Click HERE to sign up for a subscription to TheWolverine.com and get your FREE gift code for $99 in Michigan apparel and gear!
After starting the season 6-0, Michigan’s schedule ramps up with North Carolina coming to the Crisler Center Wednesday for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Last season in the challenge, Michigan lost in Chapel Hill and the Wolverines are using that game as fuel this season.
“I wouldn’t saw it’s more revenge, but I want to make a statement,” sophomore forward Isiah Livers said. We went in there house and we got killed. We didn’t play well, we didn’t play Michigan basketball. I want to introduce the teams who come here to Michigan basketball.”
Livers remembers how last year’s game went.
“I remember pregame shooting,” Livers said. “There was a vibe, everybody was excited and everybody was super energetic getting ready for the game. Then I remember the beginning of the game it was actually a really good game until one point I think it was close to halftime, they just jumped away.”
Not only is last year’s game acting as motivation, it’s allowing Michigan to be well prepared for this year’s contest. They got a look at how the Tar Heels played last season.
“They play a fast pace,” junior center Jon Teske said. “When they rebound, they go with. So our defense has to be ready for it.”
One player who had success against Michigan last season was senior forward Luke Maye. Teske said they have to be careful with how Maye can shoot threes, while also being able to score down low.
“He’s a really good player,” Teske said. “He can play on the outside, he can play on the inside We had trouble with him last year and he’s an overall great player.”
This season, Livers has come off the bench and played a lot at the five. He knows his role as the five might have to change when facing the size of North Carolina.
“It’s more of not worrying about getting out in transition like I usually do, go for a dunk,” Livers said. “It’s a about getting their big man because their big man is a great rebounder, probably one of the best in the country from what I’ve seen on film to get a body on him.”
Freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis will have a big role going against the talent of UNC. His teammates think he’s ready.
“I’ve noticed he’s learning,” Liver said. “He’s sitting down, a lot of freshman don’t do that, they kind of make the same mistake. What I see from him is tremendous growth.”
Going up against UNC so early in the season will help the Wolverines to continue to figure out what type of team they are before Purdue comes in to start the Big Ten slate. For Michigan, it is a measuring stick game.
“It’s huge,” Teske said. “This season’s so long that this one game won’t determine anything, but it can go a long wyas both ways. We just have to learn from it.”