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Preview: Michigan at Nebraska

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Michigan has won a season-high four straight games and hopes to stay hot in advance of a grueling stretch later this month. The Wolverines visit Nebraska on Thursday and host Penn State five days later before a three-game gauntlet that includes trips to Wisconsin and Michigan State - both are currently ranked fourth in the country - and a home game against No. 24 Iowa. In the meantime, though, Michigan must contend with a Cornhuskers squad that is still seeking its first league victory.

"I don’t know if it’s just me," Wolverines coach John Beilein told reporters this week, "but it just seems that any given night, anybody can beat anyone. The strength of the league, I think when it’s all said and done, will be the top conference or one of the top two or three conferences." Michigan has opened its Big Ten slate with wins at Minnesota and versus Northwestern while Nebraska has lost three games in a row, including double-digit losses to league rivals Iowa and Ohio State. The Huskers are averaging just 56.3 points during their three-game skid.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2

ABOUT MICHIGAN (10-4, 2-0 Big Ten): The Wolverines' top six scorers are headlined by four sophomores, followed by a pair of freshmen. One of those players, sophomore center Mitch McGary, is out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery this week. In his continued absence, Beilein will need more rebounding out of players such as upperclassmen Jon Horford and Jordan Morgan and sophomore forward Glenn Robinson III, a terrific athlete who only averages 4.6 boards per game.

ABOUT NEBRASKA (8-6, 0-2): The Cornhuskers allowed the Buckeyes to shoot 54 percent from the field and 47 percent from 3-point range in Saturday's 29-point defeat and now they must contend with the Wolverines' talented offense. "They make the 3 like crazy and you look at their efficiency on offense, it is just incredible," Nebraska coach Tim Miles said of Michigan, which has won eight of the 10 all-time meetings. The Cornhuskers are paced offensively by Terran Petteway, who averaged 3.1 points as a freshman but has increased that figure to 17.3 points as a sophomore.

TIP-INS

1. Michigan F Nik Stauskas' numbers are up across the board from his freshman season, including his scoring (11 to 17.8), assists (1.3 to 3.6) and field-goal percentage (46.3 to 48.5).

2. Cornhuskers second-leading scorer Shavon Shields is mired in a mini-slump, averaging just 5.3 points on 7-of-27 shooting during the team's three-game slide.

3. In the Wolverines' 10 victories, they have allowed more than 66 points only once - an overtime win over Florida State in which the Seminoles had 69 at the end of regulation.

PREDICTION: Michigan 62, Nebraska 60

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140109/preview-michigan-at-nebraska