Michigan believes when it gets open looks at the basket, it will
make opponents pay.
It might not get many good looks, however, against Virginia’s
The 14th-ranked Wolverines look to build on an encouraging
showing at the Maui Invitational on Tuesday night when they visit
the Cavaliers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
After opening the season with three wins over lesser
competition, Michigan’s schedule become considerably more
challenging on its trip to Hawaii. The Wolverines (5-1) opened the
tournament beating then-No. 8 Memphis 73-61 on Nov. 21 before
losing to No. 6 Duke 82-75 the next day. They bounced back from
that tough loss with a 79-63 win over UCLA in the third-place
Michigan coach John Beilein was pleased with what he saw from
his team against three top-tier programs.
“You don’t know how people are going to do when all of a sudden,
the teams and the coaches that you see on television every day, and
all of a sudden, it’s you,” he said. “I really liked what we saw
The offense was strong throughout the Hawaii tournament,
averaging 75.7 points on 54.4 percent shooting. Guard Tim Hardaway
Jr. averaged 20.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting and was named Big
Ten player of the week.
Zack Novak scored a career-high 22 points on 7 of 8 shooting
against the Bruins, while the Wolverines shot 61.7 percent and made
7 of 14 3-pointers.
“We were getting good looks,” Novak said. “When we do that,
we’re pretty good shooters and we’re going to knock them
Getting a similar shot selection in Charlottesville could be
difficult as Virginia is known for its stingy defense under coach
The Cavaliers (5-1) are one of the best defensive teams in the
country, holding opponents to an average of 45.3 points and 33.5
percent shooting, but they haven’t faced an offense as strong as
Michigan’s. While the Wolverines were heavily tested in Maui,
Virginia’s schedule has consisted of South Carolina State,
Winthrop, TCU, Drexel, Drake and Green Bay.
Bennett, though, believes his team his fit for stopping
“They’re one of the best teams in the country it appears,” he
said. “You have to be so good defensively. Certainly we need to be
healthy and we’ll need to play at a high level, but our system is
geared to play good teams and we’re going to give everything we’ve
Health could be a bit of a concern, but the Cavaliers expect to
have Sammy Zeglinski available after he appeared to aggravate an
ankle injury with 12:03 remaining in Friday’s 68-42 win over Green
Bay. X-rays were negative and Zeglinski said he was OK.
Zeglinski, who has been slowed by several injuries over his
career and originally hurt his ankle during a scrimmage Nov. 5, was
making his first start of the season.
KT Harrell had started Virginia’s first five games at guard
before moving into a reserve role Friday. He provided the team with
a spark off the bench, scoring a season-best 14 points on 5 of 8
“It’s nice to have a little bit of a scoring punch like KT
coming off the bench,” Bennett said.
This will be the Cavaliers’ first game against the Wolverines
since suffering a 102-65 loss in the regional finals of the 1989
NCAA tournament. Michigan is 2-1 in the series.
The Wolverines defeated Clemson last season in the ACC/Big 10
Challenge after losing their previous four in the competition.
Virginia defeated then-No. 15 Minnesota in last season’s ACC/Big
10 Challenge after losing its last two.