Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - The 18th-ranked NC State Wolfpack will try to
end their four-game losing streak in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge when they storm
into the Crisler Center to face the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines.
Mark Gottfried's Wolfpack were expected to be one of the best teams in the
country this year after their visit to the Sweet 16 last season. The school
was ranked sixth in the nation to begin the year and held its position in the
top 10 through its first three games with an easy win over Miami-Ohio before
it went to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament to run past Penn State and
Massachusetts. However, the Wolfpack were unable to finish the job on their
trip as they were surprisingly routed in the championship game by Oklahoma
State, 76-56. NC State barely managed to bounce back its last time out with a
narrow 82-80 win over UNC Asheville.
John Beilein has an impressive resume with 20-plus win finishes in 17 of his
34 years coaching. Beilein's current Wolverines squad may be the best he has
had in his entire career. Michigan is currently averaging 81.2 points per
game, after winning its first five games by an average of 24.8 points per
game. The team has also averaged 41.6 rebounds per game and has out-rebounded
its opponents by 14.0 caroms per contest.
This will the sixth meeting between these schools. Michigan can tie the series
at three wins a piece with a victory.
Gottfried has plenty of athleticism and offense on his team with Richard
Howell, Lorenzo Brown, C.J. Leslie, T.J. Warren, Rodney Purvis, and Scott Wood
all carrying double-digit scoring averages through five games. However, the
Wolfpack have showed their weakness on the defensive end of the floor in their
last two outings. The Wolfpack have been especially poor at defending on the
perimeter as OSU's Le'Bryan Nash scored 23 points against them before UNC-
Asheville's Keith Horsby poured in the same amount.
The freshmen duo of Warren and Purvis is making an immediate impact for NC
State. Warren is leading the team in scoring with 14.8 ppg on 68.1 percent
shooting off the bench. Purvis has connected on 58.8 percent of his three-
point attempts. Howell and Leslie provide toughness on the inside with a
combined 15.4 rpg.
The Wolverines' fast 5-0 start to the season was not a filled with cupcake
opposition. After handling IUPUI and Cleveland State at the Crisler Center,
Michigan defeated Pittsburgh by five points and Kansas State by 14 to win the
NIT Season Tip-Off.
The Wolverines are powered mostly by their backcourt duo of Tim Hardaway Jr.
and Trey Burke. The talented tandem has been getting more help than expected
from Glenn Robinson III, who is playing a significant role at forward. The
freshman is generating 12.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game after finishing
with nine points and 12 boards versus KSU. Although there are plenty of
talented point guards this season, it is hard to argue any are better than
Burke. The sophomore point guard is second on the team in scoring (16.4 ppg)
and is dishing out 6.8 assists per contest, which is the 11th highest average
in the nation. Hardaway, Jr. is has used his athletic ability, shooting touch,
and excellent ball handling to fill it up from all over the court. His scoring
prowess has yielded a team-best average of 18.6 ppg. Nik Stauskas is a factor
as well due to his tremendous spot up shooting ability.
The Sports Network