ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Coming off their first loss in 11 tries, Michigan coach John Beilein and his No. 10 ranked Wolverines are in an odd position.
Following the loss at Indiana Sunday, Michigan, due to NCAA rules on allotted hours student-athletes are allowed to spend on their sport per week, was forced to take Monday off.
Going light on Tuesday as well Michigan is now set to host a resurgent Nebraska Cornhuskers team holding serve at home and looking for a signature road win. Beilein is hoping for a positive bounce back out of his young group.
“You do not know (how they’ll respond),” Beilein said Tuesday. “That’s the beauty of coaching 19 year old kids; you don’t know. You try to hit them between the eyes a little bit with ok here’s what happened, here’s what we’re going to do about it, let’s go.
“At the same time you’ve got to make sure you pat them on the back and give them a good source of confidence.”
Michigan’s downfall against the Hoosiers was in part due to the hot shooting out of Indiana sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell who knocked down 7-of-8 triple tries but also on the other end, Wolverines’ leading scorer Nik Stauskas put up just six field goal attempts finishing with six points.
As teams key on Stauskas more and more, the job of getting him open or simply proving him more opportunities is of paramount importance for Michigan, now 8-1 in Big Ten conference play.
“Both ways, Nik could have done things and we could have done things,” Beilein said. “And his teammates could’ve done things. You can’t go, none of us can say, ok they’re denying Nik; we’ve got to go elsewhere.
“There were opportunities for him to just get the ball we just didn’t throw it to him. There were opportunities that our coaching staff or he could’ve tried harder to get him the ball and we didn’t do it. But we don’t want him taking six shots a game.”
The last time Michigan took the floor against Nebraska it took a last second old fashion three-point play out of Derrick Walton Jr. to give the Wolverines a 71-70 victory in Lincoln.
Since starting Big Ten play a porous 0-4 the Cornhuskers have won three of their last four including a win over No. 17 Ohio State and home victories against Minnesota and Indiana.
With early non-conference losses to UMass, UAB, Creighton and Cincinnati, Nebraska seems to be putting things together under their second year head coach.
“First of all they have a terrific coach; Tim Miles has done a really good job,” Beilein said. “Now, you assemble this group of talent; several transfers, one, two, three maybe transfers, two junior college players and then they had Gallegos, the New Zealand young man.
“Now you throw them together and you’ve got all this talent but we all know talent is never enough. You have to have chemistry, you have to have timing; you have to have a lot of great things.
“As, each game that they play, all this great talent that Tim’s brought in is getting more and more comfortable with what he and his staff are trying to do and that’s been a big difference for them.”
Michigan’s main priority for Wednesday’s 6:30 p.m. contest at Crisler Center – stop Nebraska super sophomore forward Terran Petteway, averaging 18.2 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Of Petteway, Beilein said Tuesday “Petteway might become the best player in the league.”