The No. 19 Michigan Wolverines (7-0, 2-0 B1G) went 12 days without playing a college basketball game, but Christmas provided more than just presents under the tree. The Wolverines went to Nebraska and walked out with an 80-69 victory in their first road trip of the season.
Franz Wagner led the team in scoring with 20 points, while his running mate Isaiah Livers chipped in with 17. Nebraska was led by a 25-point performance from Teddy Allen, 21 of which came in the first half.
Here are three quick takeaways from the holiday victory.
Knocking off the rust
Michigan looked like a team that has not played a game in almost two weeks early on in Friday’s game. Nebraska is going to struggle to win many more games this season, but they had played two games in the span of time that the Wolverines were idle. Even when things got a little more comfortable in their favor in the second half, there were still some sloppy moments.
Michigan’s offense was getting good looks from the perimeter and had a tough time converting on them, while lapses on defense (and some tough makes from the Huskers) kept them competitive and in the game. I have said here before that the defense probably is not going to be something that they hang their hats on, but they are much better on that end of the floor and some of the brain farts would suggest they are.
There’s a fatigue that comes from playing too many games in a quick span, but there’s also a mental fatigue that comes from being off for so long. Michigan goes another six days after this without playing, so we will see how another layoff — albeit a little bit less — plays out for them against a tougher opponent.
Dickinson continues to dazzle
Dickinson finished the game with 13 points, 15 rebounds and changed a number of shots on the defensive end of the floor. He had another double-double, this time coming in his second start of the season. His highlight moment of the game came on a block in the first half on a Nebraska dunk attempt. Right now, it just really does not look like he has much of a consistent weakness anywhere.
If there is a concern about him right now, it might be a freshman wall that comes from playing as much as he is without Austin Davis. Michigan needs those minutes from him, but he is kind of drinking from a firehose at the moment.
The Dynamic Duo returns to form
Livers has been a consistent presence throughout the year, but Wagner had struggled to find his form and did so in a big way on Friday evening. The Franz we saw on Christmas was the player that showed off down the stretch last season and him playing like that raises the ceiling of this team in a massive way. If anyone needed the last 12 days off to get right, it was Wagner and it was great to see
Next up for Michigan is a trip to Maryland with another holiday contest on New Year's Eve. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.