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Basketball Preview: We’re Talkin’ Michigan

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The Battle For Atlantis gets underway from the Bahamas

NCAA Basketball: Elon University at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Cyclones are in the Bahamas and are getting tossed into the ringer right away. The Michigan Wolverines will be awaiting them in the first of three games in the Bahamas for each squad over the Thanksgiving weekend. This is a star-studded field that could give Iowa State a ton of big wins if they can pull a few out over the next three days.

Last Time Out

Strong defensive play and a somewhat snoozy offense allowed Iowa State to defeat Southern Mississippi, 73-45. Southern Miss shot 0-16 from 3 point range for the game with 15 turnovers and went scoreless from 6:30 left in the game until the last minute when the walk-ons were on the floor. Solomon Young finished as the leading scoring with 14 points on 5-8 shooting and 6 rebounds. Tyrese Haliburton had 12 points and 9 assists. George Conditt added in 9 points with 4 blocks.

About Michigan

The Fab Five is back folks! Well, at least one of them is. Juwan Howard returned home to his alma mater to coach after John Beilen took the Cleveland Cavaliers job in the summer. Howard has the Wolverines off to an undefeated start, including a win over the Creighton, though their last two victories are against teams that are a combined 0-8 against NCAA Division I teams.

Through four games, the Wolverines have shot 61% inside the arc and 39.0% from 3-point range, which is good enough for an effective field-goal percentage of 60%, 5th best in the entire country. Michigan likes to shoot the 3-pointer. as 40% of their shots are coming from behind the arc, which in seasons past has been a bit of an Achilles heel for Iowa State to defend.

Defensively, the Wolverines are top-30 in efficiency according to KenPom. They are very good inside the arc but tend to give up just as many three pointers as they make. While Iowa State is shooting poorly from behind the arc, this seems like a good time to have one of their better shooting games from behind the arc.

Another big question going into the Battle For Atlantis is if star freshman Franz Wagner will play for Michigan. He has been sidelined for over four weeks, and his original timetable to return was 4-6 weeks. He did travel with the team, but there has been no indication that he will play just yet.

Iowa State and Michigan are meeting for the 11th time, with the overall series tied at 5-5. The Cyclones won the previous meeting, upsetting No. 7 Michigan 77-70 at Hilton Coliseum in 2013.

Opponent Player To Watch

Zavier Simpson was almost a Cyclone. Steve Prohm made the push and instead he chose Michigan. Iowa State landed with Tyrese Haliburton instead. Not a bad consolation prize. Now the two will be the game within the game tomorrow. Simpson is a talented point guard, and Haliburton will probably draw the assignment to use his length against Simpson. He is the engine that makes the Wolverines go, and will be a tough one for the Cyclones defense all afternoon long.

What Will Happen

Michigan feels they’re being underrated and disrespected by not being in the Top 25 currently, and have made it very clear they are in the Bahamas to make a statement. Cool, so is everyone else. The Cyclones are still trying to find their way and figure out what type of team they are. I feel pretty confident in this one and I have no real reason for it.

This one should be close all the way through and could tip either way down the stretch. Tyrese Haliburton is going to have to shoulder the load offensively and start to score more, but, despite their season shooting percentage from distance, there are actually a decent number of talented shooters, and a few others that can knock them down on occasion, so at some point you’d expect the Cyclones’ three point shooting to return to the mean. This is a big game for both clubs, but I’m going with my heart on this one. Give me the Clones.

Iowa State- 69

Michigan- 68

Pick Three

1- Haliburton scores 27

2- Iowa State makes more than five threes (that hurts to type)

3- Many people question why Iowa State is in a ballroom and not dancing

Game Notes

The Matchup: Iowa State (3-1, 0-0 Big 12) vs. Michigan (4-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Where: Paradise Island, Bahamas - Imperial Arena (3,500)

When: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 11 a.m. (CST)

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio Talent: Chris Williams (PxP), Eric Heft (Analyst)

TV: ESPN Talent: Jon Sciambi (PxP), Jimmy Dykes (Analyst)

Webcast: WatchESPN

Sirius/XM/Internet: NA/375/375 (internet)

Live Stats: statbroadcast.com