Michigan vs. Ohio State basketball: Greatest moments, matchups and records ahead of Sunday’s top-five showdown



No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Ohio State meet Sunday in the first top-five basketball showdown between the Big Ten rivals.  

Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Value City Arena in Columbus. It’s a battle of potential No. 1 seeds in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.  

Ohio State (17-4) swept last year’s matchups, and third-year coach Chris Holtmann is 3-2 against the Wolverines. Michigan (14-1) continues to roll under second-year coach Juwan Howard, who has experience in the rivalry as both player and coach. He’s still looking for that first regular-season win against the Buckeyes.  

MORE: NCAA Tournament bracket predictions

While the football rivalry between the two schools gets more publicity, those two coaches might vault the basketball rivalry to new heights.  

That starts Sunday. Sporting News takes a deeper look at best of the Ohio State-Michigan basketball rivalry heading into the game.  

Greatest matchup  

No. 15 Michigan 75, No. 3 Ohio State 71 (March 29, 1992)  

Ohio State, led by consensus All-American guard Jim Jackson, was a No. 1 seed in the 1992 NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes won both regular-season matchups with No. 6 seed Michigan, which was led by the Fab Five. Those teams collided in an Elite Eight classic at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. Jackson scored 20 points, and Ohio State had a chance to win at the end of regulation before Chris Jent’s base-line jumper missed long. The Wolverines pulled away in overtime behind Chris Webber and Jalen Rose. This remains the most notable chapter of the rivalry between the schools. Howard’s reaction said it all.  

Greatest finish

No. 5 Ohio State 69, Michigan 68 (March 12, 2010)  

The Buckeyes and Wolverines met in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in 2010, and Michigan needed to make a run for NCAA tournament consideration. Michigan appeared to have the upset in hand after a jumper by Manny Harris with 2.2 seconds left, but Evan Turner took an inbound pass, dribbled just inside half court and buried a buzzer-beater that sent Michigan home. Thad Matta’s reaction says it all.  

First ranked matchup  

No. 18 Ohio State 91, No. 12 Michigan 85 (Feb. 27, 1971)  

In a matchup between two Big Ten heavyweights, Jim Cleamons led the Buckeyes to a victory at Crisler Arena. Ohio State won the Big Ten that season, and Michigan finished second. It was their only matchup that season. Western Kentucky knocked the Buckeyes out of the NCAA Tournament in the Elite Eight.  

Greatest decade

2010s 

This marked the first time that both programs were ranked consistently when they played in a rivalry that heated up under coaches John Beilein and Thad Matta. High school teammates Jared Sullinger and Trey Burke were the star players on both sides.  

The Wolverines and Buckeyes played seven straight games from 2012 to 2014 in which both teams were ranked.  

Michigan had a 4-3 advantage in those games. The Buckeyes reached the Final Four in 2012 and Elite Eight in 2013. Michigan reached the NCAA championship game in 2013 and Elite Eight in 2014.  

Those matchups set the standard for the present-day rivalry between Holtmann and Howard.  

Top-10 matchups  

Ohio State and Michigan have played in two top-10 matchups in school history. The Buckeyes and Wolverines split those two matchups: 

No. 7 Ohio State 77, No. 10 Michigan (March 10, 2012)  

The Buckeyes and Wolverines split two regular-season matchups, but the Buckeyes ran away with this Big Ten tournament semifinal. Sullinger scored 24 points and Deshaun Thomas added 22 points. The Buckeyes limited Burke to just five points. Ohio State made the Final Four that season. Michigan lost in the first round to Ohio.  

No. 3 Michigan 76, No. 10 Ohio State 74 (Feb. 5, 2013)  

This would be the best regular-season matchup between the schools. They played an overtime classic at Crisler Arena, and Tim Hardaway Jr. rallied the Wolverines with six 3-pointers and 23 points. Hardaway also blocked Aaron Craft’s shot on the final sequence. This was a memorable victory in Michigan’s season, which ended in a national championship game loss against Louisville.  

Top 25 matchups  

Michigan and Ohio State have played 15 matchups when both teams are ranked in the AP Top 25. The Buckeyes have an 8-7 advantage in those games. A closer look:  

DATE FINAL SCORE
Feb. 27, 1971 No. 18 Ohio State 91, No. 12 Michigan 85
Jan. 16, 1989 No. 6 Michigan 99, No. 16 Ohio State 73
Feb. 2, 1992 No. 10 Ohio State 68, No. 15 Michigan 58
Mar. 3, 1992 No. 6 Ohio State 77, No. 18 Michigan 66
Mar. 29, 1992* No. 15 Michigan 75, No. 3 Ohio State 71
Feb. 9, 2006 No. 19 Ohio State 94, No. 22 Michigan 85
Jan. 29, 2012 No. 4 Ohio State 64, No. 20 Michigan 49
Feb. 18, 2012 No. 17 Michigan 56, No. 6 Ohio State 51
Mar. 10, 2012** No. 7 Ohio State 77, No. 10 Michigan 55
Jan. 13, 2013 No. 15 Ohio State 56, No. 2 Michigan 53
Feb. 5, 2013 No. 3 Michigan 76, No. 10 Ohio State 74
Feb. 11, 2014 No. 15 Michigan 70, No. 22 Ohio State 60
Mar. 15, 2014** No. 8 Michigan 72, No. 24 Ohio State 69
Feb. 18, 2018 No. 22 Michigan 74, No. 8 Ohio State 62
Mar. 1, 2020 No. 23 Ohio State 77, No. 19 Michigan 63

*Denotes Elite Eight matchup 
**Denotes Big Ten Tournament matchup

Michigan vs. Ohio State in 2020  

The Buckeyes are one of the hottest teams in a loaded Big Ten. E.J. Liddell, Duane Washington and Justice Suenig all average double figures for Ohio State, which has lost just one home game this season. 

Michigan returned from an extended pause because of COVID-19 last week, and the Wolverines did not miss a beat in a victory against Wisconsin. Isaiah Livers, Hunter Dickinson and Franz Wagner all average double figures for the Wolverines. Michigan’s lone loss this season came on the road against Minnesota.  

That sets up the big-time Big Ten matchup for Sunday. 

This game, along with a possible rematch in the Big Ten tournament, will go a long way in determining their seeding in March.





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