Michigan throttled Slippery Rock on Friday night and now returns to action tonight in the NIT Season Tip-Off against IUPUI. It will be the first Division I team Michigan has faced so far this season – both exhibition games and Friday’s game were against Division II foes.
IUPUI won its first game of the season on Friday 67-54 over Utah Valley. The Jaguars were picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll for The Summit League after finishing 14-18 last season. Two starters from that squad return this season, as well as a transfer from Purdue.
The leading returning starter is Ian Chiles, who averaged 10.5 points per game last season. He shot 45 percent from the field and 42 percent from three.
The transfer from Purdue is John Hart who led the Jags with 19 points on Friday night. He played in 63 games over three seasons for the Boilermakers and averaged 3.8 points per game during the 2010-11 season.
Sophomore forward Lyonell Gaines started 27 of 32 games as a true freshman last season, averaging 6.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. However, he scored just two points in 13 minutes on Friday night.
Center Mitchell Patton scored 15 on 7-of-11 shooting. He averaged 3.9 points per game a year ago. The other starters were guard Greg Rice, forward Donovan Gibbs, and guard Sean Esposito. Rice and Gibbs both scored 10 and Gibbs led the team with nine rebounds, while Esposito scored just three on 1-of-8 shooting. He was a 40 percent three-point shooter last season while coming off the bench.
The first game of the NIT Season Tip-Off shouldn’t give Michigan much trouble, especially inside where Michigan is now strong with the addition of Mitch McGary, the presence of Jordan Morgan, and emergence of Jon Horford (provided he stays healthy). On the perimeter, IUPUI just won’t have the talent to keep up with Michigan’s highly-touted backcourt. Expect another big win to pull Michigan within a win of advancing to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden.