NCAA Talk

Northwestern no match for No. 2 Michigan

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Northwestern no match for No. 2 Michigan

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) No matter how many wins Michigan piles up, Trey Burke insisted one thing will not change. The Wolverines will keep seeing themselves as underdogs, even after nights like this.

Burke scored 23 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. added 21 and No. 2 Michigan pounded Northwestern 94-66 on Thursday to remain unbeaten.

Off to their best start since they opened the 1985-86 season with 16 wins, the Wolverines (14-0, 1-0) had no trouble in the Big Ten opener after breezing through the non-conference portion of their schedule.

They built a 21-point halftime lead with Burke and Hardaway Jr. leading the way and were never challenged by Northwestern (9-5, 0-1).

"14-0 that's a great start - and 1-0 in the Big Ten - but we've got to keep the attitude where guys are still doubting us," Burke said.

He'll get no argument from his coach.

"We're always working that way, like we're hunting all the time and we don't ever want to lose that," John Beilein said. "It's not a negative to always be working."

Michigan shot 59.6 percent overall and made 13 of 22 3-point attempts with the two guards doing most of the damage. Burke shot 9 of 16 overall and hit 4 of 6 3-pointers. Hardaway was 6 of 8 from the field and 4 of 5 from long range, and the ankle injury that kept him out of the previous game didn't seem to be an issue.

"Just to see him back out there after his injury," Burke said. "Back in action. Back in the groove. It was great."

Jordan Morgan added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Wolverines, while Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas scored 10 points apiece.

Jared Swopshire and Kale Abrahamson each scored 11 points for Northwestern, but the Wildcats gave up the most points they have allowed this season while being outclassed by one of the nation's best teams.

"Eventually, we've got to start doing things that the coaches get on us about," guard Dave Sobolewski said. "We keep messing up the same things in the 1-3-1. We keep missing assignments. We keep falling asleep on defense. A lot of it will come down to heart and how bad we want it on defense mainly, too."

It was a sharp contrast from their two meetings last season, when Michigan needed overtime to win both games.

Then again, the Wildcats were short-handed.

Besides suspending guard JerShon Cobb for the season for violating team policy, they also shut down one of their best players, Drew Crawford, for the remainder of the season last month because of a shoulder injury.

Leading scorer Reggie Hearn sat out his second straight game because of a sprained ankle.

Even so, Michigan wasn't showing any mercy. Instead, the Wolverines ended the suspense early.

Burke, averaging a team-leading 17.8 points coming in, scored 15 in the first half. Hardaway added 12 points, hitting all four 3s, and Michigan barely broke a sweat before taking a 51-30 halftime lead.

"I guess that's what happens when you're running the fastbreaks and getting easy baskets. It all comes off of defensive stops," Hardaway said.

Burke did his best to bury Northwestern almost as soon as the game started.

The sophomore guard scored 13 straight points for Michigan to help the Wolverines grab a 20-4 lead.

"He's got a presence out there," Beilein said. "He's got a great ability to know when he can score and when he can find other people."

Hardaway got going midway through the half, making consecutive 3-pointers that made it 33-13 and drew an "M Go Blue! M Go Blue!" chant from the maize-and-blue contingent in the stands.

He struck again from the outside on consecutive possessions later in the half. And Burke wowed the crowd in the closing minutes when he laid the ball in after a nasty crossover.

For Northwestern fans, there was little to cheer in the early going other than when football coach Pat Fitzgerald addressed the crowd on the heels of his team's Gator Bowl victory.

"Coach told us to be aggressive," Burke said. "Don't be timid against the zone. Attack it so you can get good shots."

Box Score

Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

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AP

Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

It looks like it was too good to be true.

Tyger Campbell shocked the recruiting world when he committed to DePaul on May 8.

Less than four months later, Campbell has reopened his recruitment.

The Rivals.com four-star point guard out of La Lumiere High School in Indiana, who is the No. 66 prospect in the 2018 Class, took to Twitter Friday night to explain his decision.

One of Campbell's original draws to the Blue Demons was DePaul hiring Shane Heirman as an assistant coach. Heirman coached Campbell for two seasons at La Lumiere.

"I like DePaul and honestly my coach (Shane Heirman) just went there and we have a great connection and he's always had my back," Campbell told Scout.com when he committed to the Blue Demons. "I like [DePaul] coach Dave Leitao, too. I like his program and he's an intelligent guy."

Campbell currently has offers from a handful of D1 schools, including Illinois, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Purdue, SMU, Memphis and Tennessee.

Upset alert? Why a confident UIC is challenging juggernaut Kentucky

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USA TODAY

Upset alert? Why a confident UIC is challenging juggernaut Kentucky

On the heels of a 12-win improvement, UIC basketball is riding confidently into the new season. 

And why shouldn't they be? Head coach Steve McClain returns a young, talented nucleus that's expected to challenge for a Horizon League championship and NCAA Tournament berth. 

In fact, the program is in such good shape that they thought: Let's play Kentucky. 

Yup, that's right. The UIC Flames will match up with the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena on Nov. 26, a necessary stage in development, according to McClain. 

“Every year you build your program, there’s steps you have to take," McClain said. "When we got the opportunity to go to Kentucky, I think that’s the next level of exposure for our program.

"When you're chasing trying to be great, you gotta show your kids and show people what greatness looks like. I don't think anyone can argue what Kentucky has done, so I want to put our kids in that environment so they see what it is." 

The contrast between programs is severe. UIC hasn't made an NCAA Tournament since 2004. The Wildcats have made 11 since then. UIC has never advanced out of the first round at the Big Dance. Kentucky has eight National Championships. 

Even this upcoming season, as the Flames boast one of their most skilled teams in school history, none of them were ever touted like Kentucky's freshman class, which ranks No. 2 in the nation per ESPN. 

But the disparities in past successes don't seem to bother UIC. Instead, players, who were likely snubbed by bigger schools in recruitment, are excited about the opportunity to compete on a national stage that the Flames rarely see. 

“First I was like, ‘It’s about time we got someone like (Kentucky) on our schedule,’" said center Tai Odiase, one of the few seniors on the roster. "We’ve been trying to play bigger teams to showcase what we’re made of."

“I don’t see why you go into a place like that without a chip on your shoulder. You don’t go in there just to play basketball, we’re trying to win."

UIC will be heavy, heavy underdogs. There's no way around that. But there are certain spots where they may not be at such a disadvantage. 

On the defensive end, Odiase continued to terrorize guards and big men alike, finishing fifth in the NCAA with 2.9 blocks per game. The dynamic guard duo from "The Six," Godwin Boahen and Marcus Ottey, are quick enough to hang and both took a huge step down the stretch last season. Then there's the return of 2015-2016 Horizon League Newcomer of the Year Dikembe Dixson, who is recovering from a torn ACL.

"The doctors at times thought he was a freak of nature because he was back as quick as he was," McClain said.  

Still, it's a tune-up game for Kentucky, who also scheduled Kansas, UCLA and Louisville on their non-conference slate. But one team's expected walk through is another team's vital experience. 

"Our guys can walk in and see that on a given night, you can compete with anyone," McClain said. 

Given new athletic director Garrett Klassy's comments at his introductory press conference, it doesn't seem as if games like this are a one-hit wonder for UIC. 

“I am an aggressive scheduler," Klassy said. "I helped with the scheduling at George Washington. We’ll play anyone, anytime, anywhere.

"You want to measure yourself against the best. We have a lot of returning starters. It’ll be nice to go on the road, play a tough game and maybe sneak out an upset."