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Game Thread: Michigan Basketball at Ohio State

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It's Wolverines vs. Buckeyes. Like you need any other reason to talk hoops with us.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Basics

Who: Ohio State Buckeyes (16-10, 8-5 Big Ten)

When: Tuesday, February 16th, at 7:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Where: Value City Arena -- Columbus, Ohio

Spread: Vegas: +1 | KenPom: L, 69-71 (43% WP)

***

It's Michigan versus Ohio State, which means this is a must-win for clear reasons.

But there is another reason why this is so important for the Wolverines:

Second, this is Michigan's second-most winnable game remaining on the schedule, and, contrary to some beliefs, Michigan likely needs two more regular-season wins to secure an NCAA Tournament at-large bid. The home win against Purdue on Saturday was a big boost, but, right now, Michigan is only the last #9 seed on Bracket Matrix and only #49 in RPI. The thought that Michigan can close with a 1-4 record and only a win against Northwestern and still be safe is dubious. If that was to happen, Michigan's projected RPI would be 63 entering the Big Ten Tournament according to RPI Wizard, and the Wolverines likely would have only three RPI top-100 wins. That would put them squarely on the bubble and leave them at risk. However, if Michigan can add a fourth RPI top-100 win, U-M would be an excellent shape. And tonight's their best chance to do it.

And I predict that the Wolverines will leave Columbus with the win that they need:

Value City Arena hasn't treated Michigan well in the past decade-plus as Michigan has beaten the Buckeyes in Columbus just once since 2003, and Ohio State's underclassmen have taken well to their home. However, this matchup just seems to favor the Wolverines. Michigan should be able to muster enough points with its shooting, and, as long as the Wolverines don't get rattled in a hostile atmosphere and hand Ohio State free points with turnovers, Ohio State doesn't have the shooting or discipline to keep pace.

Michigan 72, Ohio State 64

You can learn all about the Buckeyes and read my full game preview here.

Join us below in the comments as the Maize and Blue and Scarlet and Gray clash.