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Michigan 81, Nebraska 68: A Quality Road Win

Road conference wins are perhaps a team's most-precious commodity; Michigan got one today.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan took care of Nebraska in Lincoln today, 81-68.

Wolverines, Huskers. Two programs that hang their hat on storied football programs with celebrated coaches. The anticipation doesn’t often translate to the hardwood when gridiron bluebloods meet but this was a critical game in the grand picture of the Big Ten season for Michigan.

In front of a capacity crowd at Pinnacle Bank Arena, Michigan wasted no time getting started. On the back of an early three-point barrage the Wolverines got the lead up to 15 at the five-minute mark of the half. But as it was against Iowa last week, turnovers cost Michigan. Seven in the first half nullified a spirited rebounding effort and a late Glynn Watson three pointer brought the Huskers within three at the half.

In a way, the second half mirrored the first; Michigan was focused out of the gate and raced out to a big lead before Nebraska punched back. The Huskers threw a full-court press at Michigan at forced an additional seven turnovers in the second half but the Wolverines’ effort on the glass and clutch free-throw shooting was ultimately the difference.

From the beginning, it was apparent that Michigan’s guards would have to outplay their counterparts and Derrick Walton, Jr. delivered with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists. Duncan Robinson continued to be a vital cog in Michigan’s machine with 21 points and some impressive finishes at the rim to boot.

Ken Pomeroy gave Michigan a 49% chance to win at Nebraska. Winning these toss-up contests is critical for a team with increasingly legitimate conference title aspirations and today John Beilein’s upstart team did just that. Caris LeVert’s injury casts uncertainty moving forward, but for now, it’s time to appreciate what the team accomplished today.