Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - In a unique situation where one team is playing its final exhibition game and the other its 2012-13 season opener, Division II Slippery Rock takes on fifth-ranked Michigan tonight at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor.
This is an exhibition game for Slippery Rock and will not count toward its official record, but the contest is Michigan's season opener and will be an official part of the Wolverines' season mark.
The Rock went 17-10 last season and earned a berth in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Tournament for the third time in four years. SRU is coached by Kevin Reynolds, who has amassed a 74-41 record in five years at the helm.
The Wolverines welcome back three starters from last year's NCAA Tournament team that won a share of the Big Ten title. Head Coach John Beilein enters his sixth year with the program, and he has a record of 91-77 there while compiling an overall mark of 642-395 in 34 seasons as a collegiate head coach.
Slippery Rock returns four starters from last year's club, highlighted by 2012 All-PSAC-West performers Devin Taylor (first team) and Tabari Perry (second team). Taylor led The Rock in both scoring and rebounding. In SRU's first exhibition game against Navy last Sunday, Perry scored a game-high 18 points while Taylor finished with a double-double consisting of 13 points and 13 rebounds. Center Luiz Santos logged a double-dip of his own with 10 points and 10 boards, as the Rock sank the Midshipmen, 79-56, on the road. This represents a huge leap in competition level for the small school from western Pennsylvania.
Michigan returns a pair of All-Big Ten performers in Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr. Burke was named the league's Freshman of the Year by the media last season after averaging 14.8 points and 4.6 assists per game, while Hardaway, Jr. turned in 14.6 ppg. The duo will need to be on top of their game throughout the season, but particularly early on as newcomers Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III develop their overall games. Both are talented players already, but while Robinson has the blood lines (his dad is former Purdue and NBA star Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson), the 6-10 McGary comes in as one of the top frontcourt recruits in the country. Scoring in close to the basket will be paramount to any success Michigan achieves this year, but make no mistake, this team will run through its guards.