Michigan-Iowa St. Preview
The home tune-ups are over for Michigan.
After a pair of wins in Ann Arbor by an average of 30.5 points, the seventh-ranked Wolverines visit Iowa State on Sunday for their first true test since last year's national championship game.
Michigan (2-0) is coming off one of its best 3-point shooting nights. The Wolverines went 15 for 28 in Tuesday's 93-59 win over South Carolina State, just missing the school record of 16 3-pointers. The last time they did it was Dec. 23, 2010, against Bryant.
Sophomores Caris LeVert and Nik Stauskas scored career highs against the Bulldogs.
LeVert, a role player last season who never scored more than nine points, finished with a game-high 24 and went 6 of 7 from long range in his third career start. The 6-foot-6 guard is scoring 20.5 points per game on 59.1 percent shooting. He averaged only 2.3 points as a freshman and is getting his first chance to showcase his ability.
"He is a nightmare on closeouts," coach John Beilein said. "If somebody's got to go get to him, he can shoot it in or go by you."
Stauskas drained 5 of 6 from 3-point range for a career-best 23 points. He started as a freshman and averaged 11.0 points with three 20-point games, but spent plenty of time conceding shots to Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. in the backcourt.
Sophomore forward Mitch McGary is yet to make his 2013-14 debut. He missed the first two games with a lower-back injury but has not been ruled out against Iowa State.
The Wolverines are holding opponents to 32.4 percent shooting and 50.5 points per game. They know doing so in a Big 12 opponent's gym will be a little more difficult, so they've spent the week simulating the noise in practice.
"The big thing is getting used to the fact that everybody's not yelling for you, they're yelling against you," Beilein told the school's official website.
While Michigan had a memorable run to the Final Four a year ago, Iowa State also did some postseason damage. The Cyclones dismantled Notre Dame to open the NCAA Tournament before nearly knocking off second-seeded Ohio State for a spot in the Sweet 16.
They've done even more damage in their own gym in recent years.
The Cyclones (2-0) are 37-3 at home and have won 15 straight against non-conference opponents since the start of the 2009-10 season. None of those opponents were ranked, and they haven't hosted a top 10 non-conference team since 1997 - a 60-59 loss to No. 10 Iowa.
"To be able to play a team that was playing for a national championship a year ago with a lot of those key contributors back will be a heck of a test for us, but it's also exciting," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "It will show us a lot about our team and where we are right now."
Their last home loss to a non-conference opponent was against Northern Iowa on Nov. 30, 2011 - one game before their last meeting with Michigan. The Wolverines won that game 76-66 in Ann Arbor on Dec. 2, 2011 and lead the all-time series 5-4, though they've dropped three of five in Ames.
Iowa State comes in after outscoring UNC-Wilmington and Texas A&M Corpus Christi by an average of 31.5 points at home.
Tuesday's 80-50 win over Corpus Christi featured five Cyclones in double figures, led by DeAndre Kane's 15 points. The senior guard is averaging 14.0 in his first to games at the school since transferring from Marshall.
Sophomore forward Georges Niang is also averaging 14.0, while sophomore guard Naz Long leads the team with 15.5 in his first two starts after playing limited minutes as a freshman.
Long has gone 9 of 14 to pace the team's 45.6-percent mark from long range (26 of 57).
The Cyclones have also been without a starter. Forward Melvin Ejim has been out with a hyperextended left knee and his status against Michigan is unknown.