On Sunday Michigan (12-3, 2-1) will host Iowa (11-5, 1-2). The game is scheduled to tip at 11:30am and will be televised on The Big Ten Network. I have no idea why they are tipping off at 11:30 that just seems like a goofy time to me.
Iowa is in their second season under Coach Todd Lickliter. They have 3 players averaging double digits in scoring led by Anthony Tucker at 11.8 points per game. Tucker has also gone 35-80 on three pointers (Michigan’s leading three point shooter is Zack Novak with 25-59). The Hawkeyes are also getting good production from Matt Gatens 10.7 points per game, Jeff Peterson 10.1 points per game, and Jake Kelly 9.7 points per game.
Iowa will shoot a lot of three pointers and ranks 20th in the nation in made three pointers per game with 8.9 (Michigan is 12th in the nation with 9.1 made threes per game).
Iowa is 1-2 in Big Ten play. They opened with a 68-65 loss at Ohio State. They beat Indiana at home 65-60 and lost to Minnesota on Thursday 52-49.
Michigan will look to break a disturbing trend that has developed in the last 3 games in which the opponent has had high scoring and high shooting percentages in the first half.
This is also the third game of a 3 game stretch that I had identified as critical. The 3 game stretch started with the Illinois win, continued with the big comeback win at Indiana and culminates with this game. I had said Michigan had to win two of the three games, preferably all three. I think they have a good chance of winning this game.
I have heard people complaining about this team, the slow starts and the defensive lapses. To that I say, this is a young team that has fought back from 20 point deficits to win 2 games. It is also a team that never quits. They have a coaching staff that never quits and they all believe in each other and what they are doing.
Next up is a 3 games in 6 days stretch with trips to Illinois and Penn State sandwiching a home game against Ohio State.