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Takeaways from Michigan’s win over Nebraska

Brandon Johns stepped up in a big way.

San Diego State v Michigan Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines did what they were supposed to do in Lincoln Tuesday night, blowing out the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 102-67, to kick off Big Ten play with a win.

Nebraska should finish toward the bottom of the conference and was ranked last in Matt Eifert’s recent power rankings, but it’s still nice to see everything clicking for a Michigan team that has struggled to find an offensive rhythm.

Here are three takeaways from the win.

Good ball movement leads to great things

Michigan has struggled to knock down shots from deep at times this season, and in a good portion of its games has struggled to get every guy who touches the ball involved in the offense.

The Wolverines had their best shooting performance of the year Tuesday, going 15-for-32 from deep with a season-high 25 assists as a team in the win. The majority of those makes came off someone making the extra pass or Michigan finding the open man in transition.

I’ve talked in previous takeaways about how Michigan’s offense looks stagnant at times and has struggled to make shots for a brief stretch in the second half, but it really moved the ball well against Nebraska and took the best shot of the possession more often than not.

Michigan fans can’t expect their favorite team to make almost 50% of their threes every game, but if the Wolverines keep moving the ball like this, only good things can happen.

Brandon Johns Jr. got his swagger back

I’m sure Brandon Johns Jr. wasn’t super happy about Moussa Diabate starting over him in the UNC game, but if he continues to play like he did Tuesday night that starting spot might be his to keep for the rest of the year.

Johns Jr. had 16 points in the first half and was a big reason Nebraska went from hanging around to getting blown out.

I loved the effort he played with. It also helps he was able to score in multiple ways, whether it was knocking down open threes, spinning in the post and drawing a foul or finishing on dump down dunks to give Michigan all of the momentum.

Johns Jr. has looked inconsistent at times this year, and there are way too many possessions in Michigan’s losses where he’s just standing in the corner and not getting involved.

Hunter Dickinson looked good on Tuesday as well, and is almost always going to get his points inside. If he and Johns Jr. can consistently produce like they did against the Cornhuskers, it gives the Wolverines more lineup flexibility and another talented big to throw at Big Ten post players if Dickinson is in foul trouble.

You absolutely love to see that bench production

Nebraska was actually hanging around for the first 10 minutes of game time or so, but a big reason why Michigan’s lead was able to balloon up to 19 to end the first half was the contributions it got off the bench.

You can expect to win a lot of college basketball games if you score 38 points off the bench. The majority of those points came from Terrance Williams, who led the Wolverines in scoring with 22. Williams talked about working on his three-point shooting in the offseason, and he showcased those improvements in Lincoln by going 3-fo-3 from deep while cutting to the basket for a few easy buckets and playing solid defense as well.

I loved what I saw out of Zeb Jackson in this game, too. Two minutes into checking into the game, he found Williams for an easy bucket before cashing a three of his own to make it a 16-point game and directly leading to a Fred Hoiberg timeout.

Jackson was a little trigger happy at times, but him being back is a welcome addition to Michigan’s rotation. If he can continue to have bursts off the bench like he did against Nebraska, he can help with the scoring load when the starters are struggling.

Kobe Bufkin didn’t get a ton of minutes until the game became a blowout, and Frankie Collins got smoked a couple times by Alonzo Verge Jr., but I’m sure Michigan fans would love those two young guards get involved more.

You can’t expect to shoot as well as the Wolverines did in that win every night but if they can consistently get bench production like this as the season goes along, Michigan is going to win a lot more games in conference play.