With the Big Ten expanding conference play to 20 games last season, the league now gets an “appetizer” of games in December. Each team plays two league games in the first two weeks of the month, before going back into non-conference play, and then resuming conference play in January. Well, that “appetizer” got started on Friday night with Iowa traveling to Ann Arbor to face off against Michigan.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 4 Michigan Wolverines 103, Iowa Hawkeyes 91
Given how Michigan performed in the Bahamas, there was no debating that the Wolverines were the favorites heading into this one. Nonetheless, Iowa had played really well at times this year and was hoping to steal a road win against a Michigan team coming off an absolutely brutal four-game stretch.
Unfortunately for Hawkeye fans, that didn’t end up happening.
Michigan played pretty well out of the gates, relying on some great offensive and defensive rebounding to jump out to an early lead. And though Luka Garza put together the best game of his career, finishing with 44 points and eight rebounds, it wasn’t enough to stop Michigan. In the second half, Iowa kept things competitive, but Michigan always stayed a step or two ahead. All told, Michigan grabbed a 103-91 win at home.
With the win, Michigan now sits at 8-1 overall and 1-0 in league play. Friday night was also Michigan’s fifth win over a top 60 team on KenPom already this year. The Wolverines will now get a few days off before going on the road to face Illinois on Wednesday. A win there would setup a massive showdown with Oregon at home next Saturday.
On the other side, Iowa fell to 6-3 overall after Friday night’s loss and 0-1 in league play. The Hawkeyes still remain in decent shape, but the pressure will be on the team to get some quality wins before the end of the month. Iowa will hope to get one of those on Monday at home against Minnesota.