ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A loss is a loss but the way Michigan went down in Iowa City Sunday to drop to 9-2 in Big Ten play could be discouraging to most.
For the No. 15 Wolverines and Coach John Beilein there’s still plenty to be encouraged about.
“When we went to practice yesterday we were in first place,” Beilein said Tuesday. “We went to Iowa in first place, we practiced yesterday and we were in first place.
“So, nothing really changes and we just got to continue to; as we know this league, one through 12, anybody can beat you on any given day and we’ve got to try to do what we can do to win.”
And win is what Michigan hopes to do Tuesday night as they head to Columbus for a date with the No. 22 Ohio State Buckeyes.
Thad Matta and Ohio State are riding a three game win streak including wins over No. 14 Wisconsin and No. 17 Iowa, both in tough road atmospheres.
“They lost some close games and they won some close games,” Beilein said. “The one that probably is most, the stranger one, is Penn State and we know that story as well.
“But they lost to Iowa at home, Iowa’s a really good team. They lost to Michigan State; Michigan State’s a really good team. Their other loss was who, they beat Wisconsin and they’re a really good team but they’re all one-possession games.”
Senior point guard Aaron Craft went through countless battles in Trey Burke’s two seasons in Ann Arbor, often a frustrating thorn in the side of the 2012-13 National Player of the Year.
Now, it’s sophomore Nik Stauskas’ turn to potentially deal with Craft and his pesky on the ball defense. Fortunately, in practice, the Wolverines have a preparation plan in place.
“LaVall Jordan does a pretty good imitation of him,” Beilein said. “He’s got a rare ability to be able to see the ball in slow motion and just grab it from you.
“That’s three steals a game again and with him, the one thing you have before that him and Shannon Scott weren’t in together a lot before. Now they’re in together and he’s stealing it two times a game. They’re just great defenders; as good as I’ve ever seen.”
In the midst of yet another tough stretch of games in the Big Ten, Michigan is dealing with a double-edged sword of sorts. Not taking long to get back into game action, the Wolverines could make it a positive, and quick, bounce back performance Tuesday.
“One of the good things in basketball is sometimes you play two or three times a week,” Beilein said. “One of the bad things in basketball is sometimes you play two or three times a week.
“You can get over a loss or get your momentum going but when it’s time for repair or rest there isn’t a lot of time.”
Michigan and Ohio State split their meetings in the 2013 conference season, both protecting home court.
Michigan and Ohio State tip-off at 9 p.m. Tuesday night.