Iowa-Michigan Preview

The Associated Press

Looking for a late-game spark in their last contest, Michigan turned to its top scorer and let Nik Stauskas lead it to an upset win.

If the No. 21 Wolverines are going to keep their perfect Big Ten record intact, they will likely need another strong performance from the sophomore sharpshooter Wednesday night when they host No. 10 Iowa.

Stauskas scored Michigan's final 11 points in a 77-70 win at then-No. 3 Wisconsin on Saturday, including a highlight reel crossover 3-pointer with 48 seconds remaining to give his team a two-possession lead.

The shooting guard finished with 23 points, which followed a 21-point performance four nights earlier in an 80-67 win over Penn State, and was named the Big Ten's player of the week Tuesday.

Against Iowa, Stauskas and the Wolverines will see one of the few Big Ten teams that can match up with them offensively. Michigan (13-4, 5-0) leads the league with a 53.8 field-goal percentage in conference games, while the Hawkeyes rank first with 86.8 points per game overall.

"(Iowa) can really score points, so keeping easy points from happening to them is really a difficult challenge," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "They're going to get them. At the same time, we have to limit those opportunities."

Michigan's defense has picked up of late, especially in defending the 3-point line. The team ranks among the league's best in that department as Big Ten opponents are shooting 30.3 percent from beyond the arc, four points lower than the Wolverines' average against nonconference foes.

The Hawkeyes (15-3, 4-1) will challenge that defense, as they're coming off some big wins of their own. In their last game, a 94-73 victory against Minnesota on Sunday, the Hawkeyes finished with their highest point total in a Big Ten game since 2006 and shot 9 of 20 from 3-point range.

They pulled away by dominating the second half, scoring 53 points and shooting 53.5 percent. Five Hawkeyes scored in double figures, led by Aaron White's 18 points.

Now they travel to face a Michigan team that defeated them 95-67 a year ago in Ann Arbor, though coach Fran McCaffery said that payback is the furthest thing from the team's mind.

"If you can't get up to play against Michigan, then come on, there's something wrong with you," McCaffery said. "You're at Michigan, they're in the national championship game last year, they're undefeated in our league. That should be enough."

This will mark the first game that Iowa has played while ranked in the top 10 since Dec. 28, 2001. Since that time, the Hawkeyes have played 34 road games against ranked foes, going 4-30. However, the most recent contest during that stretch took place Jan. 12, when Iowa won at then-No. 3 Ohio State 84-74.

This is the second of three consecutive games for Michigan against a top 10 opponent. The Wolverines face No. 3 Michigan State on Saturday, but their focus is on slowing down the high-scoring Hawkeyes.

"They like to shoot quick 3s, and we also like to get out and run," forward Glen Robinson III said. "We both like to get out in transition, score easy points. It's going to come down to who can get the stops."

The Wolverines have won seven of eight in the series, including four in a row at home.

What to Read Next