|Michigan at Nebraska
Saturday, Jan. 23 | Lincoln, Neb. | 2 p.m. EST | ESPN2
||Field Goal %
||3-pt FG %
||Free Throw %
||Field Goal %
||3-pt FG %
|Caris LeVert (17.6), Duncan Robinson (11.9)
||Andrew White III (17.0), Shavon Shields (16.1)
|Caris LeVert (5.4), Derrick Walton (5.4)
||Andrew White III (6.1), Shavon Shields (5.3)
After facing three straight ranked opponents — two of them on the road — Michigan got a bit of a breather with a win over Minnesota on Thursday night. Now, they travel to Nebraska for a Saturday afternoon tilt that fits the definition of a trap game. It falls in the middle of a four-game stretch of games Michigan should win before a key set of games against Indiana and Michigan State. But Pinnacle Bank Arena has proven to be a tough place to play, and Michigan hasn’t been great on the road.
Additionally, Nebraska is riding the high of knocking off Michigan State in East Lansing on Wednesday — their fourth straight win after opening Big Ten play 0-3.
Nebraska is led by junior guard Andrew White III (6-foot-7, 216) and senior forward Shavon Shields (6-foot-7, 225). White leads the team with 17 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Shields is second with 16.1 and 5.3. They rank fifth and eighth in the Big Ten, respectively, in points per game. Michigan State limited White to his lowest totals of the season, just seven points and one rebound, due to foul trouble, but the Cornhuskers still won the game. Shields picked up the slack with 28 points on 12-of-20 shooting. White, meanwhile, has scored 28 points twice this season — against Rutgers and Creighton — and scored a season high 30 against Abilene Christian. The Kansas transfer is the team’s best three-point shooter, shooting 43.4 percent. His 53 made threes are more than all Michigan players save Duncan Robinson’s 64.
Shields is less adept at the three, shooting just 30.4 percent, but takes more shots than anyone else on the team, averaging more than 12 per game. He scored 28 points in an overtime loss to No. 21 Miami in December, 25 against Samford, and 24 against Minnesota last week.
Behind White and Shields, junior guard Tai Webster (6-foot-4, 196) averages 9.9 points and four rebounds per game. He has two 20-point games, including a 22-point performance against Iowa, but he followed that up with six points in a 3-of-10 outing against Rutgers. He’s a capable three-point shooter, averaging 40.4 percent, but only averages one-and-a-half attempts per contest.
Freshman guard Glynn Watson Jr (6-foot-0, 165) is the team’s fourth leading scorer, averaging 8.1 points. During the current four game winning streak he’s averaging 12.5 points, including 17 against Illinois and 13 against MSU.
Senior guard Benny Parker (5-foot-9, 175) has started every game, but scores just 4.6 points per game. Despite playing 20 minutes or more in every game, he has scored just six points combined in the last four games. He has a season high 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting against Northwestern in the Big Ten opener, but has managed just 22 points combined in the six games since.
Freshman forward Michael Jacobson (6-foot-8, 222) has started 11 games, averaging 4.2 points, while fellow freshman forward Jack McVeigh has 5.4 points off the bench.
As a team, Nebraska is averaging three points fewer than Michigan and shoots slightly worse all around. They also allow three points more per game than the Wolverines, but their field goal defense is slightly better. In Lincoln, this should be a pretty even contest and Michigan will be happy to come home with a win.
The last — and only other — time Michigan came to Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Wolverines survived with a 71-70 win. Derrick Walton Jr. hit a layup with 23 seconds remaining and Nebraska missed two game winning attempts at the buzzer. They look to do the same, but with a little less drama, this afternoon.