Michigan Basketball will host NC State on Tuesday night as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30pm and the game will be televised on ESPN. The Wolverines enter the game with a spotless 5-0 record and are fresh off an NIT Season Tip off championship.
The Wolfpack began the season as a Top 5 team, but have stumbled out of the gate. They were thrashed by Oklahoma State 76-56 on November 18th and in their next game they barely slipped by UNC Asheville 82-80. This doesn’t mean NC State won’t be a formidable opponent because they will be. They have 6, count ’em 6 players, averaging double-digits in scoring. Leading the charge is freshman forward TJ Warren (14.8), who was a high school teammate of Mitch McGary’s. Their best player is CJ Leslie who comes in averaging 10.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Senior forward Scott Wood can fill it up from three-point land.
Michigan has been led by the inspired play of Tim Hardaway Jr. He is shooting 61.8% from the field and leads the team in scoring (18.2). He’s also pulling down 6.8 boards per game and is 10-21 (47.6%) from beyond the arc. What’s been most impressive about Hardaway Jr’s start to the season is his determination and unselfishness. He has matured into a leader on the court and has been playing with a killer instinct. Hardaway Jr. is one of 4 Wolverines averaging double-digits in scoring. Joining him are Trey Burke (16.4) and a pair of tantalizing freshmen; Glenn Robinson III (12.4) and Nik Stauskas (11.6). Stauskas was just named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week after averaging 12.5 points and 4.5 rebounds during Michigan’s victories over Pitt and Kansas State. Stauskas has lived up to his billing as an elite shooter. So far this season, he is 59.3% from the field, 58.8% from three-point range and 94.1% from the charity stripe.
Trey Burke is going to spoil us this season. He directs this offense like a maestro. The resulting symphony is a joy to watch with all the athleticism and talent that he is surrounded with. Michigan’s most athletic player is easily Glenn Robinson III. He looks the part of a future NBA star and plays with a poise and confidence beyond his freshman status. He leads the team in rebounding (7.6) and is third in scoring (12.4). Robinson III is efficient from the field (54.8%) and has explosive athletic ability.
This will be Michigan’s first home game in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge since 2009. The Wolverines will be playing in front of a raucous, Maize Rage led, crowd at the now palatial Crisler Center. Michigan has climbed to #3 in the AP Poll and with each win the hype meter is going to increase. This is going to be a fun season and these Michigan players are very likable and easy to root for. So climb on board and follow our coverage all season long. You can find Joe and I on Twitter. I’m @isportsRob and Joe is @isportsJoe
Predictions: So far this season Joe and I are both 5-0 predicting the outcome of Michigan Basketball games. We both like the Wolverines to take care of business at home.
Joe: Michigan 73-60
Rob: Michigan 76-65