College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Michigan vs. Nebraska: Why There’s Value on Wolverines
Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Caleb Houstan
- Michigan takes on Nebraska in a Big Ten duel at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
- The Wolverines have started the year just 5-3, including losses to Seton Hall, Arizona and UNC.
- Kody Malstrom breaks it all down below.
Michigan vs. Nebraska Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The state of Michigan had itself a weekend to remember for the ages.
Michigan won the Big Ten Conference Championship in football, the Detroit Lions won their first game of the season — which felt like winning the Super Bowl — and Michigan hoops comfortably won against the pesky defense of San Diego State.
Focusing on basketball, Michigan came into this as the favorite to repeat as the Big Ten champ. Sitting at 5-3, the Wolverines stumbled out of the gate, with their offense hitting a lull.
They will need to find answers, and fast, if they want any realistic shot at dethroning the current conference favorite Purdue.
Nebraska comes into this game at 5-4, looking to snap its two-game losing streak in its conference home opener.
This is shaping up to be an exciting one as this game will feature two of the Big Ten’s best freshmen in Michigan’s Caleb Houstan and Nebraska’s Bryce McGowens.
Will Nebraska right the ship and get the win, or will Michigan look to find some offensive success and roll over the Cornhuskers?
Let’s find out.
In Juwan Howard’s second year, Michigan had title aspirations. After losing in heart-breaking fashion to UCLA, the goal remains the same for the Wolverines in his third go at it.
If Michigan wants to pick up where it left off, then this offense needs to find answers as soon as possible. The Wolverines currently rank 28th in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom.
They have been rotating players in and out of the lineup, looking for the winning combination. After an eye-popping loss to North Carolina — and only 52 points on the Tar Heels’ horrendous defense — Michigan bounced back with 72 points scored on the vaunted San Diego State defense.
A big part of the team’s scoring dip is the drastic decrease in free throw percentage. As a team, Michigan is down 10% compared to last year, going from shooting 77.7% to 66.6%. Star center Hunter Dickinson has been the bulk of the decrease, dipping from 73.9% to 60.9% at the charity stripe.
The game plan remains the same, get the ball down low to Dickinson and let him go to work on the block. His numbers have slightly improved this year as he is averaging 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
When Dickinson is on, this offense shows signs of last year’s production. The defense is forced to clamp down and Dickinson can hit the open shooter.
Along with Dickinson, guard Eli Brooks returned to the squad as one of the on-court leaders of the team. Averaging 14.4 points and hitting 40.5% from 3, Brooks has been vital in stretching out the floor. He’s currently the only shooter on the team drilling over 40% from 3.
Preseason freshman sensation, Houstan, can also benefit from Dickinson swallowing up the defense, as his numbers have been pedestrian so far this season. Averaging 9.8 points per game, he will need to step it up and prove to be another viable scoring option for the Wolverines.
If Nebraska is going to be a viable threat in the Big Ten, then it needs to step it up on the offensive end. This is a unit that ranks 123rd in adjusted offensive efficiency so far this season.
The shooting has gone ice cold recently, as the Huskers blew a double-digit lead in their last game against Indiana. Nebraska started 1-for-16 behind the line and finished 5-of-22 in total.
Guard Alonzo Verge Jr. was the only Cornhusker to finish in double digits, as he had 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. McGowens finished with eight points and four rebounds.
While Alonzo played at about his average, this was a down game in comparison to McGowens’ averages. He currently carries a stat line of 17.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game so far this season, leading the team in points and rebounds.
While Bryce and Alonzo carry the team, they still need help from the outside. Nebraska has been ice cold from 3, averaging 27.1% as a team this season.
If the ice-cold shooting continues, then Michigan can take advantage with its 12th-ranked adjusted defensive efficiency by crashing down low and daring them to shoot.
If Nebraska wants to keep this close, it will need to dictate the tempo. The Huskers currently rank 57th in tempo, a blistering fast pace in comparison to Michigan’s 266th.
Michigan vs. Nebraska Betting Pick
Michigan passed a big test in its last game out by comfortably scoring on the San Diego State defense. Is this a sign of positive offensive production from here on out after falling flat on its face against UNC the game before?
I think so.
Dickinson and Brooks have proved to be some of the best in the Big Ten and are only getting better as they get more experience running the Wolverines’ offense. Houstan will also start to get into his own rhythm as defenses crash down low on Dickinson.
Michigan’s defense is also still one of the best units in basketball, ranking 12th in AdjD, per KenPom. This is a unit that will take advantage of Nebraska’s horrific shooting woes.
With Nebraska only getting production from Alonzo and McGowens, Michigan can focus on eliminating them from the game plan and daring the others to shoot.
If Michigan can limit the turnovers, it should comfortably run away with this one and show signs of why it will rival Big Ten threat Purdue later this season.
Pick: Michigan -7
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