Best Defender Stops Best Player; Ohio St. Gives Michigan First Loss
Michigan’s rally from 21 points down came down to the best player this year, Trey Burke, matched up one-on-one with perhaps the best perimeter defender in the country in Aaron Craft. Craft, who led to the creation of the Craft-Turnover Meter by Sports Illustrated stat guru Luke Winn, denied penetration twice and with 13 seconds left Burke put up a potential game-winning step back 3-pointer that rattled out to give Ohio State the win.
Burke, the No. 1 player in the country according to www.valueaddbasketball.com, scored 15 points, but Craft harassed him for nine missed shots and four turnovers. Winn invented the Craft-Turnover Meter last year to measure the fact that Craft was personally forcing turnovers on 8% of opponents trips down the court (93 steals, 11 charges taken, 8 moving screens by players trying to pick him off the offensive player, 44.5 other turnovers caused in 39 games).
Burke hit a three-pointer to start the game, but then Craft led a heroic defensive effort that forced five turnovers and five missed shots to give Ohio State a 16-3 lead. The lead grew to 29-8, but the young Michigan team fought back throughout the second half.
Glen Robinson slammed home a dunk with 1:16 to play to cut the lead to 52-50 and Michigan got the ball back with chance to win the game when Burke’s three-pointer rattled out. Ohio State hit four free throws and Burke did bank in a three-pointer in the final seconds, but it was too late as Ohio State was able to deny their rivals a No. 1 ranking in tomorrow’s polls 56-53 and eliminate the nation’s last undefeated team.
With Michigan’s loss, Louisville will likely move into first place, though Indiana can make the case that they should return to their preseason post after dismantling Minnesota until some late points made the score respectable.