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Ohio State and Michigan Prove Big Ten is Basketball’s Best Conference

Rick Osentoski- USA TODAY Sports

If you didn’t think the Big Ten was the best college basketball conference before Tuesday, the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes should have changed your mind.

It was a battle of two top-10 teams who happen to be bitter rivals and are fighting for a conference championship. There is no other conference that can produce high quality basketball as consistently as the Big Ten has this season. The Buckeyes and Wolverines provided top-notch entertainment with a plethora of lead changes and ties in the final five minutes of regulation and all of overtime.

The two teams were matching each other shot for shot, and it was exhilarating basketball to watch. Michigan may have won 76-74, but it was hard to say Ohio State did not play excellent basketball in the overtime loss.

You can’t talk about this game without looking at the stars on each team and how they stepped up in the clutch. Trey Burke and Deshaun Thomas hit three-pointers 23-seconds apart–Burke to give Michigan the lead and Thomas to subsequently tie it up for Ohio State. Thomas did an excellent job guarding Burke on the final shot, only for the Wolverines’ guard to knock down a contested three-pointer to begin the extra session. Thomas finished the game with 17 points and Burke had 16 points.

The secondary players also stepped up for both squads. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 23 points for the Wolverines, while Aaron Craft had seven rebounds and played excellent defense on Burke for most of the night. LaQuinton Ross came off the Ohio State bench to score 16 points and Mitch McGary had 14 points off the Michigan bench.

Big Ten basketball is the cream of the crop this season in college hoops. There might not be a better game to exemplify the conference’s supremacy than the contest between Michigan and Ohio State on Tuesday night. It was a thrilling matchup between two rivals that played extraordinary basketball and went into overtime. Neither team ever had complete control of the game and this matchup of top-10 teams lived up to the hype.