After turning in arguably their best performance of the year just three days prior, the Nebraska Men’s basketball team went up to Ann Arbor and turned in perhaps their worst, falling to a depleted Michigan team 58-44.
The question was asked, heading into the game vs. the Wolverines, how would the Huskers respond after the win over Michigan State on Saturday. That day was full of emotion and energy. And while the Huskers played well before holding on for the win, it was a day that is taxing on the mental and physical energy of the players and coaches. Y
es, the players are young and can rebound from those sorts of things quickly, but in Ann Arbor, it looked like the mentally were still with the events of the weekend. Michigan, who was coming off an emotional game of their own not to mention down their two best players, was able to recover quicker. The answer to the question seemed to be they did not handle coming down from the high of Saturday well at all.
Neither team put together what will be known as a good half of basketball. Nebraska Coach Tim Miles almost went so far as to call it "unwatchable" as he was interviewed going into the locker room at halftime. The Huskers couldn’t score and they tried a number of ways. They couldn’t hit from the perimeter. When they were able to get to the rim, they struggled to finish there and their opportunities in transition were limited as well. They went into the locker room with only 18 points, but also only down by five points.
Terran Petteway came into this game having scored in double figures for 30 straight games. Ever since the last time he set foot in Crisler Arena, where last season he was held to just five points. Tonight, he struggled just as much as Michigan used a mixture of man-to-man and the zone defense that Michian Coach John Beilein used so effectively when he was at West Virginia to limit Petteway to a season low seven points. His performance is puzzling enough, but the stat sheet is almost equally as confusing.
Nebraska secured more offensive rebounds, had fewer turnovers, committed fewer fouls, went to the foul line more often and lost by 14 points. NU’s inability to shoot the ball, 15-49, kept them from making this any sort of a game down the stretch.
The Huskers next face the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis Saturday evening. The NU beat Minnesota in Lincoln a week ago. If they have any hope of rekindling their fading NCAA Tournament hopes, another win vs. the Gophers is imperative. If they play like they did vs. Michigan, that dimming NCAA Tournament wish might just be go out for good.