E. Michigan-Michigan Preview

The Associated Press

Paced by two of the nation's top guards, Michigan continues to roll over its competition.

That's not expected to change when the second-ranked Wolverines look to continue their dominance over neighboring Eastern Michigan on Thursday night at the Crisler Center.

Michigan is winning by an average of 20.7 points while off to the school's best start since the 1988-89 national championship team also began 11-0. Trey Burke had a season-high 27 points with eight assists and Tim Hardaway Jr. matched his season best with 25 in the Wolverines' 81-66 victory over West Virginia on Saturday in Brooklyn.

Again a serious national title contender, the Wolverines are in good position to open with 12 straight wins for the first time since the 1985-86 team started 16-0. Burke (18.0 points, 7.0 assists per game) and Hardaway (15.7 ppg) have had much to do with the success.

"Both of them surprise me sometimes on what they can do,'' coach John Beilein said. "There's still some things we can't teach that they are able to do. Both have the same passion for the game and it shows.''

Hardaway went 4 of 8 from 3-point range and added three assists to break out after he averaged 10.3 points and shot 5 of 18 (27.8 percent) from beyond the arc in the previous four games.

"Once he hits the first couple you hope it's going to continue,'' Beilein said. "I see him in practice every day. We want them to take the same shots in games that they make in practice and Tim makes those in practice.''

Burke and Hardaway will try to help Michigan continue its recent success against an Eastern Michigan team that makes the 5.7-mile trip from Ypsilanti. Winners in 22 of 23 at the Crisler Center, the Wolverines have won six straight over the Eagles (6-3) by an average 26.4 points.

Eastern Michigan's last victory in the series was 89-83 in overtime over the No. 21 Wolverines on Dec. 17, 1997 - also the Eagles' most recent win against a Top 25 team. Michigan rolled to a 91-60 win in the latest meeting Dec. 13, 2008.

The Eagles rank among the national leaders allowing 57.6 points per game but have allowed more than 70 in each of their two defeats that have come over the last three contests. EMU is also one of the nation's worst offensive teams, averaging 57.2 points and shooting 38.7 percent. It has been even worse over its last three games, scoring 47.7 and making 31.4 percent of its attempts.

EMU followed a 47-44 home win over Purdue on Dec. 8 with a 74-48 loss at Illinois-Chicago on Saturday.

Senior guard Derek Thompson averages a team-leading 12.3 points but has been held to eight three times and seven once over the last five games.

The Eagles' skid against ranked opponents since that win over Michigan 15 years ago reached 11 with an 84-48 loss at No. 3 Syracuse on Dec. 3.

What to Read Next