Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - The second-ranked Michigan Wolverines attempt
to keep their perfect season alive on Sunday afternoon when they play host to
the Iowa Hawkeyes in a Big Ten Conference showdown at the Crisler Center.
Thanks to a five-game winning streak in November and a six-game spurt in
December, Iowa has gotten off to an impressive 11-3 start this season. The
Hawkeyes have only played one true road game however, dropping a 95-79
decision at Virginia Tech on Nov. 27.
This matchup will mark the Hawkeyes' second straight game against a top five
opponent, as they lost a home heartbreaker at the hands of Indiana in their
conference opener, 69-65. They kept their deficit to single-digits for most of
the second half, even getting the contest to one-possession on several
occasions, but Indiana shot 4-of-6 from the foul line in the final 30 seconds
to seal the win. Despite playing strong field goal percentage defense against
the high-power Hoosiers (.400), the Hawkeyes were unable to take advantage, as
it shot just 33.3 percent from the floor, including 3-of-17 from 3-point
range. Aaron White led the way in the setback with 15 points, while Roy Devyn
Marble (14 points, nine rebounds) and Mike Gesell (13 points) were also
At 14-0, Michigan is one of just four remaining unbeaten teams in Division I,
joining Duke, Arizona, and Wyoming. It marks the program's second-best start
in school history behind only the 1985-86 campaign when it began the year
16-0. Its dominance at the Crisler Center has been well-documented over the
past two seasons, as it has dropped just one of its last 25 home games.
The Wolverines opened up their league schedule on Thursday night in dominating
fashion, going on the road to dismantle a nine-win Northwestern squad, 94-66.
The shooting effort was nothing short of spectacular, as the team made just
shy of 60 percent of their field goal attempts (including 13-of-22 from beyond
the arc) and all five starters scored in double figures. Trey Burke (23
points) and Tim Hardaway, Jr. (21 points) connected on four 3-pointers apiece
and the two combined for nine assists to just four turnovers. Jordan Morgan
tallied a double-double with 12 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, while
Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas each netted 10 points.
Michigan holds a 89-58 advantage in the all-time series over its long-time
rival, and even though it has won eight of the past 10 meetings, Iowa claimed
the last matchup, 75-59, in Iowa City on Jan. 14, 2012.
Iowa has been stellar on both ends of the floor all season long, scoring the
fourth-most points in the conference (76.1 ppg), while allowing opponents to
net just 61.7 ppg. Marble has been the team's most consistent source of
points, putting up 15.6 ppg while also contributing 4.5 rpg, 2.9 apg, and 0.9
spg. White (13.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg) is the only other Hawkeye to score double-
digits on a nightly basis, but they rely on a deep rotation in which 10
players tally at least 3.3 ppg.
Michigan has been dominant in all facets of the game from the very start of
the season. Not only does it rank 13th in the nation in scoring (81.1 ppg),
but it holds opponents to just 59.0 ppg, while turning the ball over less than
10 times per contest and boasting a fantastic +9.1 rebounding margin. One of
the strongest starting-fives in the nation is anchored by Burke, who scores
18.1 ppg and ranks eighth in the country in handing out 7.2 apg. Hardaway, Jr.
(16.2 ppg) is also a potent scorer, and Stauskas (13.6 ppg) is deadly from 3-
point range, draining 41 triples at a 53.9 percent clip. Robinson nets 11.9
ppg on nearly 59 percent shooting and grabs a team-high 5.9 rpg.
The Sports Network