State of OSU-Michigan as a basketball rivalry
Michigan and Ohio State meet up once a year in football and it's almost always the most anticipated game on the schedule. The question is, will the basketball rivalry ever get to that level?
This season is the first time in a long time that both teams are ranked highly in the polls. It usually takes years of high profile match-ups to pick up steam as a big time rivalry. And since Thad Matta is 17-3 against the Wolverines that shows you it's been a one-sided affair for the last eight or nine years.
Matta was asked his opinion on Monday.
"It's not like football. There's no question about it," Matta said. "The big thing is we've already played once. Both of us have a real quick turnaround. We both played Saturday night. But I think when the ball is tipped it's OSU-Michigan but the lead up to it hasn't been that much."
It's all valid. Unless you're talking about Duke-North Carolina (and nothing in basketball is on that level) it's hard to pinpoint serious college basketball rivalries. Matta is right. There's hardly any time to build up because both teams had just two days off in between games.
That doesn't mean that Mich-OSU can't develop into something special. The rivalry that exists in football is almost a built-in reason for the basketball rivalry to take off. If John Beilein keeps Michigan in the rankings for years to come and Matta does the same, the games will only get better.
"The rivalry is serious in basketball. More serious in football but getting bigger in basketball as you could tell when they came here," Deshaun Thomas said. "The atmosphere was crazy the crowd was in it. The rivalry is as important in basketball as it is in football."
Maybe the players believe that but it would take one heck of a rivalry to equal what exists in football. The natural hate already exists. Now they have to start exchanging some punches.