Three takeaways from Sunday’s Ohio State-Michigan clash

Photo via CBS Sports

During the 2020 college football season, Big Ten and sports fans alike were robbed of the yearly spectacle of the rivalry between the Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes on the gridiron. While Ohio State has won the last eight meetings, the rivalry still holds strong and it also carries into other sports, especially on the hardwood.

Coming into Sunday’s matchup, Ohio State had won five of their last eight matchups against Michigan and looked to make it six of nine in a battle of top-four teams in college basketball. In the early frontrunner for game of the year in the college basketball regular season, the third-ranked Wolverines outdueled the fourth-ranked Buckeyes 92-87 to pick up a crucial victory in their quest for a one seed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Here are my three takeaways from the game.

1. Michigan proved they’re a legit National Championship contender

Due to COVID-19, Michigan suffered a three-week layoff in their pursuit of a Big Ten title and a number-one seed in the NCAA Tournament. The week prior, they outscored Wisconsin 40-20 in the second half to win 67-59, and on Thursday, Michigan took care of business against Rutgers 71-64. They shook off the rust in time for their biggest matchup of the season against their nemesis in Ohio State. They came out firing in the first half as they shot 10-13 on their 3-point shots, leading 45-43 over the Buckeyes at halftime. However, in the second half, Michigan only shot one for 10 on their 3-pointers, forcing Michigan to rely on their inside game and center Hunter Dickinson.

Michigan is incredibly balanced as Sunday’s game indicates. They can get hot from the 3-point line and if they are cold, they can simply go inside with their dominant inside presence and speed at the guard spot. Dickinson helped dominate a smaller Buckeyes squad with 22 points and nine rebounds. Point guard Mike Smith, who plays similarly to 2018 point guard Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman with his shooting ability and speed, killed the Buckeyes in transition as he dished out seven assists to go along with 11 points in the game. Franz Wagner, Eli Brooks and Chaundee Brown all scored at least nine points with Brooks and Brown scoring 17 and 15 respectively, helping to support Isaiah Livers, who scored only 12 points on the game. Michigan has six legit scoring threats and with their ability to win games both inside and out, they are one of the most dangerous teams in all of college basketball and one of the favorites to win the national title in April.

2. Ohio State does not have the depth to make the Final Four

The Buckeyes clawed their way into the top five in the AP Poll after a seven-game winning streak that included wins over Wisconsin, Maryland and Iowa. They are led by the dynamic duo of guard Duane Washington Jr. and forward E.J. Liddell, who average 15.6 and 15.9 points per game. During the game against Michigan, these two balled out in front of a national television audience as Washington and Liddell scored 30 and 23 points respectively. C.J. Walker stepped up with 15 points but it wasn’t enough as no other Ohio State player scored more than six points to support their three-main scorers during the game.

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann is one of the best head coaches in college basketball, building consistent programs at Butler and now at Ohio State. However, he has to figure out a way to get the rest of the players on the score sheet consistently so that Washington and Liddell are not carrying the team to success on a game-by-game basis. Also, Michigan, while they struggled to hit 3-pointers, had way too many wide-open shots. Ohio State struggled to guard Michigan on the perimeter and defend Dickinson inside. Ohio State must have more players step up and defend the perimeter more consistently if Ohio State wants to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

3. The Big Ten Tournament will be must-watch television

Sunday’s battle between Michigan and Ohio State displayed how the Big Ten Conference Tournament will be must-watch television. In the current rendition of the AP Poll, four Big Ten teams (Illinois and Iowa are the other two alongside Ohio State and Michigan) are in the top 10 and with the different strengths of the four teams, seeing these teams battle will be a treat for college basketball fans everywhere. Seeing Illinois center Kofi Cockburn battle Dickinson would be incredible along with Iowa center Luka Garza battling the duo of Washington and Liddell at Ohio State. Get the popcorn ready.

2020-21 Champions League preview: Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea

The Champions League returns for four matches over the next two days to wrap up the first legs in the UCL round of 16. On Tuesday, the headliner is the current La Liga leaders in Atletico Madrid taking on Chelsea.

Atletico Madrid return to the UCL knockout round a year after defeating Liverpool, last season’s Premier League champions, in the round of 16 in extra time 4-2. However, in the quarterfinals last August, they lost 2-1 to RB Leipzig on Tyler Adams’ late goal. This season, the player who scored the winning goal against Liverpool, Marcos Llorente, has broken out as the club’s primary playmaker with eight goals and seven assists in La Liga play. However, the main goal scorer has been former Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, who joined Atletico on a free transfer this past September. He has looked as effective as ever, scoring 16 goals with only two of them coming from the penalty spot. Suarez scored 12 goals in his first 15 appearances with Atletico, the most any La Liga player has scored with his new club since Cristiano Ronaldo scored 13 in his first 15 with Real Madrid. As usual under manager Diego Simeone, Atletico is defensively stout, conceding only 16 goals in 23 league matches (tied for the fewest with Sevilla). Atletico qualified for the round of 16 despite only winning two Group A matches and losing 4-0 to Bayern Munich.

Chelsea has had a roller coaster of a season since losing to Bayern Munich 7-1 on aggregate back in August. They spent over 200 million euros during the Fall transfer window, adding stars such as former Leipzig striker Timo Werner, former Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell and former Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. The results have been mixed, spending the majority of the season outside the top four. This led to the firing of manager Frank Lampard, replacing him with former Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel, who managed PSG in the 2020 Champions League Final where they lost 1-0 to Bayern. Since Tuchel has taken over at Chelsea, the Blues have gone unbeaten with a Premier League record of 4-2-0. Aside from the league leaders in Manchester City, Chelsea have conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League with 25 in 25 matches. Werner has struggled to score consistently but has five goals and five assists on the season with Tammy Abraham leading the way with six goals. While there is no true go-to scorer, Chelsea has plenty of depth and will be a tough out in the UCL. Chelsea qualified for the knockout round after winning Group E over Sevilla.

With two defensively-stout clubs squaring off, goals will be at a premium. Mendy and Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak will make incredible saves to limit scoring and prevent either club from pulling away. I see this series going to extra time with the score 1-1, and in extra time, Suarez will bury the winning goal to advance Atletico to the quarterfinals once again.

Aggregate prediction: Atletico Madrid 2 Chelsea 1 (ET)

Nerdsplosion podcast Episode 17: Recapping the Crunchyroll Anime Awards

0:00- Intro
0:49- Rian Johnson’s Star Wars trilogy is still happening
12:21- Edgar Wright to direct adaptation of Stephen King’s The Running Man
16:11- Netflix’s adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender to swap Katara and Sokka’s ages
22:47- Demon Slayer‘s mangaka makes the TIME100
27:07- Crunchyroll Anime Awards discussion
53:20- Horimiya episode 3 discussion
59:18- Dr. Stone: Stone Wars episode 2 discussion
1:07:07- Higurashi: When They Cry-GOU episode 10 discussion
1:16:59- Wandavision episode 7 discussion
1:24:47- Outro

Check it out through the link below!

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