Yes, I am the one who got this game preview on the assignment sheet and it will be just as biased as you would expect it to be. In all seriousness, though, the Vault better be absolutely packed and bringing the noise. If you are free Tuesday night and don’t have tickets to go yet, there are still plenty of great deals on the secondary market. So go and get your tickets here right now for this one and bring your A-game.
Michigan Wolverines at Nebraska Cornhuskers Preview
Date: Tuesday, January 28th
Time: 6:00 pm CST/7:00 pm EST
Location: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, NE
2018-19 Record: 30-7 (15-5 3rd in Big Ten)
2019-20 Record: 11-8 (2-6, 11th in standings)
Mascot: An ugly varmint that has not been a living, native species in the state for over two hundred years, with the exception of one female who was found in the thumb region and lived for nine years before passing away in 2010
Head Coach: Juwan Howard 1st season (College career record mostly vacated due to his team’s cheating)
How To Watch: ESPNU
The Wolverines had high hopes coming into last season as the national runner-up the year prior. They started off hot, winning 17 straight games. However, their lack of offense, uncharacteristic for a John Beilein coached squad, proved too much to overcome and they failed to unseat their better in-state rival or Purdue for the conference crown. Then, to cap off the shame, they lost a record-setting third time to Michigan State in the conference tournament title game. The Wolverines made the NCAA as a 2 seed in the west, but fell to Texas Tech in the sweet 16, managing just 44 points. They finished the season ranked 8th in the AP and Coaches poll, before losing their head coach to the Cleveland Cavaliers along with Ignas Brazdeikis (early departure) and Jordan Poole (graduation) to the NBA draft.
Michigan brought in beloved “Michigan Man” Juwan Howard of the flashy but banner-less “Fab Five” to replace highly respected and accomplished John Beilein as their new head coach. Nevertheless, Michigan basketball has its man, and he brings an over-hyped and over-rated Wolverine squad to town.
After struggling to beat Appalachian State in their season opener (seriously, what idiot in the Athletic Department keeps thinking they should schedule this team in season openers?), Michigan went on to pick up big wins over Creighton, Iowa State, Gonzaga, and North Carolina (I said at the time this blowout win probably suggested UNC was pretty down this year). However, they got absolutely smothered in a loss at Louisville, only scoring 43. Since then, they have managed only two quality wins, both at home over Iowa and a double-overtime victory over Purdue. They’ve also been blown out by Michigan State and lost four straight games coming into this match-up.
To be fair, Michigan has been without their best player Isaiah Livers for most of this losing stretch. Livers was out the previous six games with a groin injury before making his return to the court yesterday against Illinois. He proceeded to aggravate the injury on a dunk attempt late in the second half and left the game. He is considered day-to-day again and at this time it is unclear when he will return to the court. The recent losses on the court also leave the Wolverines sitting in bubble territory and needing wins if they hope to return to the NCAA tournament this season.
As for the new style of play on the court under first year head coach Juwan Howard, it has been a story of relying on bigs and drives to the basket. Oh, and getting technical fouls for complaining about home court officiating and storming the court doesn’t help (other than negating the opponent’s fast break layup points). Jon Teske leads the team in points, rebounds, steals, and blocks. Teske averages 13.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.9 blocks per game. When healthy, Livers is second on the team in scoring with 13.1 points. Livers also leads the team in three point shooting at 50% on 60 attempts for the season.
Meanwhile freshman Franz Wagner is second in rebounding with 4.4 boards per game and fifth in scoring with 10.1 points while shooting 29.9% from three. Zavier Simpson is averaging a team best 8.3 rebounds per game while ranking third in scoring with 12.8 points per game on 32.7% shooting from three and 59.2% from the floor.
To hell with any sense of level-headedness on this one. These arrogant a-holes need to be taught a lesson. Cold shooting by the ugly rodents and bad defense meet a hot shooting Husker squad in a rocking arena. Nebraska snaps their losing streak and Muck Fichigan stretches their losing streak to five. Huskers 82-Yellow Rodent scUM 54
MONDAY NEWS UPDATE:
Zavier Simpson has been suspended for tomorrow night’s game due to a violation of team policies. My tongue-in-cheek prediction of a blowout win above aside, Simpson getting suspended is a huge boon for the Huskers chances of a win here. Without their starting point guard, team leader in assists, and second leading scorer on the team (presuming the otherwise second leading scorer Isaiah Livers is also out with his injury which is still day-to-day as of this update Monday afternoon), this gives Nebraska as good of a shot at picking up their third conference win of the season as any. It should also be added it would be only Nebraska’s second second win over Michigan in conference play since joining the Big Ten if they do pull off the W.