The Big Ten – ACC Challenge kicked off on Tuesday night with Michigan State losing to Louisville, but the most anticipated game of this early season battle played annually between the two top conferences comes on Wednesday from Crisler Arena.
Wednesday’s match-up between the No. 7 Wolverines and the No. 11 North Carolina Tar Heels has all the makings of a classic college basketball game. The Wolverines are led by a top-ten defense and use a methodical and efficient offense to keep opponents at bay. UNC, on the other hand, comes into the game with a top ten scoring offense with an extreme pace of play.
Wolverines’ head coach John Beilein, in his pre-game press conference Tuesday, said the following to describe how UNC’s coach Roy Williams’ style,
“When I think about Coach Williams’ teams at Kansas, it’s like when they’re running, they are running downhill. It’s like a freight train coming at you.”
It is clear that the Wolverines will need to have their best effort of the year on the offensive glass as well as making sure that they take quality shots followed by immediately stopping the ball to prevent the Tar Heels from breaking out.
Coach Beilein also credited Michigan’s solid early start to its two leaders, Zavier Simpson, and Charles Mathews, as well as the excellent play of Ignas Brazdeikis. He was also quick to point out that Ignas has a long way to go which is expected when you have a freshman playing so many minutes. Beilein went as far as saying if Brazdeikis continues to grow and learn he can turn in to a Manu Ginobili type player. High praise from the typically understated Michigan coach.
At any rate, the showdown on Wednesday is a great early season meeting of two teams looking to have a big impact on the NCAA Basketball Tournament and their respective conferences. While the early season games are not everything, we can learn a great deal about the areas the two teams can work on for the remainder of the season. Make sure to tune in tomorrow at 9 PM.
JUST IN: AP Top 25 poll released – Michigan makes biggest jump
After a perfect 5-0 start to the season, and a dominant performance against the Providence Friars on Sunday, the Michigan basketball team has made a big impression across the country jumping nine spots to No. 9 in the latest AP Poll.
Suffocating defense, a well-oiled machine on offense, and the surprising fast-break ability of the 2018-19 Wolverines seem to point to this team being for real. They are led by a cast of veterans including Charles Mathews and Zavier Simpson at guard as well as the stand-out freshman Ignas Brazdeikis. Depth and clutch shooting from behind the arc have all contributed to this early success including a huge 73-46 victory in the finals rematch with Villanova last week.
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