A year after Michigan rattled off seven straight wins in March to win the Big Ten Tournament and advance to the Sweet 16, the Wolverines are tied for fourth place in the Big Ten despite losing three of their top four scorers from last season. How have they prevented a significant dropoff from last year? In large part it's because of redshirt sophomore guard Charles Matthews, Michigan's leading scorer at 14.4 points per game.

After redshirting last season after transferring from Kentucky, Matthews has proven he was well worth the wait.

The redshirt season made a world of a difference for the 6-6 guard from Chicago. After averaging 1.7 points in 10.3 minutes per game as a freshman in Lexington, Matthews is playing 30 minutes per night, leading the Wolverines in scoring, while shooting 56.3 percent inside the arc. He's second on the team in rebounding (5.2 rpg) and third in assists (2.9 apg).

Matthews had an impressive debut in a Michigan uniform, scoring 20 points to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in the Wolverines' season opener against North Florida, and he hasn't slowed down. The former Wildcat has scored in double figures in 21 of the team's 25 games this season, including a career-high 31 against Alabama A&M. As a freshman, he only reached the 10-point mark once and had an eight-game scoreless streak in SEC play, but Matthews has blossomed into the No. 1 scoring option on a team poised to make the NCAA tournament.

Matthews has improved in almost every statistical category from his freshman season. Within the Big Ten, he ranks among the top 20 players in minutes played, field goals, field goal percentage, free throw attempts, points, rebounds and assists.

Andy Wittry has written for SI.com, Sporting News, the Indianapolis Star, Louisville Courier-Journal and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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