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Insider

3 keys vs. Northwestern

1/11/2012

The No. 14 Michigan basketball team hasn't lost on its home court so far this season. The Wolverines have picked up convincing wins over Penn State, Minnesota and Wisconsin, but now they turn their focus to Northwestern.

The Wildcats are 1-2 in league play but have a strong inside/outside combo in senior forward John Shurna and junior guard Drew Crawford. Northwestern hasn’t picked off any top 25 teams yet, but if Michigan takes this game too lightly, the Wildcats definitely have the potential to do so. If Michigan wants to remain perfect in Ann Arbor, here are three keys it needs to focus on.

1. Take advantage of the mismatches. The most glaring mismatch is between two freshman point guards: Michigan’s Trey Burke and Northwestern’s Dave Sobolewski. But Burke has the upper hand here. He’s coming off his best defensive performance (containing senior point guard Jordan Taylor). Sobolewski might have a 2-inch height advantage on Burke, but if Burke plays like he has been playing, he should be able to take Sobolewski off the dribble and continue his streak of non-freshman-like play. Another possible mismatch we could see (though less frequently) in the paint is redshirt sophomore Jordan Morgan against Shurna. If/when Shurna goes inside or tries to stick with Morgan defensively, the Wolverines need to take advantage of that.