After dominating Northwestern in the Big Ten opener on Thursday night, Michigan returns home on Sunday afternoon to face the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten home opener at noon on the Big Ten Network.
Iowa comes in with an impressive-looking 11-3 record, although when you examine their schedule you’ll see an utter lack of quality opponents. The highest ranked team the Hawkeyes have beaten is Iowa State, which is No. 47 according to Pomeroy. Aside from the Cyclones, Iowa lost to Pomeroy No. 20 Wichita State and lost by just four to 5th-ranked Indiana. The latter was certainly impressive, as Iowa may have pulled it off had leading scorer Devyn Marble shot better than 1-of-14. Still, he scored 14 points thanks to a 12-of-13 performance from the free throw line, but if he had merely shot 21 percent from the field, it may have been good enough.
As a team, Iowa shoots just over 44 percent, but is a good rebounding team, averaging 41.4 per game. That’s good for 19th nationally. By comparison, Michigan averages about four rebounds fewer. On the other hand, Iowa gives up about six more rebounds than Michigan does. The Hawkeyes also average nearly 17 assists per game, which is 24th nationally, but they also turn the ball over nearly 14 times per game.
As mentioned above, Devyn Marble is the main man, averaging 15.6 points per game. He’s also third on the team with 4.5 rebounds a game. The 6-6 guard from Southfield, Mich. dropped 30 and 27 in consecutive games against Northern Iowa and South Carolina State. In those two games, he connected on 10-of-17 threes and 14-of-27 shots overall. But like his poor shooting outing against Indiana, when he’s off, he’s off. He also went 2-of-10 against Iowa State and scored just six points. Perhaps not so coincidentally, those two poor outings were against the best teams Iowa has played so far. Add in his 4-of-12 performance against Wichita State and he shot a combined 10-of-36 against the top three opponents.
Sophomore forward Aaron White is the only other Hawkeye averaging double figures at 13.7 points. He also leads the team in rebounding with a 6.4 average. Unlike Marble, he stepped up in big games, scoring 15 against IU and 18 against Iowa State. Despite being 6’8″, he has the ability to step out and hit the three every now and then, though he’s just 21.7 percent.
Freshman point guard Mike Gesell averages 9.6 points and 3.3 assists. He scored 23 against Northern Iowa, hitting 4-of-6 threes. But he had a 2-of-10 outing against Iowa State and 0-of-8 against Gardner-Webb, so he’s prone to poor shooting nights as well. He’ll have a tough time keeping up with Trey Burke.
Junior forward Melsahn Basabe averages 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. His season high is 17 points against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and he only has one other double-digit scoring game on the season.
Freshman guard Anthony Clemmons leads the team with 3.9 assists per game and also has the ability to knock down the three, shooting 41.2 percent.
The center is 7’1″ freshman Adam Woodbury out of Sioux City, Iowa who averages 6.4 points and leads the team with 5.4 rebounds per game. His season high was 13 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. If there’s someone on the team you want to foul, it’s him as he shoots just 51.9 percent from the line.
Iowa is a team Michigan has had some struggles with in the past few years, but that has been on the road. With this game being in Ann Arbor, there should be no cause for concern. The only thing that may make this closer than expected is a letdown from the big 28-point win at Northwestern. Michigan is bound to have a poor shooting night one of these nights, but it shouldn’t matter in this one. The Wolverines have too much talent for the overmatched Hawkeyes and should win by around 15 points.