New York Colleges: Michigan Wolverines

Michigan takes another bite of the Big Apple

December, 16, 2012
Michigan is 3-0 in New York City and 11-0 on the season.

Three weeks after winning the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden, the No. 3 Wolverines defeated West Virginia 81-66 at the Barclays Center on Saturday.

It was yet another double-digit victory for a team that is beating opponents by an average of 20.6 points per game.

For Michigan coach John Beilein, it was a win against his former squad. Beilein coached the Mountaineers from 2002 to 2007, leading them to an Elite Eight and a Sweet Sixteen during his tenure.

"Our family had so many great memories of West Virginia," Beilein said. "We have a lot of respect for their program, and that’s what makes [the win] feel really good, because we respect their team, their coach, their university."

The Wolverines jumped out to a 13-2 lead less than three minutes in and never trailed in the game. West Virginia made a couple of runs, cutting the deficit to five late in the first half and seven late in the second half, but got no closer.

The Mountaineers, which were coming off a loss to Duquesne earlier in the week, are 4-5. Coach Bob Huggins called his team out after the game.

"I’m sick of it. I’m sick of it," Huggins said. "I’m sick of watching guys stand around. I’m sick of watching guys not compete. I’m sick of guys missing shot after shot after shot but never coming early, never staying late, don’t think about coming in on an off-day and then telling me they care? I haven’t had guys like that before. I want some guys that care."

Freshman guard Terry Henderson had a career-high 23 points for West Virginia, but starters Deniz Kilicli and Jabarie Hinds rode the pine, playing just nine and eight minutes, respectively. Huggins benched junior center Aaric Murray entirely, not even bringing him to New York.

"I’ve left guys home way, way, way better than Aaric Murray," Huggins said. "I love this university. We’re gonna do right. We’re gonna represent it the right way. We’re gonna do the right things. And if they don’t do the right things, then they’re not gonna play."

Beilein, on the other hand, is delighted with his team -- particularly star guards Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., who scored 27 and 25 points, respectively.

The only blemish on the night for the maize and blue? Reserve forward Jon Horford suffered a dislocated kneecap in the first half and is out indefinitely.

Burke, the 6-foot sophomore point guard, played an outstanding all-around game. In addition to shooting 12-for-16 from the field, he had eight assists, five rebounds, three steals and zero turnovers.

"Just reading what the defense, whatever they gave me out there," Burke said. "[I] think they were pushing up on the screens when I would come off and kind of allowing me to get deep in the paint. The layups were there, and sometimes they would step over and the kickouts were there."

"He’s really, really good," Huggins said. "He makes the right pass. I mean, he goes 12-for-16 -- which I know that’s good -- but what’s really good about him is he passes the ball to the right guy."

Burke thought seriously about jumping to the NBA after last season, when he was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

He looked like an NBA player Saturday night, playing in an NBA arena.

And Michigan looks like a team capable of doing big things in March. The Wolverines are off to their best start since the 1988-89 season, when they also went 11-0.

That team, led by Glen Rice and Rumeal Robinson, won a national championship.

These Wolverines entered the game shooting 50.7 percent from the field, ranking them seventh in the country. They shot 56 percent (28-for-50) against West Virginia.

The backcourt of Burke and Hardaway Jr. is arguably as good as any pair of guards in the country. Their coach sees something in them that Huggins doesn’t see in his own players.

"They both have passion," Beilein said. "Those two work in the offseason, before practice, after practice."

You know what they say. Practice makes perfect.

Rapid Reaction: Michigan 81, WVU 66

December, 15, 2012

What it means: Michigan is still undefeated, and West Virginia is now under .500.

The No. 3 Wolverines improved to 11-0 on the season with an 81-66 win over the Mountaineers on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

It's Michigan's third win in New York City this season. The Wolverines also won the NIT Season Tip-Off during Thanksgiving week, defeating Pittsburgh and Kansas State at Madison Square Garden.

The Mountaineers dropped to 4-5 and have lost back-to-back games after being upset by Duquesne four days ago 60-56.

The turning point: Michigan raced out of the gate, taking a 13-2 lead less than three minutes into the game, and led by as many as 17 in the first half. West Virginia got back in it with a 10-0 run to make it 32-27 with 4:22 left, but Michigan extended its advantage to 43-32 at halftime.

The Wolverines led comfortably for much of the second half, but the Mountaineers had another rally in them. Trailing 65-47 with under nine minutes to play, West Virginia climbed to within seven, 71-64, on a Terry Henderson trey with 4:31 left. But Tim Hardaway Jr. got to the foul line on the next possession and drained two free throws, and Michigan closed out the game from there.

Player of the game: Sophomore guard Trey Burke had a season-high 27 points for Michigan. Burke was practically unstoppable, making 12 of 16 shots from the field. Plus, he had eight assists and five rebounds. Hardaway Jr. had a big game too, with 25 points.

Henderson, a freshman guard, had a career-high 23 points for West Virginia.

Stat of the game: Michigan continues to shoot the ball exceptionally well. Entering Saturday night's game, the Wolverines were ranked seventh in the country, shooting 50.7 percent from the field. They were even better against West Virginia, making 56 percent (28-for-50).

West Virginia, on the other hand, was ranked No. 310 in field goal percentage (39 percent) and shot even worse Saturday night -- 20-for-52 (38.5 percent).

What's next: Michigan will host Eastern Michigan on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET. West Virginia hosts Oakland on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.

W2W4: Michigan vs. West Virginia

December, 15, 2012
Here are three things to watch when No. 3-ranked Michigan (10-0) faces West Virginia (4-4) on Saturday at the Barclays Center -- the nightcap of the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival tripleheader. (Fordham vs. Princeton and St. John's vs. St. Francis of Brooklyn are the first two games.)

Tipoff is at 8 p.m., and you can watch the game on ESPN.

THE TIE THAT BINDS: Michigan coach John Beilein was the coach at West Virginia from 2002 to 2007, before getting the Michigan job. This is his first game against his former school.

Beilein led the Mountaineers to the NCAA tournament Elite Eight in 2005 and the Sweet Sixteen in 2006, and they won the NIT in 2007. In his first five years with the Wolverines, he's led them to the NCAA tournament three times.

THE WOLVERINES: Michigan is off to its best start since the 1988-89 season, when the Wolverines -- led by Glen Rice and Rumeal Robinson, and coached by Steve Fisher -- won the national championship, defeating Seton Hall in overtime in the title game.

Six-foot sophomore guard Trey Burke is averaging a team-high 17.1 points and 6.9 assists per game. Tim Hardaway Jr., a 6-foot-6 junior guard, averages 14.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

Michigan is 34th in the country in points per game (77.9), and seventh in field-goal percentage (50.7). The Wolverines have beaten their first 10 opponents by an average of 21.2 points.

THE MOUNTAINEERS: West Virginia, in its first season in the Big 12, is off to a shaky start in nonconference play. The Mountaineers lost at Gonzaga by 34, 84-50, to open the season, and lost at Duquesne (60-56) their last time out.

Only one player is averaging in double figures -- 6-foot-1 sophomore guard Juwan Staten, who is averaging 10.6 points per game.

West Virginia is 23rd in the country in rebounds per game (41.6), but shooting a woeful 39 percent from the field, which ranks them No. 310 in Division I.

Michigan-West Virginia -- in Brooklyn?

March, 6, 2012
West Virginia won't be playing in next year's Big East tournament -- but it will be playing at least one game in New York City next season.

The Mountainners will face Michigan on Dec. 15 at the new Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn.

Fordham will also face Princeton that day at the Barclays, as part of a doubleheader.

Then on Dec. 22, Seton Hall will play LIU Brooklyn and Manhattan will face South Carolina -- again at the Barclays Center.