Nebraska up next for No. 15 Michigan in Big Ten Tournament
NEW YORK -- No. 15 Michigan will get a chance at avenging its worst loss of the season when it faces Nebraska in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday at Madison Square Garden.
The Cornhuskers (22-9) blew out the Wolverines 72-52 on Jan. 18 in Lincoln, Neb. The fifth-seeded Wolverines (25-7) needed overtime to knock off pesky Iowa, the 12th seed, 77-71 in the second round on Thursday to advance. .
Duncan Robinson came off the Michigan bench to nail all three of the team's 3-pointers, including a trey with 2:17 left in overtime that gave the Wolverines a lead they did not relinquish.
The Wolverines erased a 40-35 Iowa halftime lead with an 11-0 run in the first 2:16 of the second half to move ahead 46-40, with Moritz Wagner scoring five of those points. Michigan led the rest of the way en route to its sixth consecutive win and ninth in the last 10.
Michigan's top two scorers fouled out against Iowa. Wagner fouled out with 4:37 to play, scoring 11 points in just 15 minutes, and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman fouled out in overtime, finishing with nine points and three assists.
"We haven't had that all year long. We haven't had three guys in foul trouble in the first half, and our situation in the second half, with guys fouling out," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "Someone do the stat, probably just a couple of games."
Nebraska shot 55 percent against Michigan in the only meeting of the season between the teams.
"If anybody has gone to Nebraska to play, it is a tremendous, tremendous environment and atmosphere," Beilein said. "And the place was all jacked up and they were ready to roll.
"They can play big or small. And they came in with great quickness and a great game plan and were just much better than us. And that's all it was. They were just better than us."
Robinson failed to score in 11 minutes in that game.
"I thought we've grown a lot," Robinson said. "I think that was one of the first teams that really started switching ball screens.
"I think we've learned a lot since then. I think a lot of people as a team and individually we've grown a lot. So hopefully that will be on display on Friday."
Nebraska has won eight of its last nine games. Coach Tim Miles' squad switched to a smaller lineup in mid-January when Isaiah Roby and Anton Gill moved into the starting lineup. Since then, the Cornhuskers are 10-2 and shooting 46 percent from the field while also outrebounding opponents.
Nebraska is 3-6 in the Big Ten Tournament, reaching the quarterfinals in 2014, 2016 and this season.
"We want to go win the Big Ten Tournament," Miles said. "That is the goal, to go cut the nets down. That's just where it begins and ends.
"As far as the NCAA Tournament resume, I don't think I am even going to talk about that with the guys. I think I am going to talk with a single-minded goal. Let's go there and try to win that tournament, Big Ten champions.
"It is three games, as close as we have been in a long time, since 2014, to being in that spot and we will see who the matchup is. It could be Michigan, it could be someone else. Michigan is playing great, a good opportunity for a win, but at the same time we want to go there and be Big Ten champions."
Updated March 1, 2018