Nebraska-Michigan Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 08, 2013
Paced by a potent offense, Michigan has a very good chance to match the best start in the program's history before its Big Ten schedule gets increasingly tougher. The second-ranked Wolverines try for a 16th consecutive victory to open the season while visiting Nebraska hopes to avoid its second straight 0-3 conference start Wednesday night. Averaging 90.2 points and shooting 54.9 percent in the last five games, Michigan (15-0, 2-0) is playing well enough to surpass the 1985-86 team's 16-0 mark as the best in school history. The Wolverines rank among the national leaders with 82.0 points per game after not averaging more than 66.9 in coach John Beilein's previous five seasons in Ann Arbor. "We always thought, as we were trying to develop a coaching philosophy with my staff, that we wouldn't change if we got more athletic,'' Beilein said. "Some of these principles will still work, even if you did have better speed. ... We've always run wherever I've been, but we run a little faster now, jump a little higher.'' That's because Beilein has never had such blossoming talent at the same time. Trey Burke (18.2 points, 7.2 assists per game), Tim Hardaway Jr. (16.4 ppg), and freshmen Glenn Robinson III (12.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Nik Stauskas (13.5 ppg) combined for 71 points while hitting 22 of 36 shots in Sunday's 95-67 rout of Iowa. The Wolverines made 58.1 percent from the field, including 10 of 22 from 3-point range - where they've gone 46 of 97 (47.4 percent) over the last four contests. With seven minutes remaining in the first half, the Wolverines trailed 21-17 before they got their act together. Michigan held a 41-26 rebound advantage and committed six turnovers while Burke recorded a career-high 12 assists. "They have so many weapons," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "They're hard to keep under control for long periods of time." Beilein was pleased his team overcame a slow start to pull away. "We've been in a lot of games where 15 minutes into the first half, we might have had a double-digit lead,'' he said. "We didn't have that (Sunday). We closed well, and then we came out in the second half and really played good from the get-go.'' That experience should only help the Wolverines, who after this contest play consecutive road games against No. 15 Ohio State and eighth-ranked Minnesota. Before those highly anticipated matchups, Michigan must focus on its only regular season meeting with Nebraska (9-6, 0-2). The Cornhuskers have lost three of four and totaled 85 points on 33.3 percent shooting in league losses to Ohio State and Wisconsin. "That kind of team that's out there scrapping and fighting. ... I can live with that," Nebraska coach Tim Miles said after Sunday's 47-41 home loss to the Badgers. The Cornhuskers rank last in the conference - and near the bottom nationally - in scoring (59.1 ppg), and shoot 42.4 percent. That does not bode well against a Michigan team that is holding opponents to an average of 59.5 points and 40.5 percent shooting. Senior Dylan Talley averages a team-leading 13.5 points but has been held to 9.3 on 27.1 percent shooting in the last four games. The Cornhuskers, who lost 62-46 to Michigan on Feb. 8, have dropped six straight Big Ten road contests since beating Iowa for their only victory in 10 games away from home since joining the league last season. Michigan has won 10 straight and 26 of 27 at the Crisler Center.
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