Nebraska Huskers basketball: Michigan preview

Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-22, 2-16) vs Michigan Wolverines (18-11, 9-9)

Thursday, Mar. 5, 2020 – 5:30 p.m. CT

Crisler Center


Radio: Husker Sports Network

Internet: Fox Sports App

1. Make a free throw

Nebraska set a new low for free-throw shooting ineptitude in its final home game of the season vs. Northwestern. Going a stunning 8-for-30 from the charity stripe, the Huskers became the first team in at least a decade to shoot under 30 percent on free throws with at least 30 attempts, and only the fifth to do so on 20 or more attempts. What’s even worse was that in a five-point overtime loss, NU missed 14 free throws that would have either tied the game or taken the lead. Had they shot their season average, the Huskers would have won that game by seven in regulation. Nebraska has been one of the worst teams in college basketball at the line all season, but Sunday was a disaster no one could have envisioned. If the Huskers are going to have a chance at beating anyone, let alone a Michigan team that averages 75.0 points per game, they have to be at least somewhat competent at the free-throw line.

2. Be ready for Michigan at full strength

What made Nebraska’s home loss to Michigan earlier this season even worse was that the table couldn’t have been set much better to finally get a win. The Wolverines were without two of their best players that night, as star point guard Zavier Simpson did not play due to suspension and forward Isaiah Livers – arguably the UM’s best scorer – was out with an injury. Yet short-handed Michigan was still able to score 79 points and shoot 50 percent from the field in a double-digit victory over the Huskers. Now Nebraska will have to face both Simpson and Livers in tonight’s rematch, making an already daunting challenge even more difficult.

3. Play for pride

Barring a major road upset over the final two regular season games, Nebraska looks destined to be the No. 14 seed in next week’s Big Ten Tournament. The Huskers are a dejected team right now, and understandably so. This has been the worst season in program history, and the numerous ugly new records set this year continue to back that up. In reality, NU doesn’t have much of anything to play for until hoping for a miraculous run in Indianapolis. The only motivation at this point is pride. How much fight do the Huskers still have in them? We’ll find out with two straight road Senior Nights where Nebraska will need every ounce of resiliency it can muster.

Michigan 83, Nebraska 62

Robin’s 2019-20 record: 18-11

vs. the spread: 12-17

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