Michigan meets the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Wednesday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Both teams are coming off thrilling last-second victories on Monday night. For Michigan, it was Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman who provided the late game heroics. MAAR sank two free throws with 0.9 seconds left, sending Maryland out of town with a loss. In Lincoln on Monday night, Illinois and Nebraska came down to the wire in their Big Ten matchup. Junior guard James Palmer Jr. played hero, nailing a three just before the buzzer as Nebraska escaped an ugly loss.
— SWM (@sportswm) January 16, 2018
James Palmer Jr.
James Palmer Jr. was the hero on Monday night, but the Wolverines will look to end those heroics tonight. The junior guard leads the Huskers in scoring with 15.7 points per game and ranks in the top 3 in nearly every other category on the team. Palmer is a talented athlete, and it will be important for Michigan’s guards to limit his production tonight. Any chance at an upset for Nebraska lies in Palmer’s hands.
Copeland is second on the team in scoring and the leading rebounder. A solid scoring run that included a 21 point outing against Penn State ended on Monday, as Copeland could only muster two points against Illinois. He isn’t much of a threat from beyond the arc but still demands attention out there seeing he attempts three shots per game from deep. Isaiah Livers and Charles Matthews will most likely draw Copeland on defense. Limiting his offensive rebounds and second-chance points will lead the Wolverines to success not only in the paint but on D as a whole.
Glynn Watson Jr.
Watson is another guy who is capable of filling up the basket. He went for 21 points against Penn State. He doesn’t shoot many threes and finds most of his points inside the arc. Nebraska doesn’t hit the three very well as a team, so it will be essential to limit guys like Watson, Copeland, and Palmer from short-mid range.
Keys to the Game
Michigan played down heavily against Maryland on Monday. This was apparent in how Michigan shot the basketball and protected it.
The offense looked stagnant in the first half and when guys did find open shots they couldn’t capitalize. Not only that but the Wolverines turned the ball over a lot more than we have seen from this team. This team is young, and Big Ten road games are no cakewalk. Limiting turnovers and hitting open shots early on would go a long way for Michigan.
Letting Nebraska jump out early as Maryland did is asking for trouble. The Wolverines escaped at home, but Nebraska already had one home miracle this week. We don’t want to give them two.
Nebraska should not be written off in this game. This team has solid pieces and can be dangerous when everything is clicking. Just ask Kansas, who escaped Pinnacle Bank Arena with a 1 point victory. Michigan’s youth will once again show through early, as Nebraska will create some turnovers and easy points. A back and forth second half will scare the Maize and Blue, but Michigan’s talented shooters will score down the stretch to bury the Cornhuskers.
Prediction: Michigan 72 Nebraska 64
Jake Rossler- 76-71 Nebraska
Brendan Boyd- 79-62 Michigan
Jose Abaere- 78-70 Michigan
Max Schnell- 82-65 Michigan
Josh Swerdcloff- 75-66 Michigan