Saturday was the first time Michigan played in a Big Ten tournament semifinal since 2004. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, they will not be making their first trip to the Big Ten tournament championship game since 1998. They were eliminated today by Ohio State, the top seed, in a 68-61 loss to the Buckeyes.
The first half of this game was back and forth with neither team leading by more than four points. Michigan's largest lead was two points, and OSU held a 31-27 advantage at halftime.
In the second half, OSU scored the first seven points to continue a run that began before halftime. In all, it was an 11-0 run for the Buckeyes, as the score was once 27-27 and became 38-27. At this point it looked like the game was going to become a blowout, but Michigan battled back and cut the score down to 47-45.
It would never get any closer than this because OSU proceeded to go on a 16-0 run. It all started when a questionable call was made about who touched a ball that went out. The Buckeyes' Jared Sullinger got the call (it was ruled Michigan's Evan Smotrycz touched it) and that was all she wrote for Michigan. OSU took over from here and never really looked back. Michigan did make a late run to cut the deficit from 18 to four points, but the Wolverines simply ran out of time and OSU won, 68-61.
This loss can be attributed to Michigan's poor shooting and inability to guard Ohio State's big three of Sullinger, Jon Diebler and William Buford. The Wolverines had a shooting percentage of 37.3 from the field and an even worse 31 percent from three-point land. For OSU, Sullinger had 14 points and Diebler and Buford each had 16. As a team, the Buckeyes shot the ball 46.3 percent from the field.
Ohio State advances to the championship game of the Big Ten tournament with this win. The Buckeyes will face either Michigan State or Penn State, which play in the second semifinal later today. Here is a look at the updated Big Ten tournament bracket:
The 2011 Big Ten tournament semifinals begin on Saturday with a game between the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes and the fourth-seeded Michigan Wolverines. The Michigan basketball team used a 21-4 run at the end of its game against Illinois on Friday to win, 60-55, and advance to the semifinals. Ohio State, on the other hand, managed to hang on in overtime against Northwestern to advance on in search of a postseason Big Ten title to go along with its regular season one.
These two teams met twice during the regular season. The first game came back in January, and Michigan gave Ohio State all it could handle. The Buckeyes managed to hang on for a 68-64 win, handing Michigan another close loss to a top-ranked team (just days earlier the Wolverines lost in overtime to Kansas).
The second meeting between Michigan and Ohio State was in February in Columbus. Once again, Michigan gave OSU all it could handle, except this time it was only for one half. The Wolverines actually led at halftime by three points, but OSU pulled away in the second half for a nine-point win.
In the third meeting between Michigan and OSU, the Wolverines will try to get a win to advance to their first Big Ten tournament final since the inaugural one in 1998. Also, Michigan will try to get some revenge for OSU ending its season in the Big Ten tournament a year ago exactly on an Evan Turner buzzer beater.
Here is a look at the 2011 Big Ten tournament bracket for the semifinals: