Huskers face tall task in clash with second-ranked Wolverines

11:54 AM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
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Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - The second-ranked Michigan Wolverines can match the best start in program history on Wednesday night, as they entertain the Nebraska Cornhuskers in a Big Ten Conference clash.

Nebraska enters this fray three games over .500 (9-6), but the team has lost it first two conference bouts to Ohio State and Wisconsin. The Cornhuskers were stymied in both setbacks, averaging a mere 42.5 points, which is considerably worse than the already low 59.1 ppg the team nets on the year. Nebraska has won only one of its four true road games to this point, and this is the first of two straight and three of the next four the Huskers will play outside of Lincoln.

Michigan has imposed its will on virtually every one of its 15 opponents this season, laying claim to a +22.2 scoring differential. A win tonight would match the 16-0 start the 1985-86 Wolverines enjoyed. UM is 10-0 at home this season, and 25-1 at Crisler Arena over the past two years. Following this tilt, the Maize and Blue will hit the road for a pair of tough bouts against nationally-ranked Big Ten rivals in Ohio State and Minnesota.

Michigan leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 7-2, which includes a 4-0 mark in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines won the most recent meeting, taking a 62-46 decision on the Huskers' home floor last season in the first meeting between the two since 1992.

Nebraska is coming off its best defensive effort of the season, as it held Wisconsin to 37.7 percent field goal efficiency which led to a mere 47 points. Unfortunately, the Huskers managed just a 36.7 percent shooting effort leading to a scant 41 points. They were just 2-of-12 from 3-point range, and attempted only five free throws in the contest. Ray Gallegos and Dylan Talley missed a total of eight long-range attempts, but scored 12 points apiece, while Brandon Ubel chipped in with 10 points thanks to a pair of 3-pointers. Nebraska turned the ball over only eight times, but the Badgers were even more careful with a mere six miscues. Despite being offensively challenged, the Huskers have three double-digit scorers in the form of Talley (13.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg), Gallegos (13.0 ppg) and Ubel (12.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg), the last of whom also serves as the team's top rebounder.

Michigan has topped the 90-point mark in each of its first two conference games, raising its season average to an impressive 82.0 ppg. The team boasts four double-digit scorers, led by Trey Burke and his 18.2 ppg. Burke is also one of the nation's top point guards as he has 113 assists against only 28 turnovers, and in the last 10 games he has 79 helpers and only 11 miscues. Tim Hardaway, Jr. (16.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Nik Stauskas (13.5 ppg) and Glenn Robinson III (12.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg) have all performed at an exceptionally high level for coach John Beilein's club, which has also turned up the pressure at the defense end in yielding a mere 59.5 ppg. UM shoots 52.2 percent from the field, knocking down 42.3 percent of its 3-point attempts along the way, and the squad owns a +9.5 rebounding margin as well. Burke (19 points, career-high 12 assists) and Robinson III (20 points, 10 rebounds) each had double-doubles in powering Michigan past Iowa this past Sunday, 95-67. Hardaway, Jr. tallied 19 points too, and Stausaks finished with 13. Mitch McGary tied a career-high with 11 boards, and he blocked three shots as well. The Wolverines shot 58.1 percent from the floor, draining 10 triples while turning the ball over just six times.

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