Head Coach: Juwan Howard
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Shirt not to wear: Yellow, Blue, Nike
Line: Michigan by 8.5
Typical Rotation Depth: 8
KenPom rank: 16
Players to watch: Hunter Dickenson
The freshman 7'1" 255# big man is currently leading the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. Nebraska loves to double team a dominant post player and we'll see if this flusters Dickerson. Currently shooting 73.1% from 2.
Players to watch: Chaundee Brown
The Wake Forest transfer has been an aggressive scorer off the bench like Kobe Webster for Nebraska. At 6'5" he gives the Wolverines more length at the 2.
Senior Center Austin Davis was starting over Dickinson until he went down with a foot injury. Seems unlikely to play in this game
- PG Mike Smith is a transfer from Columbia University. One of the few Wolverines not lighting it up from outside but knows how to get the ball to Dickinson
- Eli Brooks is a secondary ball handler and has been a pest defensively
- Livers remains one of the best shooters in the country and seems poised to burn a Nebraska team that will be focusing on Dickinson
- Most of the press coming out of Michigan has been about the decrease in scoring from Franz Wagner. While Wagner has shot the ball less this season, his assist and rebounding rates have increased.
- F/C Brandon Johns and his outside shooting allows Michigan to play 5 out when Dickinson comes out
- 6'7" wing Terrance Williams is depth at the 3 or 4
People seem bullish on Nebraska in this game at home on Christmas Day against a Michigan team that hasn't played in 12 days and seems semi-enthusiastic to be playing on a holiday. In some ways this Wolverine team is like Wisconsin in that their defense want to run you off the 3pt line towards a shot blocker. Michigan players a lot of man so it will be interesting to see if they throw a small guard or a forward at Dalano Banton and how he reacts.
The Huskers tend to start most every game on fire, guarding like they have 6 men on the court which is how you can get away with sending a couple of guys at Dickinson. However, Nebraska just can't keep it up all game and it's starting to become a theme where their opponent uses big 2nd half runs to win games. Maybe that first road game where the Wolverines have to use an Adidas ball will be enough to keep them below their average from outside.
Nebraska was a few bunnies and FTs away from making that game vs Wisconsin interesting. Nebraska, as a team who can't seem to close out anyone, needs a team willing to beat itself. While this is a Michigan team with a lot of experience and talent, it's a team that has looked pedestrian at points playing on the road for the first time. A Nebraska win on Christmas vs Michigan would be quite the feat.
Prediction: Michigan 77 - Nebraska 71