Head Coach: Juwan Howard (5th Season)
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Point Spread: Nebraska by 9.5
Typical Rotation Depth: 8
KenPom rank: 97
- Michigan has beaten Nebraska 16 out of the 17 times they've played since Nebraska joined the B1G
- It's a matchup of former NBA players who are also coaching their sons. Jace Howard plays for Juwan while Sam Hoiberg plays for Fred. While Juwan wasn't a head coach in the NBA, he was an assistant for the Heat for 6 seasons.
- Starting PG Dug McDaniel is on a unique academics-based suspension where he only plays in home games. He will not play in this game.
- Olivier Nkamhoua, like Derrick Walker, is a former Tennessee big man though their time with the Volunteers didn't overlap as Nkamhoua started the year that Walker left.
- Eli Rice appears to be out for this one. Seems important for Nebraska to get him back after the bye this week to provide more depth
KenPom most used lineups
Player to watch: Olivier Nkamhoua
Finnish forward and Tennessee transfer Olivier Nkamhoua is the 2nd leading scorer on the team behind Dug McDaniel. Mostly slotting at the 4, Nkamhoua also spends time at the 5 which gives Michigan the option to have 5 shooters on the floor. His offensive numbers scream 'Rienk Mast but better at converting in the paint' to give you an idea of how dangerous he can be.
Player to watch: Jaelin Llewellyn
Last season the Princeton transfer PG came to Michigan to run the show while the Wolverines brought in freshman McDaniel as a backup. Eight games into the season, Llewellyn tore his ACL and McDaniel had to take over. This season Llewellyn didn't play his first game until Dec 2nd and was mostly riding the bench until this McDaniels suspension thing started. Now he averages 30+ minutes per game on the road and sometimes barely plays at home. Llewellyn functions more like a caretaker in his version of the Michigan offense where he brings the ball up the court though doesn't do much in terms of distribution. He isn't shooting much but is hitting a smoking 15-28 from 3 this season. (53.6%)
Player to watch: Terrance Williams
In addition to his defensive prowess, Williams has stepped up his offensive game and is shooting 39.1% from 3. His shot distribution is split between the 2 and 3 so he's an opportunistic scorer
Player to watch: Tarris Reed
In some ways the starting center for the Wolverines might be the most important player on the court today as he very well might determine if Nebraska will double in the post like they have most of the season or play more straight up like vs Northwestern. Reed finishes at high percentage in the paint and is their one true rim protector. He's not a threat from outside and is a terrible FT shooter.
Others to watch
Formrer McDonald's All-American Nimari Burnett is an all around efficient player with the caveat that he's a shooting guard who isn't particularly good at shooting. This is his 3rd school after Texas Tech and Alabama. 6'10' 215# backup center and Seton Hall transfer Tray Jackson is traditional center depth for the Wolverines. Beefy 6'8" 245# forward Will Tschetter has a remarkable 73.4% eFG% off the bench. Everyone else on the bench is depth including Juwan Howard's son Jace.
UNL Game Notes
5 Ahron Ulis 6-3 190 lbs Junior - Likely out for the season
15 Blaise Keita 6-11 257 lbs Junior - Ongoing ankle injury recovery
11 Eli Rice 6-8 213 lbs Freshman - Ankle injury
Possible starters for Nebraska
10 Jamarques Lawrence 6-3 183 lbs Sophomore
30 Keisei Tominaga 6-2 179 lbs Senior
3 Brice Williams 6-7 213 lbs Junior
53 Josiah Allick 6-8 231 lbs Senior
51 Rienk Mast 6-10 248 lbs Junior
4 Juwan Gary 6-6 221 lbs Junior
0 C.J. Wilcher 6-5 214 lbs Junior
9 Jarron Coleman 6-5 213 lbs Senior
1 Sam Hoiberg 6-0 183 lbs Sophomore
21 Matar Diop 6-10 213 lbs Freshman
35 Henry Burt 6-7 216 lbs RS Freshman
2 Ramel Lloyd Jr. 6-6 210 lbs RS Freshman
31 Cale Jacobsen 6-4 200 lbs RS Freshman
24 Jeffrey Grace III 6-3 197 lbs Sophomore
HCFH notes we've played the most conference games and have the latest bye.
Starting lineup TBD because Lawrence liked coming off the bench
Focus has been rebounding and taking care of the ball
The Wolverines are once again underachieving relative to the amount of talent they tend to acquire and thus many see Juwan Howard being on the hot seat. However, one thing not to overlook here is the talented roster as Michigan has led at the end half of 10 of their 12 conference games and finally put together a complete game in a home win over a ranked Wisconsin team. One takeaway from all of this is regardless of how down any team in the conference appears to be, they're more than capable of knocking off a Nebraska team that isn't playing with high effort.
Michigan is a particularly dangerous wounded adversary because their style is difficult for Nebraska to handle. Defensively the Wolverines run you off the 3 and effectively turn you into a drive to the basket squad. Offensively, Michigan prefers to do their damage from 3 though they also possess capable inside scoring. One last challenge is that they'll crash the offensive boards effectively.
Despite these advantages their are plenty of downsides to the Wolverines as Nebraska should win the turnover battle. Juwan Howard's teams have always valued defending without fouling over generating turnovers. Meanwhile, the Michigan offense has been fairly turnover prone. They also give up plenty of offensive rebounds themselves.
This is a plenty losable game for Nebraska but between the loss at Northwestern and Michigan's win expect Nebraska to be ready in this one and enough juice from the crowd to carry Nebraska should they find themselves to be the 11th conference foe out of 13 to be behind at the half to Michigan.
Prediction: Nebraska 85 - Michigan 79