By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Editor
If Tommy Amaker needs help forming a scouting report on Indiana’s super freshman Bracey Wright for tomorrow night’s game between Michigan (7-2 Big Ten, 14-8 overall) and the Hoosiers, the Michigan coach needs to look no further than his own starting point guard.
That’s because freshman Daniel Horton and Wright have an impressive history of matchups during their final two years of high school basketball in Texas.
Wright, along with Illinois freshman Deron Williams and Rhode Island freshman Bam Harmon, led The Colony High School over Horton’s Cedar Hill High School in the 2001 state quarterfinals.
Horton and Cedar Hill got revenge last year when they gave The Colony some payback in the 2002 playoffs.
“He can shoot lights out, he rebounds – he’s a great player,” said Horton of Wright. “He’s made a lot of improvements. He’s always been able to shoot, but what impresses me now is he drives the ball to the basket and finishes.”
As if the game between the co-Big Ten leading Wolverines and Hoosiers (4-5, 14-8) doesn’t have enough importance, the head-to-head showdown between Horton and Wright could go a long way in determining the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Wright is leading all Big Ten freshmen in scoring at 17.4 points per game, and the Hoosier is also grabbing 5.2 rebounds a game. Horton, meanwhile, has scored at a clip of 15.7 points per game while dishing out 1.45 assists a game in taking the Wolverines to the top of the Big Ten.
But the Freshman of the Year award is meaningless in the big picture according to Horton.
“I really don’t care (about the award), I just want the Big Ten championship,” Horton said. “If you ask me who deserves the Big Ten championship, I think the way this team has worked and prepared and put in everything we have, I think we’re very deserving of it.”
Not-so-deep Blue: Michigan witnessed first-hand the dangers of being a team lacking in depth on Saturday, when Iowa was able to dress just nine players for the Wolverines’ 70-62 win.
The absence of Hawkeyes’ center Jared Reiner’s 8.1 points and 8.8 rebounds a game certainly didn’t help Iowa’s upset attempt.
Amaker has expressed concern over the Wolverines’ own lack of depth. Center Chris Hunter has been the lone player to be relatively consistent off the Michigan bench, averaging 5.9 points and four rebounds on the year.
The Wolverines’ standard starting five of LaVell Blanchard, Bernard Robinson, Lester Abram, Graham Brown and Horton have put up 58.9 points per game on the year, more than 86 percent of Michigan’s 68.3 points per game total.
“When we come off the bench we try to bring a lot of intensity on defense and to the game,” guard Sherrod Harrell said.
But can the Wolverines continue to win with just six players scoring most of the team’s points?
“I believe so,” Harrell said. “We have a pretty solid team.”