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January 9, 2014

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska vs. Michigan

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Michigan Wolverines
Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 - 8 p.m. CT
TV: ESPN2 / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Michigan Wolverines (10-4, 2-0 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 4
Last Game: Defeated Northwestern 74-51
G Derrick Walton Jr. (averaging 7.9 ppg and 2.6 rpg) Fr. 6-1 185
G Nik Stauskas (leads team with 17. 8 ppg on 45% shooting from field) So. 6-6 205
G Caris LeVert (scoring 12.0 ppg with 3.8 rpg) So. 6-6 185
F Glenn Robinson III (second on team with 13.4 ppg) So. 6-6 220
C Jordan Morgan (has started past six games) Sr. 6-8 250

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (8-6, 0-2 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 3
Last Game: Lost to Ohio State 84-53
G Tai Webster (leads team with 2.5 apg) Fr. 6-4 194
G Ray Gallegos (made first 3-pointer in three games vs. Ohio State) Sr. 6-2 182
G/F Terran Petteway (led team with 15 points vs. Ohio State So. 6-6 209
F Shavon Shields (held to just four points against OSU) So. 6-7 219
C Walter Pitchford (played just 14 minutes vs. OSU due to illness) So. 6-10 234

Defend the 3

Michigan has definitely slowed down its offensive tempo quite a bit from the run-and-gun style it used to get all the way to the national championship game last season. Rather than push the ball down the floor at every chance, the Wolverines are opting for a slower, ball-control approach that limits the number of possessions for both teams. When UM is at its best offensively is when it gets hot from beyond the arc, as it ranks third in the Big Ten shooting 38.5 percent from 3-point range. Nebraska must contest every perimeter shot and not let Michigan get into a rhythm.
Attack the paint

Nebraska has the good fortune of being able to face Michigan with one of the Wolverines' key weapons watching from the bench in All-Big Ten center Mitch McGary, who has missed the past six games after electing o undergo back surgery. The Wolverines have been able to hold their own down low with guys like Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford filling McGary's shoes, but there's no question that UM is severely limited in its front court dept. The Huskers need to go right at Morgan and Horford from the opening tip and get them into foul trouble early.
Use the PBA magic

While Nebraska is currently dragging through a three-game losing streak and an 0-2 start to Big Ten play, the Huskers still remain unbeaten inside the friendly confines on Pinnacle Bank Arena. Nebraska has looked like a completely different team at home than on the road, and against a Michigan team that has had its share of issues this season as well, it's not out of the question that some home-court momentum could give NU enough of a boost to pull off the upset. The fact that it's a nationally televised game on ESPN2 should help ignite the atmosphere as well.

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles on how much losing Mitch McGary has impacted Michigan:

"There's a lot of talk about losing Mitch McGary, and I don't mean to dismiss it, but where it hurts them is really rebounding and protecting the rim. They don't have anybody with that size and girth, but those other guys, Morgan and Horford, are really productive players in there. Their rebounding numbers are very similar. You lose a sizable guy with a huge skill set, I know that. But really as a team, they still have enough weapons where they shoot the 3 incredibly well, they don't turn the ball over; their pace is pretty moderate in terms of a lot of their possessions, so now all of a sudden you've got a team that doesn't play a whole bunch of possessions and makes the 3 like crazy. You look at their efficiency on offense, it's just incredible. It's typical Coach Beilein."
Miles on the play of sophomore wing Terran Petteway so far this season:

"Terran is probably the most knowledgable guy on the squad. When we do a game plan or a scooting report, he can recite it chapter and verse. He knows exactly what the other team is going to do, and really has worked hard to make himself a student of the game. He's a tenacious kid. He's an unbelievable athlete, a guy that's great in transition and is powerful and quick to the rim, and he makes just enough 3s to keep you honest. There's some things he needs to improve on, so does the whole team, just in terms of consistent discipline on the defensive end, especially maybe maybe trying to make too much happen on the offensive end. But Terran I think has a bright future as a sophomore who's making a big splash in the Big Ten."

Michigan 67-62

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