INDIANAPOLIS -- We've reached halftime here at Conseco Fieldhouse, and No. 8 seed Michigan has led the entire way against No. 9 Iowa.
Some quick thoughts:
Michigan's defensive aggression and Iowa's sloppy ball-handling have been the difference so far. The Hawkeyes committed a five-second violation on the game's opening possession and finished the half with eight turnovers. When you're shooting as poorly as Iowa has been lately, you need to take care of the basketball. Michigan has done a nice job of that so far, committing only three giveaways.
Manny Harris hasn't had the season he envisioned, but the Michigan junior guard looks very impressive so far. He's consistently attacking the rim but not taking silly shots, and he's getting his teammates involved. Harris has 12 points and five rebounds.
Iowa guard Cully Payne is almost single-handedly keeping the Hawkeyes in this game. After a slow start, the freshman point guard has scored 13 of Iowa's 23 points, hitting 3 of 5 3-point attempts. He engineered a 12-5 Iowa run to close the half. Payne clearly is the type of player who fits well in Todd Lickliter's system, but he'll need more of his teammates to get hot in the second half.
Michigan is still 3-point happy, but Iowa can't forget about DeShawn Sims down low. Sims, who had double-doubles in both meetings with Iowa this season, has been able to score fairly easily down low and boasts 10 points at the half.