The Michigan Wolverines are coming off a tough loss to the Indiana Hoosiers and the woes will continue against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Tuesday night, the Buckeyes enter into the Crisler Center and look to come away with a season sweep of their top rival.
In the first meeting between these two Big Ten heavyweights, the Buckeyes put Michigan behind early and had just enough to hold on to the big win. The Buckeyes denied Michigan of a No. 1 ranking in that win and added to the rivalry's bad blood.
In Michigan's big games this season, the young duo of freshman forward Glenn Robinson III and freshman guard Nik Stauskas have struggled. In the first game between Michigan and Ohio State, Robinson III finished with eight points on 3-of-8 shooting and only contributed one rebound. Stauskas was held to a goose egg in the points department and was limited to 0-of-3 from three-point land.
Michigan cannot afford to have another dismal performance from two of its key, young players in Robinson III and Stauskas.
The Wolverines also need star sophomore point guard Trey Burke to step up his game against the Buckeyes. Ohio State's defensive specialist and junior guard Aaron Craft limited Burke to 4-of-13 shooting and forced Burke to commit four turnovers.
Craft is as of a good defender as any and will disrupt Burke's flow in Round 2 of Ohio State vs. Michigan.
Michigan head coach John Beilein recognizes the recurring struggles for his Michigan team in his team's two losses this season.
In the ESPN.com preview, Beilein says, "There were some deja vu moments in that room from the Ohio (State) game," Beilein said. "So now, we learn from it again. ... We'll grow from it. But we have to get off the deck real quick."
Michigan has not stepped up in its two biggest games this season, and it may be a little longer before the Wolverines' younger players gain the experience needed to carry them to the top.
The Wolverines post a 28-1 record at home since the start of last season, but Ohio State knows how to limit Michigan's offense.
Aaron Craft's defense on Trey Burke will stifle the Michigan offense. If Michigan wants to win this game, Robinson III and Stauskas will need to bring their A-game and contribute with good shooting and high-energy play.
Michigan is clearly one of the top teams in the country, but the Buckeyes know how to play against the rival Wolverines and can expose flaws en route to a big win in Ann Arbor.