Few teams in the country have been busier in the last three weeks or so than Nebraska.
When the Cornhuskers host Michigan on Saturday evening in Lincoln, Neb., it will mark their eighth game since Jan. 17.
When the game is over, Nebraska will get a much-needed week off, but first will have to get by Michigan in the first of two Big Ten meetings between the teams this year.
Nebraska (16-8, 6-7 Big Ten) is coming off an 80-68 loss at Northwestern on Wednesday, which dropped the Cornhuskers to 1-7 on the road. At home, Nebraska is 14-1, including wins over Purdue and Wisconsin.
“We’ve got to find a way to regroup,” Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We’ve played more games than anybody in the league. Our schedule has not allowed for a lot of recovery or prep time. We’ve got another short one to get ready for a good Michigan team that knocked off Wisconsin. We’ve got to somehow, someway dig in and get some energy. Find a way to close out this really difficult stretch as far as a lot of games in a short amount of time. Then we get a little time to breathe.”
If there was good news for Nebraska against Northwestern, it’s that Juwan Gary returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Jan. 17. He had been out with a calf strain, then came off the bench in games against Wisconsin on Feb. 1 and Illinois on Feb. 4.
The next challenge will be a Michigan team that is coming off its best performance of the season, a 72-68 upset of No. 11 Wisconsin at home on Wednesday.
Dug McDaniel scored a team-high 16 points and has reached double figures in 19 of the 20 games he has played this season. He leads the Wolverines (8-15, 3-9) with a 16.8 scoring average.
Olivier Nkamhoua (15.5 ppg) pulled down a season-high 12 rebounds and leads the team with a 7.3 average.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Wolverines, who hope it’s the start of an upswing for the final weeks of the year.
“It was just nice to see guys with a smile on their face, noise in the locker room, in a positive way with noise in the locker room instead of in a negative way,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said.
–Field Level Media
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