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Michigan on high alert vs. surging McNeese State


Before heading into the thick of its Big Ten schedule, Michigan will face another tricky matchup when McNeese State visits for a nonconference game Friday night in Ann Arbor, Mich.

McNeese, of the Southland Conference, comes in with a 10-2 record that includes wins over Virginia Commonwealth and UAB. The Cowboys are coming off a 74-72 victory over Louisiana on Dec. 17 and have won five games in a row.

Michigan (6-6) has played a rugged nonconference schedule. The Wolverines have been blown out only by Texas Tech and absorbed losses of four points or less to Memphis, Oregon and Indiana before dropping a double-overtime thriller 106-101 to Florida on Dec. 19.

Michigan has won only two of its last six games.

“We throw out everything in the kitchen sink when it comes to ball-screen coverage,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said after Michigan allowed 18 second-chance points to Florida. “If we cut that number in half, I’d be up here smiling.”

The Wolverines are led by dynamic sophomore point guard Dug McDaniel, who averages 19.2 points and 5.0 assists per game and scored 33 in the loss to Florida.

Michigan’s No. 2 option is senior forward Olivier Nkamhoua (17.2 points, 7.6 rebounds per game), while Terrance Williams II (11.7 points), Nimari Burnett (10.2 points) and burly big man Tarris Reed Jr. (8.8 points, 6.2 rebounds) round out the top contributors.

Senior guard Shahada Wells (18.5 points) leads McNeese in scoring, while the Cowboys get an average of 12.3 points and 9.8 rebounds from swingman Christian Shumate. DJ Richards checks in with 11.7 points.

“You have a big opportunity to win a big game and play in front of a sold-out crowd,” McNeese coach Will Wade said after the Cowboys defeated Louisiana. “We knew this is what we signed up for; now we’ve got to go right through it. We’ve got to find a way.”

–Field Level Media

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