When Michigan’s most high-profile player, Mitch McGary, was ruled out for the season with a back injury, many people were quick to bury the 2013-2014 edition of the Wolverines.
Those people were wrong.
The 21st-ranked Wolverines grabbed an “upset” victory over 10th-ranked Iowa at home on Wednesday night, outlasting the Hawkeyes, 75-67, for their 8th consecutive win. The biggest impetus behind the win was another huge game from sophomore guard Nik Stauskas. Stauskas, who was named as the Big 10 player of the week on Monday, led the team in scoring with a game-high 26 points on 8-for-14 shooting (4-for-9 from three), and he added 5 rebounds and 5 assists for good measure.
It wasn’t all Stauskas in this game, though, as Michigan placed 3 additional players in double-figures, including Glenn Robinson III with 14 points and 9 rebounds. John Beilein’s team also did big-time work on defense in this one, holding the high-powered Hawkeyes to just 47% from the floor (and 20% from 3-point distance), while winning the turnover battle, 14-10.
With the win, Michigan is now 14-4 overall after a lackluster 6-4 start, and more importantly, “Go Blue” is up to 6-0 in Big 10 conference play. This somewhat unlikely win sets the stage for the “game of the year” so far in Big 10 play, as the two remaining undefeated teams square off in East Lansing on Saturday, as Michigan and Michigan State get together for the first installment of their bi-annual battle. Stay tuned.