Iowa-Michigan Preview

The Associated Press

While off to its best start in 27 seasons and boasting a No. 2 ranking, Michigan continues to stay focused and won't take anything for granted.

The undefeated Wolverines expect to maintain that attitude as they try for a fourth consecutive home victory over Iowa in Sunday's Big Ten matchup.

Michigan (14-0, 1-0) ranks among the national leaders in scoring (81.1 points per game) and shooting (51.7 percent), and yields 59.0 points per game. The Wolverines - off to their best start since the 1985-86 team began 16-0 - jumped out to 20-4 lead en route to shooting 59.6 percent in Thursday's 94-66 win at Northwestern.

"14-0 that's a great start - and 1-0 in the Big Ten - but we've got to keep the attitude where guys are still doubting us," said star guard Trey Burke, who had 23 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals.

That attitude comes courtesy of coach John Beilein, who has managed to keep his talented team humbled and hungry.

"We're always working that way, like we're hunting all the time and we don't ever want to lose that," he said. "It's not a negative to always be working."

The Wolverines expect to do the same against improving Iowa (11-3, 0-1), which snapped a six-game series skid with a 75-59 home win Jan. 14. The Hawkeyes, however, have averaged 56.0 points while dropping three straight at Crisler Arena by an average of 14.3.

Michigan, which has won its nine home games this season by an average of 26.5 points, continues to be paced by the backcourt of Burke (18.1 ppg, 7.2 assists per game) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (16.2 ppg). Burke has totaled 45 points on 18-of-28 shooting (64.3 percent), including 8 of 13 from 3-point range, and 16 assists in the last two games. Hardaway scored 21 and went 4 of 5 from beyond the arc Thursday after missing the previous contest with an ankle injury.

"Just to see him back out there after his injury," Burke said of Hardaway, who has averaged 21.0 points on 9-of-17 shooting from 3 in his last three contests. "Back in action. Back in the groove. It was great."

Hardaway scored 49 points and shot 57.1 percent, including 10 of 17 from 3-point range, in his first two games versus Iowa before being held to nine while shooting 2 of 13 and missing all eight long-range attempts in last season's loss.

Burke scored 19 in that contest.

With a home date against Nebraska on Wednesday, Michigan has a chance to ease into Big Ten play before visiting eighth-ranked Ohio State and No. 9 Minnesota in consecutive games. The Hawkeyes, meanwhile, suffered a 69-65 home loss to fifth-ranked Indiana on Monday and host No. 18 Michigan State on Thursday after this contest.

"We lock in to what we need to do to get better,'' said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, who starts three freshman. "We lock in to what we think we need to do to beat that team. In my estimation, there's no other way to do it.''

Though the Hawkeyes forced 15 turnovers and held Indiana guard Jordan Hulls scoreless, they shot 33.3 percent. Junior swingman and Michigan native Roy Devyn Marble (15.6 ppg) scored 14, but was 1 of 14 from the field.

Iowa snapped a six-game Big Ten road skid with a 62-53 win at Nebraska on Feb. 29.

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