Originally written on The Detroit Sports Site  |  Last updated 3/14/13
Thanks to Mitch McGary’s spark-plug effort, the Michigan Wolverines dodged another Penn State landmine in Round 1 of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday. Their reward for winning: a matchup with the always-tough Wisconsin Badgers. Michigan lost a heartbreaker in Madison on Feb. 9, as Ben Brust drained a half-court shot to force overtime. That setback was the third of six that the Wolverines suffered in Big Ten play — had Brust’s shot not fallen, Michigan would have (at the very least) had a first-round bye in this Big Ten Tournament. Can the Wolverines gain revenge on Friday and move on to the conference tournament semifinals? How Michigan Can Win: Get Nik Stauskas involved early. In that earlier loss to Wisconsin, only two Wolverines — Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., as you might expect — made it to double digits on the scoresheet (Mitch McGary had a dozen off the bench). Stauskas, smack-dab in the middle of his Big Ten cold streak, wound up with just seven points and hit only one of five 3-point attempts. The Wolverines badly need a third scoring option Friday to get through Wisconsin’s defense, and it does not look like Glenn Robinson III will provide it. So that leaves the sharp-shooting Stauskas as the tertiary option behind the Burke-Hardaway duo. How Wisconsin Can Win It: Crash the boards. Even with Jordan Morgan out of the lineup, the Wolverines held their own on the glass in Madison, finishing with just two less rebounds than the Badgers (39-37). Michigan also won the rebounding battle against Penn State Thursday. But the Wolverines were hammered on the boards in their regular season-ending loss to Indiana — the Hoosiers grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and finished with a 47-26 overall edge. If Wisconsin can exploit that rather weak aspect of Michigan’s game, it will make the Maize and Blue’s job substantially tougher on Friday. Wisconsin is not a sensational rebounding team, but it did finish in the top 75 in the country this season. The X-Factor: Morgan. McGary was just coming into his own when he scored 12 points and grabbed eight boards in that game at Wisconsin. He starred in the Wolverines’ win over Penn State on Thursday, coming off the bench to lift his team from an early malaise. It’s Morgan, though, who will start Friday — and who was out of the lineup for that earlier loss to the Badgers. Morgan continues to have substantial trouble finishing, as evidenced by the three baskets he gave away early Thursday (and one after halftime) and his defense has struggled at times since his ankle injury. When he’s right, however, he gives Michigan a solid option off their pick-and-rolls up top and he can clean the boards on defense. Michigan needs both of those attributes to come to the forefront in the quarterfinals. Prediction: For the first 25 minutes of their game Thursday, the Wolverines appeared as if they might sleepwalk their way to another loss to Penn State. Given how they fell to Indiana last Sunday, it was a little hard to blame them. However, Michigan turned it on late and pulled away for an easy victory. Even more importantly, they recovered to put on display their all-around talent and a great deal of fight. If Michigan comes out of the block with confidence Friday, Wisconsin will have its hands full. That’s not to say the Badgers are slouches — they did go 2-0 combined against Michigan and Indiana this year — but the Wolverines have more talent, on paper. This is game No. 2 of Michigan’s Big Ten Tournament Revenge Tour and, if anyone shows up to help Burke and Hardaway, the Wolverines will put up another victory. Michigan 66, Wisconsin 61
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Alabama vs. Wisconsin showdown not selling many tickets

Report: Last-minute Deflategate settlement deal very unlikely

Aaron Rodgers doesn't want to play in 2016 Hall of Fame Game

Floyd Mayweather Sr.: Manny Pacquiao a 'liar with no skills'

Reports: LeSean McCoy's Week 1 status still uncertain

Jay Feely told Deflategate judge about 2009 kicking incident

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jon Gruden calls Marcus Mariota a ‘double-edged sword’

Report: Bills expected to cut Matt Cassel

Garcon: RG3 can be ‘great player on any team that he goes to’

Report: Cavs ‘convinced’ LeBron would not leave Cleveland again

Fred Jackson is upset Bills GM Doug Whaley wasn’t honest

Report: Jaguars won’t let Justin Blackmon leave for CFL

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Be careful what you wish for, Jay Gruden

Ryan taking leap of faith with Bills

Top 10 storylines for Week 1 of college football season

Underdogs: Hopefuls that can shock in the World Cup

Manfred digs Shoeless Joe a deeper grave

Why Mike Trout ain't right

The Opening Drive: Jamal Anderson warns UM fans before heading to Salt Lake City

Best and worst MLB players in August

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker