When Phil Martelli starts talking hoops, basketball people listen. He's been around the game for four decades and has seen it all. Unfortunately, when you've coached for as long as he has, that time includes heartbreaking losses, misses on the recruiting trail and monster performances by opponents. Last year, Iowa's Luka Garza put up two of those performances.
"He had about 90 points combined in the two games," Martelli said with a small laugh.
It was actually only 77, but at that point, the damage is done. Garza gets buckets against everyone, but the 44 he scored against Michigan in matchup No. 1 is his career high and the 33 he put up against U-M was his third-highest output last year. The Michigan coaches know they aren't going to completely shut him down, but they don't want to get beat up by him worse than anyone else. Especially this year, when defense is one of Michigan's points of pride.
Iowa might be Michigan's toughest matchup to date, even considering the recent barn burner against Ohio State. The Buckeyes are ranked higher, and certainly have a lot of fire power, but having someone like Garza who might be able to shut down Dickinson while scoring a lot in the post is a different animal. It's going to be really interesting to see how Michigan's big freshman doesn't against a seasoned vet like Garza, but like Martelli said, defense is where U-M will win the game.