The Ohio State-Michigan basketball rivalry won’t ever be extra well-liked on the nationwide stage than its soccer counterpart.
“The Game” will probably be all the time probably the most vital stage for each athletic applications. That mentioned, the soccer recreation wasn’t performed in 2020 12 months due to COVID-19.
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So, a minimum of for one 12 months, basketball gives an different with the primary top-five showdown between the groups. No. 3 Michigan (16-1) and No. 4 Ohio State (19-4) at Value City Arena in Columbus on Sunday in an enormous Big Ten showdown.
It’s a nod to what has turn into a actuality since 2010: The basketball rivalry between the Buckeyes and Wolverines is extra aggressive, even when it’s going to all the time battle to be extra compelling. Which rivalry is extra full proper now? For the foreseeable future?
Sporting News takes a better look.
Basketball is extra aggressive
This is not even an argument in the mean time. Since 2010, Ohio State is 9-1 towards Michigan in soccer. Take that again to 2000, and the Buckeyes are 17-3 towards the Wolverines.
The hole between the colleges is critical. Ohio State’s margin of victory previously eight wins is 14.4 factors. That swelled to 26 factors previously two conferences, and the Buckeyes had been 30-point favorites in 2020 earlier than the sport was canceled due to COVID-19.
Basketball has not been practically as one-sided. Ohio State opened the 2010s with 5 straight victories towards Michigan in basketball, however the Buckeyes maintain a slim 8-7 benefit previously 15 conferences. The common margin of victory in these 15 video games is 9.3 factors. There has been just one blowout of 20-plus factors, and 7 of the video games have been determined by 10 factors or fewer.
Basketball is by far the extra aggressive stage. Until Michigan gives a response on the soccer facet, this can proceed to be the case.
Football is extra compelling
Does that make soccer extra fascinating?
After all, Michigan soccer coach Jim Harbaugh is 0-5 towards the Buckeyes, and the shortcoming to beat both Urban Meyer or Ryan Day has generated numerous storylines within the College Football Playoff period.
It’s nonetheless each bit as compelling as basketball when you think about the Wolverines and Buckeyes have performed three top-10 showdowns since Harbaugh arrived in 2015. The 30-27 double-overtime thriller between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan was among the best video games of the CFP period given what was at stake. The Buckeyes and Wolverines have gone in two completely different instructions since “The Spot.”
Will Sunday’s basketball recreation between the Buckeyes and Wolverines carry that sort of weight? It is the third top-10 showdown between the groups within the rivalry’s historical past ( soccer has 11 to decide on from ), and it’ll carry weight when selecting a No. 1 seed within the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
At this level, nonetheless, these soccer video games nonetheless carry extra weight. Next 12 months’s recreation will probably be enormous too, particularly with the one-year hiatus.
Basketball is extra full
Both sports activities have thrived when the coaches are in place at each colleges.
The basketball rivalry ticked up within the matchups between Ohio State’s Thad Matta and Michigan’s John Beilein within the 2010s. The Wolverines and Buckeyes performed seven straight video games from 2012 to 2014 during which each groups had been ranked.
Michigan had a 4-3 benefit in these video games. The Buckeyes reached the Final Four in 2012 and Elite Eight in 2013. Michigan reached the NCAA championship recreation in 2013 and Elite Eight in 2014. Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Michigan’s Trey Burke had been consensus All-Americans. These video games had all of the substances for a significant school basketball rivalry.
That momemtum continues in 2021 with third-year coach Chris Holtmann and second-year coach Juwan Howard. Ohio State and Michigan feels prefer it did in 1991-92, when the Jim Jackson-led Ohio State groups clashed with the Fab Five. Michigan misplaced each regular-season conferences, however Howard was on the group that beat Ohio State 75-71 in extra time within the Elite Eight.
That was probably the most compelling recreation within the historical past of the basketball rivalry, and Sunday’s top-five matchup gives a style of what could possibly be for a number of years to come back.
Can basketball ship in the long run?
What will the long run maintain?
The basketball rivalry may need a bit of extra to supply proper now, and that can proceed to be the case till Michigan’s soccer group breaks Ohio State’s stranglehold on that rivalry. It will not be straightforward realizing that the Buckeyes have received 4 straight Big Ten championships heading into 2021.
Harbaugh, who acquired an extension this offseason, must lead the Wolverines previous Day, who has led the Buckeyes to a pair of CFP appearances in his first two seasons. Holtmann is also 2-0 head-to-head towards Howard, and it is going to be about what number of instances the basketball groups can play on this stage in future seasons.
A top-five showdown is big. But a Big Ten event championship recreation or NCAA Tournament matchup would elevate that rivalry to new heights. That Elite Eight matchup between the Wolverines and Buckeyes stays the most talked about basketball recreation between the colleges as a result of the stage was uncommon.
Big Ten basketball rivalries are completely different, too. Some old-school Ohio State followers may contemplate Indiana the most important basketball rival. Michigan followers have a look at Michigan State as the most important recreation on the schedule.
That is another excuse soccer has the fixed edge. The soccer groups might simply as simply play in one other top-10 or top-five showdown in 2021 or 2022.
There hasn’t been a extra monumental contest between the 2 colleges because the No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown in 2006, which Ohio State received 42-39. Can Harbaugh and Day push that rivalry again to that spot? Imagine if the Buckeyes and Wolverines ever performed in a CFP semifinal — which could have been the case in 2006 had that been the format.
It would take a Final Four basketball matchup between Michigan and Ohio State to match that.
Can the colleges ship this 12 months?