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NCAA 2015

March Madness

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Michigan vs Virginia

Time: 07:00 P.M. EST
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Michigan believes when it gets open looks at the basket, it will make opponents pay.

It might not get many good looks, however, against Virginia's stingy defense.

The 14th-ranked Wolverines look to build on an encouraging showing at the Maui Invitational on Tuesday night when they visit the Cavaliers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

After opening the season with three wins over lesser competition, Michigan's schedule become considerably more challenging on its trip to Hawaii. The Wolverines (5-1) opened the tournament beating then-No. 8 Memphis 73-61 on Nov. 21 before losing to No. 6 Duke 82-75 the next day. They bounced back from that tough loss with a 79-63 win over UCLA in the third-place game.

Michigan coach John Beilein was pleased with what he saw from his team against three top-tier programs.

"You don't know how people are going to do when all of a sudden, the teams and the coaches that you see on television every day, and all of a sudden, it's you," he said. "I really liked what we saw from there."

The offense was strong throughout the Hawaii tournament, averaging 75.7 points on 54.4 percent shooting. Guard Tim Hardaway Jr. averaged 20.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting and was named Big Ten player of the week.

Zack Novak scored a career-high 22 points on 7 of 8 shooting against the Bruins, while the Wolverines shot 61.7 percent and made 7 of 14 3-pointers.

"We were getting good looks," Novak said. "When we do that, we're pretty good shooters and we're going to knock them down."

Getting a similar shot selection in Charlottesville could be difficult as Virginia is known for its stingy defense under coach Tony Bennett.

The Cavaliers (5-1) are one of the best defensive teams in the country, holding opponents to an average of 45.3 points and 33.5 percent shooting, but they haven't faced an offense as strong as Michigan's. While the Wolverines were heavily tested in Maui, Virginia's schedule has consisted of South Carolina State, Winthrop, TCU, Drexel, Drake and Green Bay.

Bennett, though, believes his team his fit for stopping Michigan.

"They're one of the best teams in the country it appears," he said. "You have to be so good defensively. Certainly we need to be healthy and we'll need to play at a high level, but our system is geared to play good teams and we're going to give everything we've got."

Health could be a bit of a concern, but the Cavaliers expect to have Sammy Zeglinski available after he appeared to aggravate an ankle injury with 12:03 remaining in Friday's 68-42 win over Green Bay. X-rays were negative and Zeglinski said he was OK.

Zeglinski, who has been slowed by several injuries over his career and originally hurt his ankle during a scrimmage Nov. 5, was making his first start of the season.

KT Harrell had started Virginia's first five games at guard before moving into a reserve role Friday. He provided the team with a spark off the bench, scoring a season-best 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting.

"It's nice to have a little bit of a scoring punch like KT coming off the bench," Bennett said.

This will be the Cavaliers' first game against the Wolverines since suffering a 102-65 loss in the regional finals of the 1989 NCAA tournament. Michigan is 2-1 in the series.

The Wolverines defeated Clemson last season in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge after losing their previous four in the competition.

Virginia defeated then-No. 15 Minnesota in last season's ACC/Big 10 Challenge after losing its last two.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Current Odds
GameCurrent Line
Michigan
@ Virginia
 
-1
Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Wisconsin16-235-34
Maryland14-428-713
Michigan St.12-627-1123
Iowa12-622-1243
Purdue12-621-1355
Ohio St.11-724-1141
Indiana9-920-1461
Illinois9-919-1473
Michigan8-1016-1680
Minnesota6-1218-1598
Northwestern6-1215-17124
Nebraska5-1313-18158
Penn St.4-1418-16108
Rutgers2-1610-22179
ACC
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Virginia16-230-47
Duke15-333-46
Notre Dame14-432-616
Louisville12-627-921
N. Carolina11-726-1211
Miami (Fla.)10-825-1265
NC State10-822-1439
Syracuse9-918-1369
Pittsburgh8-1019-1576
Clemson8-1016-15106
Florida St.8-1017-16110
Wake Forest5-1313-19150
Boston College4-1413-19165
Georgia Tech3-1512-19153
Va. Tech2-1611-22228

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