Tip time is nearly 24 hours away from Iowa State’s marquee and atypical November match-up with seventh-ranked Michigan.
Here are a few must-know nuggets heading into Sunday’s 4 p.m. tip on ESPN2.
Iowa State’s key on defense…
During a media session earlier this week, Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg raved about how well coached the Wolverines are.
“These guys don’t beat themselves,” Hoiberg said. “They don’t turn the ball over. It is a great passing team and they take good shots.”
The Wolverines have committed 16 turnovers in two games this season. Michigan’s two wins have come over Massachusetts Lowell and South Carolina State.
Iowa State’s defensive game plan for Sunday will be fairly simple.
“You have to try and make them work,” Hoiberg said. “You have to make them take contested jump shots from the outside with a hand in their face and hope that they have an off night.”
Michigan big man Mitch McGary is as important to his team as Melvin Ejim is to Iowa State. As of Friday afternoon, his status was still uncertain for Sunday’s game. “
“If he dresses, he’ll play, but we’ll decide if he dresses when he’s ready,” Michigan coach John Beilein told MLive.com. “So if you ever see him in warmups, he’s going to play.”
“He is as physical of a force as any player in the country,” Hoiberg said of McGary. “I think that he showed that in that national championship run being the runner-up a year ago. He is so fast. He is big. He is as long and strong of a player as we will play against all year.”
Quotable…Fred Hoiberg on Michigan sharp-shooter Nick Stauskas
“I absolutely love that kid. When we were recruiting Georges, we got to see him play quite a bit. Man, he shoots that thing. He plays with a swagger and gets up and down the floor and is a little more athletic than he looks. You saw what he did as a freshman. “
Quotable…Naz Long on Sunday’s atmosphere
“It doesn’t get any better than having a top 10 team coming to Hilton. Kansas last year I think was one of the best experiences of my life. Just to see the whole place rocking and Cyclone Alley going crazy, I feel like everybody in Ames is waiting to get into that building that day. It is going to be insane.”
*** Michigan holds a 5-4 lead in the all-time series. The last time that these two programs met was in 2011, as Michigan handled the Cyclones 76-66 in Ann Arbor. Before that though, Iowa State and Michigan hadn’t played since 1992. Fred Hoiberg played in that 94-72 Wolverine victory that featured the “Fab Five.”
*** Johnny Orr is the all-time winningest coach at Iowa State (1981-94) and Michigan (1969-80).
Assuming that Melvin Ejim will not be much of a factor (just an assumption, I’ll find out if/when he is playing just like all of you), Michigan is the better team ON PAPER. But the paper doesn’t account for the zoo that will be Hilton Coliseum on Sunday. My gut says that Iowa State will lose a close one here but because of injuries and uncertainties on both sides, this is as 50-50 as a November game against a top-10 opponent can be.