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Ohio State vs. Michigan Big Ten Semifinals Game Preview

The Buckeyes and Wolverines played an instant classic game during the regular season in their only matchup. This time, they'll play in Indianapolis with a championship game berth at stake.

After two thrilling victories for the Ohio State Buckeyes on Wednesday over Minnesota and Thursday in overtime against Purdue, college basketball fans across the country will be treated to a rematch of one of the great games this season.

Round two. Ohio State-Michigan. A Big Ten title game berth on the line.

Michigan won that first meeting, 92-87, in an incredible offensive display from both sides. It was an instant classic at Value City Arena that left Buckeye fans hoping for a shot at redemption against their bitter rivals, who've certainly had their fair share of Big Ten Tournament success in recent years. They've either won or finished runner-up in each of the last three tournaments (excluding last year's, which was cut short).

Michigan won its quarterfinal game against Maryland, 79-66 on Friday afternoon. The biggest storyline from that game was a coin flip: Wolverines' coach Juwan Howard was ejected in the second half after he and Maryland coach Mark Turgeon got in a shouting match at half court, while Michigan guard Mike Smith finished the game with 18 points and a Big Ten Tournament record-breaking 15 assists.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes won a pair of nail-biters in the first two rounds to set up a semifinal showdown between the two fiercest rivals in college sports.

The Buckeyes have had good success against Michigan historically in the Big Ten Tournament. Ohio State has won six (1999 quarters, 2002 quarter, 2007 quarters, 2010 quarters, 2011 semis, 2012 semis) of the previous seven meetings in the 22 previous tournaments. That lone loss came in their most recent contest: the 2014 semifinals, when Michigan beat the Buckeyes 72-69.

Ironically, that's also the last time OSU has played into the semifinals of the league tournament. Over the last six years (five tournaments), Michigan has at least played in the title game four times, winning in 2017 and 2018.

One of the biggest storylines going into Saturday's game will be Kyle Young's availability. Young is coming off the best game (really, the best half) of his career, after scoring 18 points by halftime against Purdue. But Young took an elbow to the side of his head in the second half and left the game prematurely. He's being evaluated for a concussion and his status for Saturday is uncertain.

In the first matchup, Michigan freshman center Hunter Dickinson beat up the Buckeyes in the paint. He scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead them to victory. Kyle Young's potential absence could be problematic for Ohio State in trying to defend the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Meanwhile, Duane Washington Jr. has played several of his best career games against Michigan—including a career-best 30-point performance last time. E.J. Liddell had 23 points and 10 rebounds.

That first matchup featured 17 lead changes, 11 ties and some incredibly high-level offensive play on both ends. Buckeye fans are hoping that Saturday's fortunes will fall in their favor.

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This must-watch semifinal will tip off at 1 p.m. from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It will be televised on CBS.


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