Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 2/16/12

The 17th ranked Michigan Wolverines (19-7, 9-4) will host #6 Ohio State (22-4, 10-3) on Saturday night in a colossal showdown at Crisler. The game will tip at 9pm and be televised on espn. First place in the Big Ten is on the line, with a win, U-M will move into a tie with OSU in the conference standings.

Ohio State took out the frustrations of their home loss to Michigan State by easing past Minnesota on Wednesday night. The Buckeyes handled Michigan back on January 29th in a 64-49 victory at Value City Arena. This time the game will be played at Crisler Center where the Wolverines are 14-0 this season.

This tilt with OSU marks the second to last home game in the careers of Stu Douglass and Zack Novak. The duo arrived in Ann Arbor with little fanfare, but will be leaving as legends. The contributions they have made to the program at Michigan are immeasurable. Now, in the closing moments of their careers, a Big Ten title is in reach and a run in the NCAA Tournament is on the horizon.

The game has been declared a Maize Out and that means all fans are encouraged to wear Maize. That’s right wear Maize, not blue, not gray – don’t be one of those fans who show up and are not supporting the Maize Out effort. Maize pom pons will be provided to all fans in attendance. Additionally, ESPN’s College GameDay crew is in town for the game and the FanCam will make its first appearance with the Basketball team. Here is everything you need to know about all the festivities on Saturday.

So the stage is set, there couldn’t be much more pomp and circumstance surrounding this contest, which has officially become one of the most hyped in Michigan Basketball history. All that is left is for Michigan to deliver a knockout punch to the Buckeyes.

As the season has unfolded this Michigan team has navigated the 2nd most difficult schedule in the country. They’ve battled through some obstacles along the way and come out a better team for it. Influenced greatly by devotion to the team, by regard for their leaders, Novak and Douglass, and conviction for their cause, a Big Ten Championship, these Wolverines now stand on the brink of doing something truly amazing.

A victory on Saturday night will serve as a warning order for the rest of College Basketball. These Wolverines are legit and come tourney time, playing on a neutral court, there isn’t a team in the country they can’t take down. It doesn’t all hinge on beating Ohio State, but if they do, it sends them into the final four regular season games (at Northwestern, Purdue, at Illinois, at Penn State) with some serious momentum. The combined conference record of their opponents in those last four games is 20-32. Of those 4 teams, only Purdue at 7-6, has a winning record in the Big Ten, and Michigan gets them at Crisler on Senior Day.

Predictions: So far this season, I am 19-7 and Joe is 18-8 predicting the outcome of Michigan’s games. We both like Michigan to remain undefeated at home.

Joe: Michigan 67-65
Rob: Michigan 64-57

You can follow Joe and I on Twitter @isportsRob and @isportsJoe

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