Head Coach: Juwan Howard
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Shirt not to wear: Yellow, Blue, Nike
Last time out: Lost to Illinois
Line: Michigan by 4.5
Typical Rotation Depth: 7-9
KenPom rank: 30
KenPom home court advantage calculation: 4.0 (25th in D-I)
Offensive Style: To the rim
Defensive Style: Guarding the 3
Key Loses: Zavier Simpson - suspended
Key injury: Isaiah Livers is day to day
Most of the focus was talking about the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. Hoiberg mentioned he tried to hire Howard as an assistant while he was coaching the Bulls.
Players to watch: Jon Teske
The big 7'1" center leads the team in scoring and rebounding. Teske takes and makes enough 3s where you have to honor that ability. With starting point guard Zavier Simpson out for this game look for the Wolverines to try and feed the big man vs this undersized Nebraska team. He's also a formidable rim protector.
Players to watch: Isaiah Livers
Will he play tonight? If he point spread is any indication, the answer is yes.The 6'7" 230lb Livers is one of the most efficient players in the conference and Michigan losing one of its best 3pt shooters has most likely contributed to their 4 game losing streak
This little used roster is a possible starting lineup for Michigan. If Livers is available, he's probably starting for Brandon Johns. The other thing about the Wolverines is their lack of guards as DeJulius and Brooks are the only two ball handling guards with major minutes
- DeJulius is most likely the starting the starting PG and will possibly play a career high number of minutes (31 vs Purdue)
- Starting 2 guard Brooks will likely share in the ball handling duties
- Franz is the younger brother of former star Mo and brings an inconstant in and out game. It's possible he plays some time at the 2 or even the 1 tonight.
- Nebraska will have to work hard to keep forward Brandon Johns off the boards. Johns is typically the 5th option on offense and can clog the paint when paired with Teske
- Soph Adrien Nunez and Fr Cole Bajema are a couple of high ranked out of HS guys not currently in the rotation. Look for them to get PT tonight and to be candidates for the 'no one saw this coming' guy
- Centers Austin Davis and Colin Castleton are both traditional post players used not only as depth for Teske but will also play with him. Michigan won't have any hangups about trying to match up with Nebraska's small line up.
- I'll mention walk-ons Rico Ozuna-Harrison and Luke Wilson as potential ball handlers in case of emergency
If any team has had Nebraska's number in conference it has been the Wolverines whom Nebraska finally beat with aplomb back in 2018. The Huskers are 1-10 vs Michigan and Jon Beilein since joining the conference. Enter new coach Juwan Howard who started off hot, guiding the Wolverines to #4 in the AP poll at the start of the season. 2020 has not been kind to Michigan with the Wolverines going just 1-5 thus far in the new year. Michigan finds itself on the road without starting PG Zavier Simpson to battle Nebraska for the right to stay out of 13th place in the conference.
How well can Nebraska deny Michigan the ball and how well can the Wolverines feed the post without the leading assist man in the conference? Look for Nebraska to deny and then double down in the post. Switching or zone seems in order as the Huskers won't want their post players to follow the Michigan bigs out to the 3pt line. Someone has to step up tonight for Michigan. Will it be someone unexpected? The Wolverines will try to spread and if this cold shooting Michigan team can find their range with our Adidas balls, it will be a long night.
Offensively the Huskers will need to finish at the rim against this Michigan team that runs people off the 3pt line as well as anyone in the country. It certainly won't hurt for Nebraska that Simpson is one of the best on-ball defenders in the conference. Cam Mack should find some easier sledding penetrating into the lane and spraying balls out to the corners.
Look for Nebraska to be the one to snap their losing streak tonight.
Prediction: Nebraska 79 - Michigan 74 with a 63% chance of Runzas