Ohio St. Buckeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines Pick & Prediction MARCH 3rd 2024

February ended on a positive note for rejuvenated Ohio State, and the goal for the formerly downtrodden Buckeyes is to make this month memorable.

Ohio State looks to get off on the right foot during its home finale against Michigan on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.

Given virtually no chance two weeks ago to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament, the Buckeyes (17-12, 7-11 Big Ten) can dream a little after a 78-69 win over Nebraska on Thursday for their third victory in four games under interim coach Jake Diebler. Diebler took over for Chris Holtmann, who was fired on Feb. 14.

“I know this team wants more than to just end the season after the Big Ten tournament,” Ohio State forward Jamison Battle said. “We’re not ready to go home. That’s the mentality that we have, that March is upon us. Let the madness begin.”

On the other side, the Wolverines (8-21, 3-15) are fading fast. Their 73-65 win against the Buckeyes on Jan. 15 ended a five-game losing streak. Since then, Michigan is 1-11 and has lost six straight, including an 82-52 rout at Rutgers on Thursday.

“Give (Rutgers coach) Steve Pikiell credit, he and his staff did a great job of preparing his team,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “I did a poor job of preparing our team.”

That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence going into the matchup on Sunday considering the Wolverines haven’t won on the road since Dec. 10.

They are guaranteed to finish in last place in the Big Ten for the first time since the 1966-67 season.

Ohio State is likely to see the return of leading scorer Bruce Thornton (16.2 points per game), who missed the Nebraska game because of a migraine.

In his absence, Battle, a graduate transfer from Minnesota, scored a season-high 32 points.

“There is a sense of urgency. I’ve got three guaranteed games left of college basketball,” Battle said of the two remaining regular-season games and at least one Big Ten tournament game. “My goal is we’re going to do whatever it takes to win all those games and maybe even more.”

–Field Level Media

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