When: Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m./est
Where: Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Expected starters for Michigan:
Derrick Walton Jr. (So.)
Spike Albrecht (Jr.)
Zak Irvin (So.)
Caris LeVert (Jr.)
Ricky Doyle (Fr.)
Expected starters for Ohio State:
Shannon Scott (Sr.)
D’Angelo Russell (Fr.)
Sam Thompson (Sr.)
Marc Loving (S0.)
Amir Williams (Sr.)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It was a good week for John Beilein and the Michigan basketball team.
Now 3-1 in Big Ten play and actually in a four way tie for first place early on in the conference, Michigan has bounced back nicely after a very rough journey through the non-conference.
“We’re really pleased with those two wins last week, getting one on the road and what I thought was a really dangerous Minnesota team,” Michigan coach John Beilein said Monday.
“So, now we go down to Columbus, big night in Columbus tonight and we’ll get down there probably in time to watch the end of the football game and get on with the game tomorrow at seven.”
What’s waiting in No. 25 Ohio State is a team eager to get back on the floor.
The Buckeyes are still recovering from a 69-66 loss to Indiana in Bloomington Saturday, making it imperative for Michigan to take the court ready to match the Buckeyes’ intensity.
“Hopefully that’s never going to be an issue with our team and unfortunately I guess it’s a matter of how ready are you,” Beilein said. “In any of our disappointing losses this year were we ready but how ready were we? That might be the point.
“Ohio State will be fired up after a tough loss at Indiana, where Indiana has always been very good. Indiana’s been good home and away the last few years so, this is a great opportunity for us to meet another challenge and it’s going to be a difficult one.”
Talent isn’t lacking in Columbus this season with Thad Matta blending a strong veteran core with a very talented freshmen class led by leading scorer D’Angelo Russell, averaging 17.9 points per game.
“They have a good mix of talent where they have five seniors that have been in the Big Ten championship hunt all four of their years, including this year,” Beilein said.
“They’ve got some outstanding freshmen that are really putting up big numbers and playing really well. Great challenge again, but so is every game.”
A season ago Michigan had no problem going into Columbus and walking out with a win, actually taking the Feb. 11 match-up by 10-points.
This time around, with a team both young and inexperienced featuring several players still getting used to life on the road in college basketball, the Wolverines are sure to be challenged.
“Every road game we have we get a little tougher in that,” Beilein said. “The Arizona game was certainly a wake up, talented team but as far as what it’s like on the road. Again, for us to get the win at Penn State, if we don’t make foul shots down the break or we don’t finish that I think it’s a little bit different.
“That confidence is really key as you go forward and if you do have the misfortune of losing some of those games you have to find a way to be mentally tough to get through it next time.”