Michigan vs. Ohio: Your mega guide to the Wolverines' NCAA Tournament opener
WHO: No. 13 Michigan (24-9) vs. Ohio (27-7)
WHERE: Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
WHEN: 7:20 p.m. Friday
ODDS: Michigan is favored by 5.5 points, according to sportsbook.com.
BROADCAST INFORMATION: TV: TNT; Radio: Michigan Sports Marketing Network (WTKA 1050-AM in Ann Arbor; other affiliates).
LIVE COVERAGE: Follow live streaming updates from AnnArbor.com sports reporters Nick Baumgardner and Kyle Meinke on the Michigan basketball home page beginning at 6:30 p.m.
ANNARBOR.COM FEATURED STORIES
Nick Baumgardner’s 4 things to watch include the matchup problems Michigan senior Zack Novak (left) can create, Ohio’s tendency to force turnovers (and the Wolverines’ tendency to not make them), the role of the Bobcats’ role players and the matchup of power conference vs. mid-major.
The matchup between Michigan's Trey Burke (left) and Ohio's D.J. Cooper is eerily similar. Both are 5-foot-11 point guards with shooting ability, dribble-drive tendencies, a soft touch around the basket and a bushel full of accolades. But, more importantly, both play without fear. (Plus more from Nashville in this notebook.)
Over the past few weeks, and especially lately, Zack Novak said the task of ignoring the reality of the moment has become futile. Time's running out for him and fellow senior captain Stu Douglass (left). So while they try not to let those emotions consume them this week, they have both allowed bits of that feeling enter their minds, more for motivational purposes than anything else.
When Michigan players took the podium Thursday at Bridgestone Arena, there was no smirking. No grinning, no giggles or playful pandering to the national media gathered in front of them. Three years ago, the Wolverines happy to be here. Last year, they felt fortunate to be here. This time, it's all business.
On the eve of the Wolverines' tournament opener, Nick Baumgardner poses three questions: Will senior captains Zack Novak and Stu Douglass hit shots? Will post players Jordan Morgan (left) and Evan Smotrycz contribute? Can Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke carry the scoring load? The answer to each, obviously, must be 'yes.'
Shortly after the NCAA Tournament brackets were announced, one of the sexier upset picks involved Michigan. Only this time, the pick had the Wolverines on the losing end. Several outlets pegged No. 13 Ohio as a possible bracket-busting team. "That's fine," Michigan co-captain Zack Novak (left) said. "If they want to peg us as the underdog, that's a position we're all too familiar with."
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AROUND THE WEB
The Wolverine: Point guard battle one to watch Friday
Detroit Free Press: For No. 4 seed Michigan, underdog claim won't fly in NCAA tournament
ESPN.com: Burke sails into uncharted waters