#1 Ohio State Stays Unbeaten With Win Over Michigan


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With the 62-53 win over Michigan on Thursday night, the Buckeyes move to 23-0 – their second-best start in school history. For those thinking this team will lose one of their next eight remaining games, history begs to differ as Ohio State is 37-1 against the Big Ten when ranked No. 1 by the Associated Press.

By: Justin Mertes-Mistretta

How They Won: Early in the second half, Ohio State trailed Michigan by six. Then came the Jared Sullinger show as the Buckeyes fed the ball into the big guy time after time and forced Michigan to commit 23 personal fouls. The difference for Buckeyes was their ability to get in the paint at will in the second half.

Player of the Game: Freshman Forward Jared Sullingerjared sullinger

Once again, Sullinger was in absolute beast mode recording his tenth double-double of the season with a team-high 19 points and 15 rebounds. He dominated the second half and would not be denied down low. He constantly powered through double teams for easy buckets. He also did an excellent job of finding the open man when the defense shifted, which is rare from such a young player.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Sullinger’s poor free-throw shooting performance. He went 5-for-11 from the line, but this was uncharacteristic of Sullinger, who is a 71 percent free-throw shooter.

Highlight of the Game: Aaron “Crafty” Craft’s spin-move in the lane for a lay-up was one of the prettiest moves you’ll see in the college game. Watch it here. He is proving to be the player I said he needed to be at the beginning of the year.

Quote of the Night: “When you’re guarding the length and quickness they have, and Jared Sullinger, it’s hard to guard without fouling,” Michigan coach Jon Beilein said. “You’re looking at the number one team in the country. Jared Sullinger is a freshman but an unusual freshman. It’s incredible. He’s hard to guard and you can get to foul trouble. We traditionally do not get to the foul line lots as a team but we get there more than four times.”

This sums up OSU in a nutshell. They use their quickness  and strength to get opposing teams in foul trouble, without sending the opposition to the line on the other end of the floor. And yes, Sullinger is a very unusual freshman. It’s not just his dominance and talent that makes him unusual, it’s his maturity. He is one of the most humble and unselfish players you will find at any age.

On his play Thursday night, Sullinger said, “I wasn’t really thinking about getting mine. I wanted it for the team.”

Next Game: The road to an undefeated season doesn’t get any easier as the Buckeyes travel to #20 Minnesota on Super Bowl Sunday. This is a Gopher team that has a ton of size and could give Sullinger some trouble, maybe even get him in foul trouble. Minnesota also has the defensive quickness at the guard position to keep the OSU guards in front of them. It will be a game you won’t want to miss.

Justin Mertes-Mistretta is a senior editor for the Sports Bank.net mainly covering the NFL, NBA playoffs, college basketball (Ohio State), and fantasy football. Follow him on twitter at MertesMist_tsb or become a fan of his blog here.

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