With just a few games remaining for each team in the battle for first place in the Big Ten, Michigan and Ohio State both look to build off impressive wins when they meet on Saturday.
The 13th-ranked Buckeyes (20-4, 9-4) are tied for first place in the conference with No. 20 Iowa, while Michigan (18-7, 8-6) is 1 1/2 games behind in fifth place.
Ohio State concludes its regular season with matchups against Northwestern and Purdue following this contest, while Michigan ends with a game against Indiana next Saturday.
The Buckeyes come into this contest after winning 79-68 at No. 18 Michigan State on Wednesday, their first road victory over the Spartans since 1992. Ohio State shot 11-for-24 from 3-point range to end Michigan State’s 15-game home winning streak.
Michigan, meanwhile, beat No. 8 Illinois 72-64 on Tuesday to end its 18-game skid against top 10 teams. It was just the Wolverines’ second victory in their last six contests following a five-game win streak.
Ohio State featured a balanced attack in defeating Michigan State as Terence Dials led five players in double figures with 19 points. Je’Kel Foster had 17, Ron Lewis added 13, Jamar Butler scored 12 and Matt Sylvester chipped in with 10.
“It has been so tough to get a win here, it feels great to do what we did tonight,” Dials said. “Everyone played a part in it. When people have to focus on our 3-point shooters, it opens up a lot inside.”
Senior Daniel Horton scored a career-high 39 points in Michigan’s win over the Illini. He shot 13-for-20 from the field, including 5-for-7 on 3-pointers, and went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.
“He willed us to this victory, he willed the balls in the basket,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. “He is an amazing player with that and the incredible confidence that he has in himself and in all of these kind of tight, big-game situations.”
Horton leads the Wolverines in scoring with 17.2 points a game.
“We know we have to finish strong, and in order to achieve some of our goals in these next two games, we know we have to finish strong,” he said. “That was our mindset. We took a step toward doing that.”
Michigan won’t have reserve center Amadou Ba for the first half of this contest as he completes a 1 1/2 -game suspension for an incident with a Michigan State fan before a game last Saturday in East Lansing.
Ohio State won 94-85 at Michigan on Feb. 9 for its ninth win in the last 12 meetings between these teams. The Buckeyes lead 81-63 in the all-time series.