Jan. 4, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa junior forward Melsahn Basabe, limited to 13 minutes in his last two games because of an ankle injury, is expected to play Sunday at Michigan, UI head coach Fran McCaffery said Friday during a teleconference.
“He will play, he’s fine,” McCaffery said. “That’s the other advantage of (playing) Monday-Sunday. Yesterday he went through half the practice; we’ll see how he is doing today. He looked good yesterday, I thought.”
The Hawkeyes (11-3 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) play their first league road game Sunday at No. 2 Michigan (14-0, 1-0). The Wolverines defeated Northwestern, 94-66, on Thursday in Evanston, Ill.
Basabe grabbed four rebounds with a blocked shot in four minutes against Coppin State; he scored two points with a rebound, block, and steal in nine minutes against Indiana. His career high in points scored is 25 at Michigan during his freshman season.
Michigan averages 81.1 points per game, a figure that jumps out to most. McCaffery is equally impressed with the 59 points a game the Wolverines allow.
“It’s funny, because they may be better defensively. They really defend,” McCaffery said. “Obviously they have tremendous weapons offensively. It’s a very difficult team to prepare for on both sides.”
Iowa won the lone meeting between the two teams last season, 75-59, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The early portion of Friday’s teleconference was spent stacking praises upon Wolverine sophomore guard Trey Burke, who is averaging 18.1 points and 7.2 assists. The UI head coach called Burke’s statistical line “borderline ridiculous.”
“You have scorers and you have playmakers,” McCaffery said. “When you have a guy exceptional in both areas, that changes everything when you’re preparing to play that team. He has shown an amazing ability to engineer a victory every time out. He knows exactly what to do depending on the type of game they are in. He has them going now.”
This will be Iowa’s first trip to Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich., since Jan. 30, 2011. Tipoff is set for 11:01 a.m. (CT). The game will be televised on BTN with Gus Johnson and Shon Morris calling the action.
The Hawkeyes will also face a second top 5 opponent in less than a week. Iowa fell at home to No. 5 Indiana, 69-65, on Dec. 31.
“I was impressed with our ability to consistently stay in the game while we were struggling on offense in the first half,” McCaffery said. “We made more mistakes than we normally make, but it was frustrating because we had a number of opportunities to lead and we would make a mistake. When we were making mistakes they were aggressive mistakes. We were attacking and I’m more comfortable with those kinds of mistakes.”