and I saw Michigan’s seeding and matchup and all the other teams around them, my gut said, “Michigan to the final 4.” Now I’m going to explain why I think these things, as I try not to yak everywhere while writing this.
It’s no secret that Michigan is one of the hottest teams in all college basketball. And while I don’t like Michigan, John Beilein is a damn good coach. Michigan has a good mix of guards who can play and forwards who can play. The duo of Mo Wagner and Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman are as good a duo as any I have seen in the Big Ten this year. I don’t think they will struggle with Montana at all, and while Houston is a good team, I don’t think they will be able to hang with Michigan all game, as their tallest player is 6’8 and the duo of Mo Wagner and backup Jon Teske are 6’11 and 7’1 respectively. The 2 seed in the section is North Carolina. They will be looking for a 3rd straight Final 4 appearance. I think this is the weakest UNC team during that run, and I think Michigan will beat them by a decent bit, maybe even double digits. The sad part is if Michigan really does make it that deep in the tournament, they will be ultra-hot and I’m not sure who can derail them on their way to the championship.
From Ohio State’s perspective, they will have a rough path to the Elite 8. First off, they drew a tough matchup in the first round. South Dakota State is a good team, who will give Ohio State problems. They’re 9th in Division 1 in points per game, but in good news for OSU, they’re 225th in points against per game. So, if betting on this game, take the over. If Ohio State happens to get past the Jackrabbits, they will run into the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Last year’s NCAA tournament runner-up, the Bulldogs actually already played Ohio State in a neutral site game this year. Gonzaga won that game by 27, and though Ohio State has gotten better since then, it is hard to believe they have gotten 28+ points better.
As you can see, it is much more conceivable for Michigan to get to the Elite 8 than it is for Ohio State to get there. In an interesting scenario, Ohio State could meet Michigan in the Elite 8 in the rubber match of their season series. I hope though, that I am completely wrong an Montana absolutely dominates Michigan as Ohio State makes it’s run to an NCAA title, but I don’t think I could even see a way that’s possible. At the end of the day, at least we beat Michigan in football like always, and Go Bucks!