The Michigan Wolverines are ready for the real season to begin.
The Penn State Nittany Lions (7-6, 0-2) are coming to Crysler Arena to battle the No. 2 Wolverines (13-0, 2-0), and Michigan knows they’ll need to be ready. While Michigan has won 12 of the last 13 meetings between the two and six of the last seven, it isn’t going to be an easy matchup. Penn State has returned several pieces from last season’s NIT championship team in senior guard Josh Reaves, redshirt junior forward Mike Watkins and junior forward Lamar Stevens.
But freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis is feeling confident in his teammate, and believes that his team should be regarded as the best in the country.
“They’re really tough. Their forwards are really good. They’re an experienced team and they have good freshmen as well,” he said. “We just need to be prepared, take them as seriously as possible because we’re the No. 2 team in the nation right now trying to become the No. 1 team. I feel like we’re right there, so we’ve got to take them seriously. We can’t let down on any team….I feel like we deserve being in that top five and I feel like we deserve to be No. 1. I think we’re the No. 1 team in the nation, so we just need to continue to work, continue to get better and continue to be humble.””
Sophomore guard Jordan Poole praised the scrappiness of Penn State’s defense, but is looking forward to the matchup.
“They’re extremely scrappy on defense. They’re one of the teams that loves to get up in you, likes to push the tempo and they’re extremely talented how they were last year,” sophomore guard Jordan Poole said. “Being able to play a team like this where they’re a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end — individually and as a unit — it’s definitely going to be exciting for us to see what we can bring.”
The Wolverines will have three of their next four games at home as they’ll attempt to achieve a program-best 16-0 start.
“We found a way to get through the non-conference schedule and get through it all, get a couple road wins, win a (early season tournament) championship,” Michigan coach John Beilein said Wednesday. “But now it all changes. Now we go into the familiarity of the Big Ten, the talent in the Big Ten, the coaches in the Big Ten. We really have challenges ahead of us.”