With the first game of the season over, Michigan looks to put its shaky start against Binghamton behind it. A 12-point deficit in the first half was seen as a major defensive meltdown, considering the Bearcats were playing in Division II just two season ago.
The Wolverines managed to turn it around in the second half. Michigan was able to rely on its experience to help overcome the halftime deficit, as junior Daniel Horton and sophomore Dion Harris led the Wolverines to victory. The win came in large part to a second-half rally, despite Horton’s early turnovers (six turnovers in the first half) and Harris’s poor shooting (1-of-5 from the floor).
Michigan’s opponent tonight in the second round of the Preseason NIT, Colorado, isn’t able to rely on its experience, as it returns just one starter from last year’s 18-11 squad.
But the Buffaloes appeared to overcome the problem on Monday, sending College of Charleston home with a 72-57 loss.
Michigan will face Colorado tonight, and erasing a double-digit lead might not be as easy as it was on Monday.
“Defense won the game for us,” Harris said. “We need to play tough defense from start to finish. We need to take pride in our defense (this season).”
Chances are that the Buffaloes won’t shoot 15 percent in the second half, like the Bearcats did. Colorado freshman Richard Roby made an impressive debut, scoring 19 on 7-for-11 shooting, and led all Buffaloes with 32 minutes against College of Charleston. Jayson Obazuaye and Julius Ashby shot 50 percent from the floor and added 10 and 13 points, respectively.
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker admitted after Monday’s game that he hadn’t looked at either Colorado or College of Charleston, but said he’d start looking at the winner of the game immediately after the game was over. Regardless if Michigan would face Colorado or College of Charleston, Amaker said heading to New York for the semifinals of the Preseason NIT undefeated would be a great start to the season. Michigan could potentially play No. 10 Arizona or No. 2 Wake Forest in the semifinal and finals, respectively.
“It’d be a tremendous start for us to go 2-0,” Amaker said. “For our team, we feel good about playing in New York. We’ve played there and had some success there and that’ll be in the back of their minds. The other teams that make it will deserve to be there, so we’ll have our work cut out for us.”
Michigan and Colorado have a history in the NIT, as the schools’ last meeting came in the 1991 Postseason NIT, with the Buffaloes coming out on top 71-64. Michigan needs to be wary of overlooking Colorado and toward the potential of playing in Madison Square Garden. The Wolverines feel fortunate to have these games to add to their NCAA Tournament r