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January 07, 2011 - Image 8

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8 - Friday, January 7, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michgandaily.com

0I

8 - Friday, January 7, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

JAYWALKIN' TO CRISLER

Breakdown: Morris
brothers will dominate

By LUKE PASCH Ten opener against Purdue just a
Daily Sports Writer few days prior? Novak's one con-
sistency has been rebounding - he
Sunday afternoon's matchup averages 6.9 boards a game, a team
between No. 3 Kansas and Michi- high. If Michigan's big men can
gan will feature the elite of the Big clear the lane for Novak, he'll out-
12 and one of the youngest squads of rebound the Kansas guards with
the Big Ten.Essentially,thisgameis ease. And in the three games that
far less important for the Jayhawks Novak has scooped up nine or more
than it is for the Wolverines, who defensive boards, he's also tallied
will be looking to prove something double-digit points.
in front of their home crowd. ADVANTAGE: PUSH

POINT GUARD
Tyshawn Taylor: His statistics
aren't particularly eye opening, but
Michigan's backcourt defense will
still have its hands full with'this
6-foot-3 point man. Taylor will be
one of the fastest guards Michigan
will face this season, and his abil-
ity to make quick lateral cuts could
pose problems for the relatively
slow-footed Wolverines. Michigan
may be able to capitalize on turn-
overs - Taylor makes more mental
mistakes per gamethan a third-year
starter should.
Darius Morris: Michigan
wouldn't have the 11-4 record it
holds today if it weren't for Morris'
All-American worthy numbers. He
averages 7.3 assists a game - good
enough for fourth best in the nation
- and a team-high 15.1 points per
game. Out of the top-20 assist-men
in the country, he has the highest
assists-to-turnover ratio (2.79). If
the Wolverines are to beat a more
experienced Kansas squad, they'll
need Morris to limit his mistakes.
ADVANTAGE: MORRIS
WING PLAYER
Tyrel Reed: Reed is by no
means Kansas' most athletic
starter, but he plays with one of
the highest basketball IQs in the
nation. He leads the Jayhawks in
3-point shooting, and the Wol-
verines need to avoid fouling him,
because he shoots with 91-percent
success from the charity stripe.
Reed will only take smart shots, so
if Michigan gets a hand in his face,
he shouldn't do much. But then
again, if he has the ball less, his big
men will have the ball more, which
could doom the Wolverines.
Zack Novak: There's no way to
know which Novak you're going to
get. Will he shoot 5-of-6 from the
field like he did against Penn State?
Or will he go 1-of-4 like in the Big

WING PLAYER
Brady Morningstar: Morn-
ingstar didn't forget how to play
basketball after his semester-long
suspension from the team last year
for a DUI-related arrest. The 6-foot-
3 guard has quietly become a valu-
able player, especially on defense.
This Jayhawk is more of a ball hawk
- he specializes in baiting point
guards to make ill-advised passes
and leads his team with 26 steals.
Expect him to pull this off a couple
of times against the youthful Wol-
verines, even against the mostly
level-headed Morris.
Tim Hardaway Jr.: It's never
easy to perform well on the national
stage as a true freshman. Just ask
Hardaway, who has shot a meager
32-percent from the field in Michi-
gan's first three Big Ten games this
season. The Wolverines will need
Hardawaytogrowup quickly -he's
the team's second leading scorer
and will need to act like it against
Kansas. Expect him to hang around
the perimeter though, as the Morris
brothers clog the paint.
ADVANTAGE: PUSH
FRONTCOURT
Marcus Morris: Here's where
Michigan (and every other Kansas
opponent this season) starts to run
into trouble. Marcus is one of the
nation's elite forwards. He plays
with range, draining shots from the
high post and perimeter - shooting
at a 45-percent clip from beyond the
arc. But he also plays underneath,
terrorizing defenders in the paint
with power and craft.
Markieff Morris: As if one
wasn't enough. Markieff has devel-
oped into one of the most prolific
centers in the nation. He throws all
245 pounds of himself into oppo-
nents to make space for rebounds,
blocks shots enough to scare away
potential drives to the hoop and

registers an impressive 12.9 points
per game.
Evan Smotrycz: Surprisingly,
the freshman forward has excelled
in the big-game setting so far this
season, with some of his better
performances coming on the road
against Clemson and in the confer-
ence schedule. He tends to show
some fire in those important match-
ups as well - against Oakland, he
found himself ina little scuffle with
Golden Grizzly forward Ilija Miluti-
novic. Smotrycz should save some of
that intensity for the Morris broth-
ers. He'll need it.
Jordan Morgan: If there was
ever a time for Morgan to make a
name for himself, this is it. After
getting embarrassed by Concordia's
Rocko Holmes earlier this season,
Morgan has seemingly woken up on
the defensive end. Against Oakland,
he held potential first-round NBA
draft pick Keith Bensen to just 11
points, showing his ability to hold
his own against premier posttalent.
And Beilein has really begun to uti-
lize the power brand of basketball
that Morgan brings to the key.
ADVANTAGE: MORRIS DUO
BENCH
Kansas: Highly touted fresh-
man Josh Selby, since returning
from a nine-game suspension for
receiving impermissible benefits,
has been nothingshort of spectacu-
lar. He averages 15 points per game
and can run over any Division-I
defense and embarrass some very
worthy defenders with an arsenal of
crossovers and hesitation dribbles.
Thomas Robinson has also been
more than capable in the post when
relievingthe Morris brothers.
Michigan: Junior guard Stu
Douglass has been a very effec-
tive sixth man for Michigan this
season. He and sophomore Matt
Vogrich have been rather proficient
in hitting their shots coming off the
bench. But the bench doesn't pro-
vide a whole lot of frontcourt talent.
When Morgan needs to rest or finds
himself in foul trouble, the go-to
guy is freshman Jon Horford. And
while he hasshownpotential for the
years to come, he doesn't match up
well with the Morris brothers.
ADVANTAGE: KANSAS
PREDICTION: KANSAS 74,
MICHIGAN 62

Sophomore guard Darius Morris will play a key role in Sunday's matchup against the third-ranked Jayhawks.
'M' faces-toughest test yet

By ZAK PYZIK notched nine of their own. And
Daily Sports Editor three Wolverines will be back on
the floor on Sunday looking for a
Sunday will be the first time different outcome.
the Michigan basketball team will But this time around, a fresh-
square up with a top-five opponent man that has put fear into opposing
this season. It's also the first time coaches' eyes will be joining the
the Wolverines will play against veterans on the hardwood. Kansas
twins this year. rookie guard Josh Selby is averag-
The dynamic Kasat ing 15 points a game and shooting a
duo of Kansas team-high 56 percent from behind
men's basket- Michigan the arc for the Jayhawks.
ball's forwards Matchup: Selby has been one of the
Marcus and Mar- Kansas 14-0; NCAA's most prolific freshmen in
kieff Morris have Michigan 11-4 this season.
led the third- When: Sunday After being ranked last year's
ranked Jayhawks 4:30 P.M. No. 1 high school recruit by Rivals.
to an unblem com, Selby has lived up to the hype.
ished 14-0 mark eArena He is a combo guard that can
this season. The na crank a shot from anywhere on the
junior twins TV/Radio: floor, even with a hand in his face,
weigh in at a CBS and he averages less thanone turn-
combined weight over a game.
of 480 pounds and average a com- With Kansas scoring more than
bined 28 points and 15 rebounds 75 points in 13 of its 14 games,
per game. Michigan's biggest challenge will
On Sunday, the Morris twins be to either stop or keep up with
will meet Michigan guard Darius Kansas' high scoring offense.
Morris. Containing the Jayhawks will
The floor general will lead the be difficult. Kansas is shooting
Wolverines at Crisler Arena in 54 percent from the field and due
hopes of upsetting undefeated in large part to the Morris twins,
Kansas after falling to the top- have outmuscled almost every
ranked Jayhawks, 75-64, in Law- team they've faced thus far on the
rence, Kansas last season. boards.
In that matchup, Darius tal- But the Morris twins in the post
lied nine points and juniors Zack will be even more troublesome for
Novak and Stu Douglass both the Wolverines.

In Wednesday's loss to Wiscon-
sin, Michigan allowed a combined
30 points from Badger forwards
Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil. If
Michigan fails to stop an aggres-
sive Kansas offense, its own
offense-will have to keep up.
However, if the offense can't
keep up, things don't look bright
for Michigan coach John Beilein
and his Wolverines.
Averaging 68 points a game, the
Wolverines are the second-lowest
scoringteam in the Big Ten.
Michigan is shooting 34 percent
from 3-point range, something that
doesn't work well when a team has
four or five guards on the floor. But
if Michigan leaves victorious, this
Sunday's game in Ann Arbor could
be a huge mark on the Wolverines
resume come March.
"If you look at our schedule, this
is all about opportunity," Michigan
coach John Beilein said. "You've
heard me say before: in the leagues
where I come from, you don't get
these opportunities in January,
February.
"These are guaranteed games in
December at their place... You have
Kansas at home in front of a great
crowd - great chance for a home
win. So these are the opportuni-
ties you look at and say, 'Hey, this
is what these kids have been wait-
ing for a long time to be able to do
this.'"

ICE HOCKEY
Fresh off GLI title, Michigan to take on rival Spartans

By STEPHEN J. NESBITT
Daily Sports Editor
Nearly a month removed from
the Big Chill at
the Big House,
the No. 8 Michi- Michigan
gan hockey team at Michigan
is poised to take
the ice against State
in-state rival Matchup:
Michigan State Michigan 12-5-
once again. 4; Michigan
But this time, State 7-10-4
the Wolverines When: Satur-
won't have a day 7:35 P.M.
crowd of 113,411 Where: Munn
at their beck and Ice Arena
call.
On Friday, the
Spartans will host the first half of
the home-and-home week-

end series at Munn Ice Arena, a
rink widely regarded as one of the
most hostile environments in col-
legiate hockey. But it's Michigan
(9-3-1-0 CCHA, 12-5-4 overall)
who has all the momentum, com-
ing off the program's 14th Great
Lakes Invitational Championship
and a 5-0 drubbing of Michigan
State in the Big Chill.
And if their last meeting at
Munn is any indication, the Wol-
verines may have the edge not
only on the ice, but in the stands
too. After posting one of the poor-
est records since Red Berenson
became coach, Michigan trav-
eled to East Lansing in the second
round of the CCHA Tournament
last March fully expecting to be
trounced by the 11th-ranked Spar-
tans.

Michigan State students were
on spring break during the tourna-
ment, so much of the crowd was
a roaring Michigan contingent.
And the Wolverines rumbled past
the Spartans, 5-1 and 5-3, en route
to a surprise finish in the NCAA
regional finals.
"Going up there and seeing all
those Michigan fans was unbe-
lievable," senior Shawn Hunwick
said. "You could never think that
you'd come to Yost and see a bunch
of Michigan State fans. So to see it
up there, everyone wearing maize
and blue, was pretty special."
Students are back on campus
for this weekend's matchup, but
the Spartans (3-8-1-0, 7-10-4) are
faltering in the CCHA as of late
- currently sitting in tenth place
in the conference. And Michigan

fans may have the opportunity to
muster another takeover of Munn
on Friday.
While Yost Ice Arena has a
thriving fan base and is already
sold out for Saturday's contest,
Michigan coach Red Berenson has
sensed a decline in support for the
hockey team at Michigan State.
"(Munn) is obviously anti-
Michigan, and it used to be that
they were sold out every game,"
Berenson said. "Fifteen years ago
and beyond it was sold out, there
were no Michigan fans ... But now
it's a different scenario. Their
crowds haven't been that good, so
the opportunity for Michigan fans
is there. I think (the CCHA Tour-
nament) was the first time that our
fans really sensed that."
Along with the edge in fan sup-

port, the Wolverines have built
a lot of confidence against this
Michigan State team. In his three
starts against the Spartans, Hun-
wick has allowed just three goals,
and the Michigan offense has
backed him with 15 scores on the
other end of the ice.
"If you've already beat the team
you feel like you can win again,"
Hunwick said. "If I was 0-3, I'd
probably be a little nervous going
up there."
The two teams haven't played
a regular-season, relatively low-
stakes game in nearly a year.
And while this isn't a postseason
matchup or in front of a world-
record crowd, there should be no
shortage of intensity.
Michigan took a 2-0 first-period
leal in the Big Chill with a pair

of goals from freshman defense-
man Jon Merrill. The Wolverines
are hoping for a similar scorching
start.
"We have to get off to a good
start," Hunwick said. "If we give
Michigan State the first goal to
give them the lead, they're going
to have the confidence."
With 21 games played, the Wol-
verines are rounding the corner
for the second half of the season,-
the same time the team picked up
its play last season.
According to Berenson, the
Michigan State series is reminis-
cent of last year in that the teams
have switched roles - Michigan
now is nationally ranked and atop
the conference while the Spartans
are the bottom feeders at the half-
way point.

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