The 2nd ranked Michigan Wolverines were looking to complete a 2-0 week and take advantage of a Duke loss in Miami. They were taking on an Illinois Fighting Illini team that is looking to find themselves in the tough Big10 conference.
The first half was an ugly one for Illinois. The Fighting Illini just settled for deep, contested 3-pointers as they couldn’t get anything done against the tough Michigan defense. Possible Big10 Player of the Year Trey Burke and possible Big10 Freshman of the Year Nik Stauskas led the Wolverines with nine points each in the first half and Michigan led 35-27 at the half. Burke drove the lane and got some tough layups to go, while Stauskas did most of his work from deep.
The first half saw center Jordan Morgan suffer a sprained right ankle and he did not return. Instead freshman Mitch McGary and Max Bielfeldt and sophomore Jon Horford stepped up in his place and played very well. After Illinois fought their way back to within seven on a Joseph Bertrand jumper, McGary had a tip in off of a Burke miss.
Burke then stole the ball from Illinois guard Brandon Paul and Burke went all the way in for a jam. Paul had five of the Fighting Illini’s 15 turnovers. Michigan later would go on a 9-0 run to put the game away. Michigan pulled out a 74-60 win and improved to 19-1, the best start in school history. The Wolverines are 6-1 in Big10 play and look to sweep Northwestern on Wednesday at the Crisler Center. If Michigan becomes the #1 ranked team in the country, it will be the first time since the 1992-93 season that the Wolverines will be ranked #1.
Burke led the Wolverines with 19 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Stauskas had 14, freshman Glenn Robinson III had 12 and seven boards, and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 12 points. McGary, Horford, and Bielfeldt combined for 17 points and 14 rebounds in picking up the slack for Morgan.