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Game Preview: No. 16 Michigan takes on No. 19 Northwestern

The Wildcats head to Ann Arbor for a ranked showdown against the Wolverines.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday night will mark the 175th time Michigan and Northwestern have faced one another, but this tilt has significance. The game will be the first where both teams are ranked in the Top 25 at the same time with Michigan at No. 16 and Northwestern at No. 19.

Game Info and How To Watch

Teams: Northwestern (6-2) at Michigan Wolverines (8-0)

Time: Sunday, January 3, 7:30 p.m. ET

Location: Crisler Center — Ann Arbor, Mi

Television: Big Ten Network

Streaming: YouTube TV, Hulu, FuboTV

Vegas Odds: Michigan -8.5, over/under 145

Key Northwestern stats

  • 11th lowest turnover rate
  • No. 12 in assists
  • No. 7 in 3-point percentage
  • No. 60 in FG percentage
  • No. 33 in PPG

Northwestern’s season so far

The good: Beat currently ranked No. 4 Michigan State 79-65 with, beat currently ranked No. 23 Ohio State 71-70, and have wins against Indiana, Ark-Pine Bluff, Chicago State, and Quincy.

The bad: Lost by a point (71-70) to Pittsburgh after being outscored 49-37 in the 2nd half. Didn’t play very well against a good Iowa team and lost 87-72, which was their last game.

Northwestern players to watch

  • Northwestern has six players that shoot over 40 percent from three, but none better than Miller Koop who leads the team at 57.6%.
  • Guard Boo Buie will need to be accounted for. He went off for 30 points against Michigan State but was held to just 2 points versus Iowa. On a given night Buie can be a scorer and/or facilitator.
  • Five players (Kopp, Buie, Nance, Young, Audige) average more than 9 points per game, and 4 of those 5 average over 80% at the charity stripe.
  • Pete Nance and Ryan Young are Northwestern’s leading rebounders, both averaging 6 rebounds per game.

What to watch on Michigan

  • Can Dickinson keep it going?: Hunter Dickinson went off against Maryland on New Year’s Eve, going 10-of-11 from the field and scoring 26 points in all with 11 rebounds.
  • Mike Smith looking to build off solid performance vs. Maryland: Smith had his best game for Michigan vs. Maryland with 16 points and 6 assists. The grad transfer was brought in to provide solid leadership and experience while infusing the offense with some needed talent at the point guard position, and U-M will be hoping Smith can have games like the one he had versus Maryland on a consistent basis.
  • Silencing doubters: There are many who think Michigan isn’t as good as their undefeated record may indicate, they claim Michigan hasn’t played a good team yet. Those demerits have a point to them, but it’s not Michigan’s fault they keep winning their games. With a win over a quality opponent as Northwestern, Michigan’s ranking is going to look a little better once the next poll is released.