The 14th ranked Michigan Wolverines (5-2) return to action on Saturday when they host the Iowa State Cyclones (5-2) at Crisler Arena. Michigan should be eager for the opening tip after three full days off to digest their 70-58 loss to the Virginia Cavaliers in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
No doubt coach John Beilein expects his Michigan team to be far more aggressive after the Wolverines were out-rebounded 33-24 by Virginia while only shooting seven free throw for the whole game in which Michigan simply couldn't stop the bleeding after letting a second-half lead slip away.
Michigan leading scorer Tim Hardaway, Jr., averaging 15.4 points per game, will look to bounce back as well after making just two of nine shots against Virginia and scoring five points. The loss on Tuesday appeared to be a let-down game for Michigan after making a splash with a third place finish in the Maui Invitational.
Iowa State also arrives in Ann Arbor at 5-2 on the season having lost their last game to regional rival Northern Iowa, 69-62. Coach Fred Hoiberg has his team shooting it well from behind the three-point arc as the Cyclones are shooting nearly 46 percent from behind the arc. But that percentage took a hit in the loss to Northern Iowa as Iowa State bounced 14 of their 18 three-point attempts.
Michigan needs Hardaway to contribute on the offensive end but it will be equally important for the point guard to team up with fellow perimeter defenders Trey Burke and Zach Novak to keep the Cyclones shooters in check. Iowa State boasts a balanced attack with four players averaging double figures scoring per game in a guard-heavy attack. Guards Chris Allen, Chris Babb, Tyrus McGee and Scott Christopherson all have the green light to shoot it. Babb leads the three-point attack, making over 52 percent of his attempts.
Forward Royce White leads Iowa State in scoring with 14.1 points per game. In fact, the three leading scorers for Iowa State should all be comfortable playing against Michigan since all three transferred from Big Ten schools to play for Hoiberg. White transferred from Minnesota, while Chris Allen transferred from Michigan State and Chris Babb transferred from Penn State. Another transfer from Michigan State, guard Korie Lucious, is sitting out this year for Iowa State.