ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Road wins can be a true test of a good team.
Today Michigan will be put that test.
U-M (6-2) has its second true road game this season when they play No. 19 SMU today in non-conference match-up.
A test the Wolverines will need to pass if they want to continue to build their resume for the NCAA tournament before Big Ten play, says U-M coach John Beilein.
“Back on the road again with a great opportunity to get a quality road win if we can,” Beilein said. “They are really good team, SMU (6-0), is undefeated and have gone on the road at Stanford and TCU and have won. So it’s a really quality team. They have most of players back from last year. That’s going to be a difficult challenge for us.”
By last year, Beilein of course is referencing to Michigan’s 62-51 home loss to SMU. However, he was quick to remind that this is different season and he’s not looking at the past.
“This is not about last year,” Beilein said. “If you can play two road games in your preseason against quality non-conference opponents and go 2-0, that’s a heck of start as you go into conference season as far as away victories.”
Adding: “As they came in last year trying to get in the NCAA tournament, ‘If we win at Michigan, that’s going to help us.’ Same thing, we win at SMU that’s really going to help us. We understand it’s going to be big crowd. Michigan doesn’t come to town everyday and it’s going to be great atmosphere for a game.”
SMU is led by reigning AAC player of the year Nic Moore, an athletic 5-9, 170-pound point guard who can shoot from outside. In five games this season, he averages 15.0 points per game, while shooting 41.9 percent from 3s, making 3.2 threes per game.
“Moore was the player of the year in the conference,” Beilein said of the Mustangs’ star. “An outstanding point guard. One that has been different than the last two or three point guards that we played (that they) have not been shooting point guards, and he came out here last year and hit three 3s in a row. And all of sudden and they came out on us and we came back, but he was really just an outstanding player.”
Besides Moore, Beilein noted Jordan Tolbert (10.5 points, 8.0 rebound) and Markus Kennedy (5.8 rebounds) as major threats on the glass.
“They are very good, very experienced and we are looking forward to the challenge,” Beilein said.
Michigan (6-2) plays at No. 19 SMU (6-0) at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.