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NCAAB: Michigan Looks Strong in Win over N.C. State

The Michigan Wolverines proved last night that they are a team to be reckoned with in the Big Ten and the rest of the nation, as they held off the North Carolina Wolfpack 79-72.

The Wolverines are currently in third place in the Big Ten with a record of 6-0 overall and 0-0 in conference play. They trail only Illinois who is 7-0 and the nation’s best team at the moment the Indiana Hoosiers at 7-0 only because they have played on less game than the other two teams.

However, the Wolverines will be a tough team as the season moves forward both for Big Ten opponents and for their other non-conference foes. Trey Burke, the Wolverines guard, played the entire half of last night’s game without scoring a point, however he still might have been the best player.

Burke ended the game with 18 points and 11 assists, which were a career high for him. Burke finished the game with no turnovers as well. The No. 3 Wolverines needed all they had to hold off no. 18 North Carolina State.

The Wolverines were led in scoring by Nik Stauskas, a freshman who had 20, while Tim Hardaway Jr. had 16. However, it was the ball control of Burke that helped the Wolverines, as he had nine assists in just the first half of play.

NCS slipped to 4-2 on the season and were behind by 15 points in the second half before a 10-0 run brought them to within five with only 2:11 left on the game clock. The Wolfpack had the ball with only 54 seconds to play down by five points, but were call for a foul and turned the ball back over to Michigan.

NCS likes an up-tempo game, but were forced to play much more half court basketball than they like. Michigan ended the game with just six turnovers, with only two coming in the second half. The Wolfpack is now 0-5 in their last five contests against teams from the Big Ten.

NCS coach Mark Gottfried said he believes Michigan is at least the third best team in the nation, and possibly better. After saying that he said that must make his team very tough as well. The Wolfpack has been picked as the team to beat in the ACC.

Prior to the game, the Wolverines raised their 2012 Big Ten title banner for the regular season, the first the program has enjoyed since 1986. This season, Michigan thus far looks even better than they played last season. The team seems to gel under the ball control of Burke and when they hit their jumpers from outside, they seem to be nearly unstoppable.  Stauskas hit 13 of his 20 points in the first half including three shot from three point land.

Michigan was ahead 30-16 at one point in the first half but let NCS back in with a 7-0 run. The half ended with Michigan in front 43-36. Stauskas is now shooting 14 of 24 from three point range after sinking 4 of his 7 shots last night.

Michigan trails just second place Duke and first place Indiana in the national rankings and will be gearing up to meet Indiana in their two conference matchups – February 2 at Indiana and the last game of the regular season March 10 in Ann Arbor.

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