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NC Central (0-14) at (23) Michigan (9-2)

Monday, December 29th, 7:00 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: Crisler Arena (13,751) -- Ann Arbor, Michigan. Television: BTN. Home Record: NC Central 0-2, Michigan 7-0. Away Record: NC Central 0-9, Michigan 0-1. Neutral Record: NC Central 0-3, Michigan 2-1. Conference Record: NC Central 0-0, Michigan 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The 23rd-ranked Michigan Wolverines have to feel good about their solid start to the 2008-09 season, and they figure to add another victory tonight against the lowly North Carolina Central Eagles. NCCU has yet to win a single game this season, as the squad carries an 0-14 mark into Ann Arbor, including an 0-9 road record. The Eagles have been blown out in most of their contests, including last Monday's 97-79 loss to Duquesne.

Michigan is nationally ranked for the first time in two years, and coach John Beilein is doing a terrific job of rebuilding the program. The Wolverines are currently riding a four-game win streak that has enabled them to improve to 9-2 overall, including 7-0 at home. The most recent triumph came over Florida Gulf Coast last Monday by a 76-59 final.

NC Central and Michigan are meeting for the first time in men's basketball.

NCCU has struggled mightily at both ends of the court this season. The club is only generating 55.0 ppg on 35.2 percent shooting from the floor, including 27.2 percent efficiency from three-point range. Defensively, the Eagles are permitting their opponents to rack up 80.8 ppg on 50.4 percent shooting from the field. They are also being outrebounded by more than 12 boards per outing. Jamar Briscoe leads NCCU with 14.4 ppg, but his 32.8 percent shooting is downright embarrassing. Vincent Davis provides 12.2 ppg, and Bryan Ayala added 11.0 ppg. In the 18-point loss to Duquesne last week, Briscoe exploded for 34 points on the strength of a 15-of-18 effort from the foul line. Unfortunately, the Eagles committed 22 turnovers in that clash and suffered a 51-32 rebounding disadvantage.

Manny Harris is the leading scorer for Michigan, as the versatile standout is generating 19.0 ppg to go along with 7.1 rpg and nearly five assists per contest. DeShawn Sims adds 17.2 ppg and 9.2 rpg to the mix, while Laval Lucas- Perry rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers with 12.0 ppg. The Wolverines are generating 74.5 ppg while permitting 62.7 ppg to the opposition. In the 17-point victory over Florida Gulf Coast a week ago, Michigan played tremendous defense. The club forced 26 turnovers in that clash and limited its overmatched opponent to 39.2 percent shooting from the floor. An 18-9 edge in points from the foul line certainly contributed to the victory as well. Sims was nothing short of sensational, as he racked up 20 points and 20 rebounds. Four players reached double figures in scoring for the Wolverines, who overcame 35.9 percent field goal efficiency.

It's tough to get excited about this game, as NCCU has no chance of even staying close. The Wolverines will add a meaningless victory to their record and keep the Eagles winless.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan 84, North Carolina Central 56


12/29 13:48:25 ET