Michigan (10-4) at Nebraska (8-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 9, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pinnacle Bank Arena (15,000) -- Lincoln, Nebraska. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Michigan 6-1, Nebraska 7-0. Away Record: Michigan 1-2, Nebraska 0-4. Neutral Record: Michigan 3-1, Nebraska 1-2. Conference Record: Michigan 2-0, Nebraska 0-2. Series Record: Michigan leads, 8-2.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Big Ten Conference teams seemingly headed in opposite directions get together on Thursday night, as the Michigan Wolverines pay a visit to the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Michigan is in the midst of a four-game win streak, with the last two triumphs coming over conference foes Minnesota (63-60) and Northwestern (74-51). The Wolverines were one of the preseason picks to possibly challenge for the conference crown, but losses in four of their first 10 games quieted that talk. The Maize and Blue are in a better position now, but they need to start posting wins over some quality opponents before most of their detractors will begin to think differently.
Nebraska is hoping to put the brakes on a three-game slide, and getting this game at Pinnacle Bank Arena, where is has yet to lose this season (7-0), is a bonus. The Cornhuskers are 8-6 overall, and their two league games versus ranked foes Iowa (67-57) and Ohio State (84-53), both on the road, resulted in double-digit defeats.
Michigan has won eight of the previous 10 matchups in the series with Nebraska, including each of the last four. Last year's 62-46 decision in Lincoln was the Wolverines' first road win in the series.
Nik Stauskas scored 18 points, Glenn Robinson III had 12 and Derrick Walton, Jr. chipped in 11, all of which Michigan used to power its way past Northwestern last Sunday. The Wolverines shot 52.1 percent from the field, but missed two-thirds of their 18 3-point attempts. They did however, convert 18- of-22 free throws while securing a 33-21 rebounding differential. The Wildcats managed a mere 38.8 percent shooting effort, which included a dismal 6-of-23 showing from beyond the arc. The recent performance helped Stauskas maintain his team-high scoring average of 17.8 ppg, and he is joined in double figures by Robinson III (13.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Caris LeVert (12.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg). As a team, Michigan is putting up 77.6 ppg on the strength of its .472 field goal percentage, which includes a 38.5 percent effort from downtown. Defensively, the Wolverines allow just 62.4 ppg, while logging favorable margins in both rebounding (+3.4) and turnovers (+3.1).
Nebraska took it on the chin in its recent clash with then-undefeated Ohio State, the team shooting a mere 37.5 percent from the field, including 26.7 percent from 3-point land, in scoring a season-low 53 points. Conversely, the Buckeyes found the bottom of the net on 54 percent of their total shots, draining 9-of-19 3-point attempts along the way. Terran Petteway led the Cornhuskers with 15 points, while Leslee Smith made the most of his first career start in place of the ill Walter Pitchford by logging a double-double consisting of 11 points and 10 rebounds. Petteway continues to pace the team in scoring with his 17.3 ppg, and he is tied for second in rebounding with 5.1 rpg. Shavon Shields (11.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg) is the only other double-digit scorer for the Huskers, who produce 69.7 ppg while giving up 67.9 ppg. They have done a decent job protecting the basketball (10.7 tpg), while goading the opposition into 13.5 miscues per outing.
Nebraska has played well at home this season, but the Wolverines aren't about to let that bother them as they continue to build up a head of steam with some very tough games looming in the near future.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan 77, Nebraska 65
01/09 10:33:17 ET