After a disaster of a conference opener, Northwestern (7-7, 0-1 Big Ten) hits the road for the first time in 2014 to face Michigan (9-4, 1-0) on Sunday.
The Wolverines, a preseason top 10 squad which struggled to an 8-4 non-conference record, picked up a good road win at Minnesota on Thursday in their first Big Ten game.
Michigan will once again be without sophomore forward Mitch McGary, who has played only eight games this season and underwent back surgery before the start of Big Ten play.
Without McGary, Michigan’s frontcourt is very thin and not too talented. Junior Jon Horford averages 4.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in 14.8 minutes while senior Jordan Morgan records 3.3 points and 2.9 boards in 11.5 minutes per game.
With McGary’s absence, sophomore wing Glenn Robinson III has also received some time at forward.
Robinson, who averages more than 13 points per contest, was held to six points in Michigan’s season opener. But in the final four non-conference games, he was posting 19.3 points per on 66.7% field-goal shooting.
Michigan’s offense is paced by sophomore guard Nik Stauskas. Stauskas leads the team in points (17.8 per game) and assists (3.6 per game), and he is also a deadly three-point shooter at 46.2%.
Against the Wolverines’ thin frontcourt, Northwestern sophomore Alex Olah could be in for another big night. The 7-footer set a career-high with 23 points against Wisconsin, and that was up against Frank Kaminsky, one of the Big Ten’s best big men.
But if the Wildcats are going to pull off any sort of upset, they will need much better performances from their top three scorers. Drew Crawford, JerShon Cobb, and Tre Demps combined for only 21 points on 23.3% shooting.
Sunday’s tip time is slated for 11 a.m. CT on Big Ten Network.