Led by a potent three-guard attack, Michigan already looked like a serious contender for the national title. The Wolverines could be even scarier if their front line continues to come along.
No. 3 Michigan should be able to continue its impressive start when it hosts Binghamton on Tuesday night.
The Wolverines (9-0) are off to their best start since going 11-0 to begin the 1988-89 season, which ended with their only NCAA championship. With the guard trio of Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas, they've mostly employed a perimeter-oriented offense common on John Beilein-coached teams.
The Burke-Hardaway-Stauskas trio didn't waver in Michigan's 80-67 win over Arkansas on Saturday, combining for 42 points in Beilein's 100th victory with the school. But the season-high 12 points and 10 rebounds the Wolverines received from Jordan Morgan were more surprising.
The junior forward, who has started all nine of Michigan's games, averaged 6.3 points and 4.9 boards prior to Saturday's effort. Morgan's six offensive rebounds against the Razorbacks matched a career high.
"Jordan worked his tail off all summer, and you can see the results," said Burke, a preseason All-American who ranks in the top 10 nationally with 7.1 assists per game.
"He scored some points, but in every game, he's doing little things that make us a much better team. He keeps possessions alive. He grabs defensive rebounds, he shuts people down in the post and he gives us a big body down low."
Morgan helped Michigan bully its way to 42-26 advantages in both rebounds and points in the paint against Arkansas.
His continued emergence would add even more balance to a starting lineup that has its four other players all averaging at least 12.2 points. Morgan is the only starter taller than 6-foot-6, and also the only one who isn't a 3-point threat.
Michigan has relied heavily on outside shooting - and with great results. The Wolverines rank among the nation's 10 best 3-point shooting teams, hitting 42.1 percent of those shots.
Stauskas leads the way at 60.5 percent (23 of 38) and fellow freshman Glenn Robinson III hit 2 of 3 on Saturday, part of a 7-of-11 performance from the field for 17 points.
"We're all unselfish; we all don't care who scores the ball," Stauskas told Michigan's official website. "And at the end of the day the team goal is to win games."
Tuesday's game will serve as a prelude to what should be Michigan's final non-conference test. The Wolverines will play West Virginia - Beilein's former employer - on Saturday night in the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival at the Barclays Center before tuning up for the Big Ten season at home against Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan.
Binghamton (2-8) appears to be Michigan's weakest remaining opponent. The Bearcats are one win away from already surpassing last season's total, but they've lost four in a row since beating St. Peter's and Marywood. They're 0-8 against Top 25 teams since joining Division I in 2001, getting outscored by an average of 34.0 points in those games.
They lost 78-56 at Bryant on Saturday despite freshman guard Jordan Reed's 15 points and eight rebounds. Reed is the only Bearcat averaging double-digit points with 18.3, and he's also pulling down 10.0 boards per game.
Michigan won the only previous meeting, 59-46 in 2004.
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