GAME NOTES: The scorching hot Michigan Wolverines continue their quest for the 2014 Big Ten Conference championship, as the 10th-ranked Wolverines pay a visit to the 17th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday afternoon.
Michigan has won 11 of its last 12 games, nine of which have come against conference foes, and the team is an impressive 17-5 overall. The Wolverines are fresh off a 79-50 rout of visiting Nebraska, but now they take to the road where they are just a game over .500 on the season at 4-3.
Iowa has had a highly successful campaign as well, logging a 17-6 record, although the Big Ten slate has offered more than a few pitfalls as it currently sits at 6-4 against its league brethren. The Hawkeyes are coming off a loss in their most recent outing, as they dropped a 76-69 decision to Ohio State on Tuesday. Iowa has actually lost two of its last three, and three of its last five, and while the team is a solid 11-2 at home this season, both losses occurred in its last two outings.
These two teams met in Ann Arbor on Jan. 22, and Michigan claimed a 75-67 win to increase its lead in the all-time series to 91-58. The Wolverines have won 11 of the last 13 meetings overall.
Glenn Robinson III scored 23 points, while Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin tacked on 16 apiece, helping Michigan roll to a 29-point win over Nebraska earlier in the week. The Wolverines shot 50 percent from the floor, knocking down 13- of-31 3-point attempts (.419), and they went a perfect 14-of-14 at the free- throw line. They held a 35-26 edge on the glass, while limiting the Cornhuskers to 35.2 percent field goal efficiency, which included a 5-of-21 effort from beyond the arc (.238).
Nik Stauskas, who tallied only nine points but dished out a career-best eight assists in the win over Nebraska, continues to lead the team and rank among the league leaders in scoring with his 17.3 ppg. Robinson III (13.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and LeVert (12.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg) are the only players currently averaging double figures in the scoring column for a Michigan squad that is putting up 76.1 ppg, while permitting just 63.7 ppg. The Wolverines are guilty of fewer than 10 turnovers per tilt, while being credited with a favorable rebounding margin (+2.1).
Iowa was ice cold from long distance in the recent loss to Ohio State, finding the bottom of the net on only 3-of-20 3-point attempts (.150). The Hawkeyes did manage a 45.0 percent shooting effort overall, and they received double- digit scoring performances from Mike Gesell (16 points), Gabriel Olaseni (14 points) and Roy Devyn Marble (10 points). Iowa's bench outscored Ohio State's, 27-13, but the Buckeyes made good on 51 percent of their total shots, including 7-of-16 from downtown, while also laying claim to a 19-12 advantage in points from the foul line.
Iowa is one of the highest scoring teams in the nation, netting 83.7 ppg behind typical shooting outputs of .472 overall and .358 from behind the 3- point line. Defensively, the team is yielding 67.1 ppg, with foes shooting just 38.6 percent from the field and 29.1 percent from the perimeter. Marble is still the team's leading scorer, turning in 16.0 ppg, while the only other double-digit producer is Aaron White with his 13.3 ppg. White spearheads the club's rebounding effort with 6.5 rpg, the team as a whole checking in with a margin of +9.8 on the glass.
Both teams have serious postseason aspirations, but the Wolverines are the hotter team right now so expect them to quiet the Iowa faithful, thus handing the Hawkeyes their third straight home loss.
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