Sunday, January 4, 2009

Michigan vs Illinois

Michigan basketball looks to rebound (basketball pun there...get it?) from the Big Ten opening shellacking handed down by Wisconsin last Wednesday at Crisler Arena. Illinois (13-1, 1-0)comes to town after a big overtime win on the road at Purdue. The Illini feasted on a very weak non-conference schedule but a win at Crisler Arena should silence the critics and earn Illinois a spot in the top 25.

The Wolverines face what Laval Lucas-Perry has called a must win, "We're only one game into the league season, but we now have to win Sunday. We have to." While a loss won't eliminate the Wolverines from the Big Dance, it would certainly take away a lot of the momentum created from the big wins over UCLA and Duke. If Michigan wants to make the tournament they need to win home games in conference. Picking up a victory over Illinois would restore some momentum as the young Wolverines make their first road trip of the year to a very weak Indiana team.

--Side Note: How quickly has the Indiana program fallen? After starting 19-1 last season they almost miss the tournament, find out their coach was a cheater, lose pretty much their entire starting lineup, then lose to Northeastern and Lipscomb at home in the same week!--

It will be interesting to see the starting lineup the Beilein goes with after starting both Zach Novak and Stu Douglas for the first time against Wisconsin. Having those two on the court at the same time gave Michigan all sorts of troubles defensively against the bigger and stronger Badger team. Novak proved worthy of the start as he finished with a career-best 20 points and 8 rebounds but Stu Douglas struggled, failing to score a point in 20 minutes of play.

Be sure to tune in as we'll have the call live from Crisler Arena at 12:00. As always, you can hear our broadcast by clicking HERE.

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