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Basabe expected to play at No. 2 Michigan Sunday

[ 0 ] January 4, 2013 |

Melsahn Basabe expected to play Sunday at Michigan

Junior forward Melsahn Basabe is expected to be back on the floor Sunday when Iowa’s basketball team plays at No. 2 and undefeated Michigan.

Basabe rolled an ankle in the first half of Monday’s 69-65 loss to No. 5 Indiana. He didn’t play in the second half.

“He’ll play, he’s fine,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said today.

The nearly week-long break between Big Ten games came at a perfect time for Basabe. It gave him time to rest the ankle, and get treatments.

“He went through half the practice (Thursday) and he looked good,” McCaffery said.

Basabe has struggled with ankle injuries much of the season. He only played 4 first-half minutes against Coppin State Dec. 22 after tweaking an ankle. McCaffery thought Basabe would have to miss the game against Northern Iowa on Dec. 15 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines because of that ankle, but he played 13 minutes. The injury against Indiana came to

Basabe’s other ankle.

Basabe is having a solid junior season. His value is highest as a shot blocker. He’s recorded a team-best 19 rejections so far this season, while averaging 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 15.5 minutes a game.

Basabe’s defensive presence will be needed against the Michigan inside tandem of junior Jordan Morgan (7.8 points, 4.3 rebounds) and freshman Mitch McGary (6.9 points, 6.8 rebounds).

“Morgan, he’s a guy who is really playing the best basketball of his career,” McCaffery said. “He’s a guy that people don’t talk about that maybe more people should be talking about. McGary is playing extremely well.”

Michigan sophomore guard Trey Burke is having an all-American season at point guard. His ability to drive and get to the rim or pass it out has given freshman sharpshooter Nik Stauskas plenty of open looks. Stauskas is the Wolverines’ No. 3 scorer at 13.7 points a game and is shooting 53.9 percent (41-for-76) from 3-point range.He is shooting 60 percent from 3 at Crisler Arena.

Stauskas leads the nation in 3-point accuracy. He is a well-rounded player who attended the same prep school, St. Mark’s School in Massachusetts, that Basabe did.

“A lot of 3-point shooters, you chase them off the line and it will neutralize their effectiveness,” McCaffery said. “But you have to stay locked in on his game and guard him like the complete player he is. He’s that much more difficult to guard because of who he’s playing with.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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