Nebraska Huskers basketball: Michigan preview
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Hoops Game Day: Nebraska at Michigan

WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN

Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-22, 2-16) vs Michigan Wolverines (18-11, 9-9)

Thursday, Mar. 5, 2020 - 5:30 p.m. CT

Crisler Center

TV: FS1

Radio: Husker Sports Network

Internet: Fox Sports App

Nebraska projected starters
NAME HT/WT YEAR NOTES

Cam Mack

6-2/175

So.

Had seven assists vs. Northwestern, giving him 179 assists this season. He tied Charles Richardson Jr. (2006-07) for the third-most assists in a season in NU history.

Dachon Burke

6-4/180

Jr.

Had 19 points, a career-high five steals, and five turnovers in the loss to Northwestern.

Thorir Thorbjarnarson

6-3/210

Jr.

Had five points on 1-of-7 shooting (all 3-pointers), nine rebounds, and six turnovers vs. Northwestern.

Haanif Cheatham

6-5/195

Sr.

Led Nebraska with 20 points on Senior Day vs. Northwestern, his 12th career 20-point game and fourth this season.

Yvan Ouedraogo

6-9/260

Fr.

Grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds vs. Northwestern, the most by a Husker since Aleks Maric had 19 against Missouri on Feb. 24, 2007.

Michigan projected starters
NAME HT/WT YEAR NOTES

Zavier Simpson

6-0/190

Sr.

Averages a team-high 13.0 points on 47-percent shooting and leads the nation with 7.9 assists per game. Did not play in the first meeting vs. Nebraska due to suspension.

Eli Brooks

6-1/185

Jr.

Scored a game-high 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the win over NU earlier this season.

Franz Wagner

6-9/205

Fr.

Averages 11.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and a team-high 1.2 steals per game. Scored 19 points with eight rebounds and six turnovers vs. Nebraska.

Isaiah Livers

6-7/230

Jr.

Tied for the team lead with 13.0 points per game and shoots 42.7 percent from 3-point range and 95.3 percent from the free-throw line. Didn't play in the first game vs. Nebraska due to injury.

Jon Teske

7-1/265

Sr.

Had nine points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks in win over Nebraska.

3 KEYS TO VICTORY

1. Make a free throw

Nebraska set a new low for free-throw shooting ineptitude in its final home game of the season vs. Northwestern. Going a stunning 8-for-30 from the charity stripe, the Huskers became the first team in at least a decade to shoot under 30 percent on free throws with at least 30 attempts, and only the fifth to do so on 20 or more attempts. What's even worse was that in a five-point overtime loss, NU missed 14 free throws that would have either tied the game or taken the lead. Had they shot their season average, the Huskers would have won that game by seven in regulation. Nebraska has been one of the worst teams in college basketball at the line all season, but Sunday was a disaster no one could have envisioned. If the Huskers are going to have a chance at beating anyone, let alone a Michigan team that averages 75.0 points per game, they have to be at least somewhat competent at the free-throw line.

2. Be ready for Michigan at full strength

What made Nebraska's home loss to Michigan earlier this season even worse was that the table couldn't have been set much better to finally get a win. The Wolverines were without two of their best players that night, as star point guard Zavier Simpson did not play due to suspension and forward Isaiah Livers - arguably the UM's best scorer - was out with an injury. Yet short-handed Michigan was still able to score 79 points and shoot 50 percent from the field in a double-digit victory over the Huskers. Now Nebraska will have to face both Simpson and Livers in tonight's rematch, making an already daunting challenge even more difficult.

3. Play for pride

Barring a major road upset over the final two regular season games, Nebraska looks destined to be the No. 14 seed in next week's Big Ten Tournament. The Huskers are a dejected team right now, and understandably so. This has been the worst season in program history, and the numerous ugly new records set this year continue to back that up. In reality, NU doesn't have much of anything to play for until hoping for a miraculous run in Indianapolis. The only motivation at this point is pride. How much fight do the Huskers still have in them? We'll find out with two straight road Senior Nights where Nebraska will need every ounce of resiliency it can muster.

QUOTABLE

"We’ve just got to keep going out and trying to get our guys’ mentality right. I give our guys credit. All year long they’ve come out, and for the most part, played with great effort. And that’s what we’ll continue to try and do. We’re going to go out and continue to fight, hopefully shock somebody."
— Head coach Fred Hoiberg on keeping his team's spirits up after Sunday's home loss to Northwestern.

PREDICTION

Michigan 83, Nebraska 62

Robin's 2019-20 record: 18-11

vs. the spread: 12-17