Sat, 15 Dec 2018
49
Philadelphia

For No. 18 Michigan, it could be very easy to have a letdown on Saturday given the Wolverines are going from playing the defending national champions to a winless team.

Michigan certainly couldn't have been more emotionally locked in on Wednesday, when it went to No. 8 Villanova, the team that beat the Wolverines in the national title game last season, and thoroughly dominated, coming away with a convincing 73-46 win that could vault Michigan into the top 10 next week.

That is a strong possibility as long as Michigan doesn't have too much of an emotional letdown during two wwekend games at the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off in Uncasville, Conn.

First for Michigan at Mohegan Sun Casino is George Washington (0-3).

"I hope we make a statement every game that we are just going to come out here and play hard," Michigan senior guard Charles Matthews said to mgoblue.com after the win over Villanova.

"I think that is what we want to pride ourselves on. There were times where it didn't look pretty, but we gritted it out. Hopefully, we can make a statement that we're a team that's resilient and will persevere through anything and everything."

One thing that was evident against Villanova is that freshman Ignas Brazdeikis is ready to fill the shoes left by Moritz Wagner, the star player of last year's team who was drafted in the first round of of the NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.

A versatile 6-foot-7, 215-pound performer who is mature for a freshman at 20 years old, Brazdeikis had 18 points, seven rebounds and some lockdown defense on Villanova standout Eric Paschall.

Matthews, who had 19 points against Villanova, teams with junior Zavier Simpson to form one of the best defensive backcourts in the country.

Michigan will certainly be a handful for George Washington, which opened the season with home losses to Stony Brook and Siena, and at No. 5 Virginia.

The Colonials are a young squad with just one senior on the roster and a starting lineup that consists of two sophomores and two redshirt juniors.

Sophomore guard Terry Nolan leads the team in scoring through three games at 13.0 points, redshirt junior D.J. Williams is right behind at 12.5 points and sophomore Justin Mazzulla is averaging 10 points for the Colonials.

"We are not going to pay a great deal of attention to our record right now," George Washington coach Maurice Joseph said after the loss to Virginia. "We are going to focus on the growth and the process and really getting better."

The winner will play the winner of the other matchup at the event between Providence and South Carolina in the championship game at 4 p.m. Sunday.

The losers meet in the consolation game at 1:30 p.m.

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