Posted November 11, 2012 on AP on Fox
Trey Burke receives much of the attention, but Tim Hardaway Jr. proved in the season opener that Michigan has other weapons, too. The duo looks to stay hot when the fifth-ranked Wolverines host IUPUI in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Monday night. Burke flirted with bolting for the NBA after helping Michigan win a share of the Big Ten title as a freshman. His return was a major reason for the Wolverines' highest preseason ranking since 1993 - when they also began No. 5 - and he proved his value by shooting 9 of 17 and scoring 21 points while adding eight assists in a 100-62 rout of Slippery Rock on Friday. Hardaway also made his mark, though, hitting 8 of 10 shots and drilling all five of his 3-point attempts on his way to a game-high 25 points. The junior averaged 14.6 points last season, just shy of Burke's team-leading 14.8 per game. "He has made a huge impact on Michigan basketball in just two years," coach John Beilein told the Wolverines' official website. "Our whole coaching staff values him very much. When you think that when he came (to Michigan), we were picked 11th in the Big Ten. We haven't been anywhere near the back of the Big Ten since he arrived. We just love coaching him." Hardaway's performance from 3-point range was somewhat surprising given he shot only 28.3 percent from behind the arc last season, but Burke didn't seem too shocked. "I never have any type of doubt with Tim's shooting ability,'' Burke said. "Last year, it was more mental, really.'' Hardaway also became the 46th player in Michigan history to reach the 1,000-point mark. "My team does a great job finding me anyway they can," Hardaway said. "It's that trust factor that we all have for one another, which is good for our team." The Wolverines are the top seed in the 16-team NIT bracket, with the semifinals and finals being held at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 21 and 23. They will host the winner of Cleveland State and Bowling Green on Tuesday assuming they avoid a letdown against IUPUI, which beat Utah Valley 67-54 in its season opener Friday. John Hart led four players in double figures with 19 points for the Jaguars, who were picked to finish fifth in the Summit League. "We were prepared with energy, with fight, with moxie and it started with defensive stops," coach Todd Howard said. "We closed the first half and started the second half with defensive energy." IUPUI dominated much of its opener, but it is almost sure to face a much tougher challenge against Michigan. The Jaguars have lost all 12 of their matchups against ranked opponents since becoming a member of Division I. "It's a great opportunity, I think, for our league and our school to be in the NIT tournament," Howard said. "Certainly Michigan is a top-five team with great players. I think the world of coach Beilein." Michigan beat IUPUI 84-79 at home Jan. 4, 2003 in the only previous meeting between the schools. The Jaguars have won at Crisler Center before, though, defeating Michigan Tech on Nov. 12, 2008, as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament.
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