Michigan 91, Nebraska 85

Submitted by Ace on January 14th, 2017 at 5:21 PM

Derrick Walton, who called a players-only meeting last night, led M's late charge to close out a much-needed win. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

If Michigan's players think John Beilein is the problem, they aren't showing it. Last night, in preparation for today's must-win game against Nebraska, Derrick Walton called a players-only meeting at the team hotel.

"The coaches don't need to say so much," said Walton. "We talked about this last night as a team at the players meeting last night. They make the calls. They make the adjustments. They make the subs. It's on us to make the plays out there."

"As Coach [Beilein] says, there's a point where he can only say so much. It's up to us to make plays and get stops."

The defense may have remained abominable, but with the offense hitting on all cylinders and the team's two seniors coming up big down the stretch, Michigan made just enough plays and got just enough stops to get their second Big Ten win.

Both teams showed little ability to stop the other. Moe Wagner exploited Nebraska's nonexistent pick-and-pop defense to score a career-high 23 points, making four-of-six three-point attempts. When the Huskers finally adjusted to the pick-and-pop, Derrick Walton took over, hitting three second-half three-pointers from virtually the same spot on the floor before icing the game on the line on his way to 20 points. On the other end, Michigan had no answer for Tai Webster, who scored a game-high 28 points on 12-for-20 shooting, operating off the high screen.

Defense: optional. [Campredon]

While the Wolverines never trailed, it was a tight game throughout. Michigan's lone double-digit lead, after a Wagner triple early in the second half, lasted all of one possession. Each time they threatened to blow the game open, Nebraska hit back, usually with a drive from Webster. After a quiet first half, Husker guard Glynn Watson Jr. kept them within striking distance late, scoring 20 of his 22 points in the second half. With his best half of play since the SMU game, however, Walton—with some help from fellow senior Zak Irvin, who made all seven of his second-half free throws—kept the Huskers at bay.

"That consistency is what we're both trying to get for [Walton]," said Beilein. "That's what he's capable of."

DJ Wilson was the fourth Wolverine in double-figures, needing only seven shots to get his 11 points, and Duncan Robinson came off the bench to hit a couple critical shots. As usual, Michigan took excellent care of the ball, and they forced some timely turnovers that proved to be the difference.

"Going forward, I think, a meeting like that, where you see guys so passionate about wanting to win—[we] really did it justice tonight," said Walton.

"There's only so many games left."


El Jeffe

January 14th, 2017 at 6:10 PM ^

Sorry man. IMO if you're rooting for Michigan players to fail so that one of the most distinguished gentlemen ever to coach Michigan will get fired so that maybe a new guy might come in and get more wins so your ego is stroked, then I think you need to reevaluate some things in your life.

Even at Rich Rod's and Hoke's lowest moments I wanted them to win the game.

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uncle leo

January 14th, 2017 at 6:31 PM ^

In Rich Rod's game against Miss State when we ALL knew the program couldn't sink any lower, I sure as hell wasn't pumping my fist for the team. Sometimes you need things to wake up a program. Getting blown out by Miss State started the things in motion to land the coach we had today.

I'm not sitting here rooting AGAINST Michigan basketball. But something needs to change NOW because this program is sinking further and further to the bottom of the B10 depths. 

Spare me the distinguished stuff. It's possible to be a good guy and a winner as well. 

uncle leo

January 14th, 2017 at 6:47 PM ^

Right up over the head.

I'm not rooting for or against them in this current state. When they prove to me they can start being a real program again, they can have my fandom. Just like the Lions. I'm incredibly indifferent to the state of the program. If they win and things turn around, fine. If they lose and that wakes up the AD that something needs to change, also fine.

Beating a bad Nebraska team by a few points and requiring you to be firing on all cylinders does nothing for me. I'm sick and damn tired of watching a program that was elite for a few years suddenly become a shell of itself because the coach refused to adapt to the conference style.



January 14th, 2017 at 9:39 PM ^

I get where you are coming from, but you do realize what you said is the exact definition of a fair weather fan? They (UM) can only have your fandom when they are winning?

I root for a win every game, but if they lose, and lose, and if, because of that, we need to replace the coach, I'm all for it.


January 14th, 2017 at 9:53 PM ^

Yes, I didn't want to dis the guy as he was sort of agreeing with me. For myself, I'm still watching, but not enjoying the experience much. Too frustrating.
I do respect John Beilein the man & appreciate what he accomplished, but his recruiting lagged after success, meaning he was having a hard time selling BOTH the Michigan experience & his ability to put guys in the pros. Even when he was doing just that.
And the program is suffering for that now.


January 14th, 2017 at 10:55 PM ^

What makes you think JB would "ride into the sunset" if we make a tournament run?

I don't know how many years & money he has left on his contract, but I feel like HE feels he's doing great and would like to fulfill that contract, Thank You very much!

A tournament run could set the program back years - which is why I was saying I started rooting for Hokes '14 team to lose after Minny debacle. Could not have afforded for Hoke to make a strong closing run in '14 and make it harder to replace him.

I'm not there yet with JB, but once it's clear we're unlikely to make ncaa I might have to. Sad, I know, and I willingly accept the negs to express myself. Not like I don't prefer folks to agree, but whatever. ..


January 15th, 2017 at 8:54 AM ^

That JB needs to go. And sooner rather than later. I always want them to win but there comes a point where if the losses are going to start speeding up the process for UM to be better....well, JB is digging his own grave with no one to blame but himself. He surely is not going to be the one to bring them back. There are no difference makers currently on the team or en route in recruiting either.


January 15th, 2017 at 11:03 AM ^

just looked it up, his contract goes through 2020-2021 season, so you're right, he probably won't leave after a deep tourney run. but if he has a deep run, then I'm all for giving him another year. I think I'd rather go to the S16/E8 than win the B1G - for college bball, success in the post season means more for me.


January 15th, 2017 at 12:25 PM ^

Indifferent. Wake me up when they stop letting random point guards get to the rim without any resistance. Wake me up when they don't give up 27-0 run to Indiana at home. The expected results in games vs msu indiana wisc should finally get the AD to take notice of the sad state of the bball program.


January 14th, 2017 at 9:45 PM ^

If JH came in '11 we'd have done at least as well as we did (11-2, Sugar Bowl win), and gotten better in '12, '13, '14 rather than regressing.
I don't even blame you for having such a "we can't has nice things" attitude - although assuming that we'd still have DB and it would've been JH that fled is even deeper down the well than I usually go!


January 14th, 2017 at 8:20 PM ^

So it makes sense to you that a guy who runs an offense that is completely guard reliant, hasn't recruited an above average guard in four years? That me pointing this and the utterly embarrassing lack of talent on this team shows I don't understand today's game? That never having the best player on the court, including against bottom feeders, is actually now a sound strategy for basketball success? Talent still wins, same as always and this team has very little, no need to make it any more complicated than that.


January 14th, 2017 at 9:25 PM ^

I generally agree with your sentiment, although not to that extreme.  The issue has been no PG and lack of development (more specifically) growth of Irvin and Walton.  Levert was a great guard (and was drafted in the 1st round).  Issue was he couldn't stay healthy enough.  This talent (and I agree with your point, it's a guard heavy system) deficit is the fact that the seniors haven't improved (I would argue they have regressed) and Beilein's recruiting the last two years has not been good (for guards).  Prior to that, he had a good track record - Morris, Burke, Hardaway, Staukas were or are all in the league.  That's a pretty good track record.  It has been recent misses that has led us to this current situation.

I'm more frustrated in lack of defense and stupid decision making by our senior guards.  The offense is top 20 this year.


January 14th, 2017 at 7:02 PM ^

Or maybe John Beilein - the great gentleman & at one point highly successful coach - should announce his retirement?!

That way we can cheer full throatedly for this team the rest of this season without worry that simply making the tourney & losing in the first round will buy him another season.

You simply cannot deny a change is necessary at this point?

If you had any idea how much time I spend on this blog, and money I spend on being even a tiny part of the Michigan Difference, you'd know beyond doubt my priorities are probably out of balance!

Go Blue!


January 15th, 2017 at 12:37 AM ^

... you're the one saying it, not us.

Whatever happened to supporting through thick & thin? I really don't understand all these over-invested fair weather fans.

I was just hoping for some good basketball & a better performance to turn the spiral back 'round.

If Penn State could do it in football last fall, so can we.

And I would love to see Beilein weather this spell of failure & come back strong -- though that may be hard to do within the season itself. But it's happened before; there's no reason it can't again, now.





January 15th, 2017 at 2:38 PM ^

Nah, the guy I was replying to said I need to re-examine my priorities. I was just stating how unlikely that was!

I'm just not personally built to "hope" things will get better for too long. I don't see any hope left JB is gonna recapture that magic. He's not young, he's not recruiting well, his flaws are getting more pronounced.

There were truly impatient people on here ripping Coach B 2 years ago. I negged them then, as some neg me today. But the writing's on the wall now people - and it's huge can't miss graffiti!


January 15th, 2017 at 11:21 AM ^

I got that way with Hoke and Rich Rod flat out. Its disgusting that it would ever have to come to that, buit sometimes it is the only way out for the long term health of the program when chance has to be made.


I have not felt that way with Beilein because even though it appears 2012-2014 was the exception and flash in the pan rather than the norm, Beilein 2012-2014 run was by far more successful than anything Hoke ever did even though it was not quite elite nationally. but still very good nationally and flat out elite in the Big Ten. But since then, it has been an epic fall from grace to not evne close tyhe NCAAs to barley making the last four in to being down 87-57 against MSU at home which gave me Ellerbe flashbacks.


Something does have to change because it is clearly not working. I do not expect to be elite, but I expect to be good in the big Ten and solidly in the NCAAs every year.


Now in football, I expect to be elite and win a national title and be in a plethora of Final Fours with lots of 0-2 loss seasons. I would have been estatic with Lloyd Carr level success for our basketball program, but for football, we can and should do better than Lloyd Carr's seasons outside of 1997.


January 14th, 2017 at 8:00 PM ^

I'm baffled as to why posters here seem to criticize Beilein's offenses more than his defenses, even though the former have mostly been good over his tenure while the latter have ranged from mediocre to horrendous.  

We entered today ranked 17th offensively per KenPom and 152nd defensively.   (After the game we're now 14th and 180th, respectively.)



January 14th, 2017 at 8:18 PM ^

If that's really the case I repudiate that statistic out of hand! It's that type of assessing value to possessions that constantly has KenPom over rating us.

Poorly formed stats ARE the Dammed lies we heard about when we were growing up...

There was a stretch where Irvin dribbled the shot clock down until we either never got a shot off, or he was stripped of the ball on 3 successive possessions.

This was hugely responsible for Nebraska hanging in. I'm tired of the entire game plan on both sides. Imagine hanging with Kentucky, Duke, UCLA - it was just a few years ago we could!


January 14th, 2017 at 9:28 PM ^

Well does "sticking with" KenPom mean you're sticking with Beilein?
He's a KenPom darling, and when we were exceeding expectations in the Tre-THJr-Mitch-Nik days that made KenPom a Mgoblog darling.

I'm very suspicious of the way he,interprets stats now. I used to use KenPom as a bible in ncaa pools - now I go against him. I've done much better past two years. I posted in the psu preview that KenPom having M -11 was the best indicator of psu being a good wager.

Needless to say I was negged mercilessly - including by my bookie when he payed me ;-)


January 15th, 2017 at 9:04 AM ^

to stick with my own eyes and the garbage product on the floor. You want to celebrate 90 pts against effing Nebraska, in a game where UM luckily was firing on cylinders, as proof he's just the best gd coach ever you go right ahead. How many times this year has UM lost or got blown out because they weren't shooting the lights out and they have zero other options to go to when the 3s and midrange ugly jumpers arent falling? No but hey KENPOM says we should only have 2 losses people!!! Hell might as well not even play the games. Kenpom says we're fucking awesome!


January 15th, 2017 at 6:04 PM ^

Maybe if Maryland and Indiana would have scored 90 against Nebraska they wouldn't have both lost at home to them.

The team loses to Illinois and two separate fire Beilein posts appear within minutes of the loss. The team beats PSU and Nebraska, who combined have victories against MSU, Maryland, Minnesota, and Indiana in the last two weeks, and all we get are people bitching about not winning by enough. There were more posts in the fire Beilein threads than there were in the live game thread yesterday, so I'm guessing most people just look at box scores, don't pay attention to actual B10 basketball games, and bitch about Beilein.