Unbeatens intersect: No. 4 Michigan squares off with Seton Hall
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One of the marquee matchups of the 2021 Gavitt Tipoff Games is a rematch of a classic national title game when No. 4 Michigan hosts Seton Hall Tuesday night in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Wolverines are off to a 2-0 start and improved their national ranking thanks to two teams above them in the preseason poll, No. 5 Villanova and No. 8 Texas, falling to other top-five teams over the weekend.
Michigan is returning home from a trip to Washington, D.C., where the Wolverines played Prairie View A&M, an HBCU from Texas, in the inaugural "Coaches vs. Racism" game. Michigan got out to a 19-point halftime lead and won 77-49.
Four Michigan starters scored in double figures, and Hunter Dickinson earned his seventh career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Dickinson leads the team in both points (19) and rebounds per game (8) in the early going.
For coach Juwan Howard -- who played the first seven seasons of his NBA career with the Washington Bullets/Wizards -- the trip was about more than basketball. He brought the team to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, right off the National Mall.
"We went to the African American museum, which was a highlight moment -- it was an educational moment -- and it was just great to take in that experience and share it with my players," Howard said.
Seton Hall is 2-0 following an easy 80-44 win Sunday over Yale. The Ivy League favorite and defending champion Bulldogs proved no match for the Pirates, who had a height advantage and won on the glass 53-37.
Alexis Yetna, a transfer from South Florida, led all scorers with 15 points, making 3 of 5 3-pointers. Kadary Richmond, who transferred from Syracuse, added 13 points, five rebounds and three assists after a lackluster performance in his first game with the Pirates.
Seton Hall's players have shown a sky-high level of belief in one another. Jared Rhoden said the Hall will be "one of the best teams in the country" due to its bench.
"One thing I realized in the locker room was nobody was too high," Rhoden said. "We expected to win today, and we expected to win by a lot. That's a testament to how good we are."
Rhoden came off the bench to play his first game of the season after missing Wednesday's opener with an ankle injury and posted eight points and 10 boards. Coach Kevin Willard said he was on a 22-minute limit.
No Pirate played more than 22 minutes Sunday, which will be vital for keeping themselves fresh ahead of the Michigan showdown.
The game is a rematch of the 1989 national championship, when Michigan beat Seton Hall 80-79 in overtime for the program's lone NCAA title. That was three seasons before Howard, as part of the fabled "Fab Five," got started with the Wolverines.
The two programs played a sequel eight months after the title game, which Michigan won 91-86, and they haven't met since.
--Field Level Media
Updated November 15, 2021