The Ohio State Buckeyes got off to a fast start and held on for the thrilling 56-53 win at home. The loss was the first of the season for the No. 2-ranked Michigan Wolverines.
There are now no unbeaten teams in Division I NCAA basketball.
The Wolverines fought back from a 20-point deficit to tie the game on two occasions late, but they didn't have the final push to pull out the tough road victory.
This was a great game to watch and served as a preview of things to come in the Big Ten Tournament and March Madness in general.
Here is a balanced account of what took place at the Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Michigan assistant coach Bacari Alexander gave this pregame speech to his team before the loss to the Buckeyes on Sunday.
The Wolverines came into the game as the nation's last undefeated team, and everyone wanted to know if this was the day the "0" would go. That includes ESPN's Jay Williams:
This game had several qualities. The sweet alley-oop plays were just one aspect:
The Wolverines battled back from a 20-point deficit to tie the game, and that resiliency made this a regular-season gem:
And #Michigan has tied the game! WOW. We got a game!— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) January 13, 2013
ESPN's college hoops Twitter feed delivers the news:
How the Buckeyes Won This Game
16-0 Run Early in the First Half
Perhaps the Wolverines were overconfident heading into this game. It is possible the speech from Alexander didn't help matters.
In any case, they didn't look as though they were ready to match the Buckeyes' intensity.
With strong and aggressive defense, the Buckeyes built a huge lead on a strength of a 16-0 run. After Trey Burke started the game with a three-pointer, the Wolverines found themselves down 16-3 shortly thereafter.
Part of the product of the Buckeyes defense was a plethora of turnovers from Michigan. The Buckeyes harassed the Wolverines into 13 miscues, with nine coming in the first half.
Coming into the game, Michigan was averaging just nine giveaways per game.
Wolverines Should Have Played Zone From the Beginning
The Buckeyes have only one dependable scorer in the half court, and that is Deshaun Thomas. Michigan starting the game in man-to-man coverage allowed Thomas to get off early, as they didn't have a defender who could contain him.
He finished with 20 points, and the other Buckeyes who excelled offensively got most of their buckets in transition.
No other Buckeye had double figures in the game.
Aaron Craft and Sam Thompson each had nine points, but seven of Craft's points came in the first half.
The Wolverines' eventual switch to a zone midway through the first half keyed the comeback, but the Buckeyes had already gained momentum.
Heroes and Goats
Heroes: Deshaun Thomas and Sam Thompson
Thomas continues to prove he is a prime-time scorer and leader. He made several big shots en route to another impressive scoring performance.
Thompson's energy on defense led to crowd-igniting slams and constant pressure on the ball.
Goat: Trey Burke
Burke's NBA draft stock took a hit in this game.
He didn't display a ton of poise, struggling to get his team into the offense. He also didn't shoot well, as Craft's tenacious defense seem to bother him all game. This led to a few questionable shots.
Burke finished with 15 points and four assists, but he only shot 4-of-13 from the field, and he committed four turnovers.
He was not as good as his team needed him to be.
Michigan showed a lot of heart in coming back, and it nearly won this game. However, the Wolverines showed that their inexperience can be their undoing.
They were not prepared for the intensity this rivalry game brought, and the atmosphere consumed them early. They must grow up quickly if they plan on going deep into the NCAA tournament.
The Buckeyes scored a huge win at home, but their lack of offensive options will hurt them against top teams. That will be a bigger factor when they aren't playing at home.
That said, their tough defense will keep them in most any game.
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