The fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines will try to finish their run through the North Region of the 2012 NIT Season Tip-Off as they host the Cleveland State Vikings in the second round on Tuesday night at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor.
The Vikings have taken the first two steps towards their fifth 20-win season in seven years under coach Gary Waters. Cleveland State slaughtered Grambling, 92-49, in its season opener before taking down Bowling Green, 79-73, in an overtime thriller on Monday night. The Vikings made 9-of-11 free throws in the overtime period to hang on for the victory. They also held a 45-38 advantage in the rebounding battle and forced BGSU's point guard Jordon Crawford into nine turnovers.
Michigan began the campaign ranked fifth in both national polls for its highest preseason ranking since the 1993-94 season. Coach John Beilein's team did nothing to make voters second guess themselves, as the Wolverines logged a 91-54 rout of IUPUI in the opening round of this event. Michigan was unstoppable throughout, and used a 20-2 run late in the game to outscore the Jaguars, 46-23, in the second half.
These two schools have not squared off since the 1997-98 season when Michigan ran off with a 77-59 victory. The win improved the Wolverines' lead in the all-time series with Cleveland State to a perfect 8-0.
Five different Vikings reached double figures in scoring versus Bowling Green on Monday. Tim Kamczyc led the way with 21 points on 8-of-21 shooting from the field, and 5-of-10 from three-point range. Sebastian Douglas was second on the squad with 16 points while Marlin Mason recorded a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Charlie Lee also produced a double-double as well, logging 14 points and 10 assists. Lee's point guard play has been exceptional in the early going as he netted 20 points and handed out seven assists in the season opener.
The Wolverines knew they had one of the top backcourts in the country with Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr. back for a another year. But the talented tandem may have evolved into a three-headed monster as Glenn Robinson III broke out for 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting in his second collegiate game. Burke was one of the most impressive freshman in the nation last season which led to his election to the AP Preseason All-America team. The sophomore point guard finished Monday's contest with 22 points and nine assists. Hardaway, Jr. scored only 10 points in Monday's blowout win after going 5-of-5 from three- point range in the season opener. Nik Stauskas has also proven to be another productive newcomer for the Maize and Blue, as he has provided some lights-out shooting from the perimeter to prevent opposing defenses from keying on Burke, Hardaway Jr., and Robinson III.