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January 09, 2014 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-01-09

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8A - Thursday, January 9, 2014

port

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Nebrasketballin': Big Ten play continues
Behind Enemy Lines: Tim Miles

By SIMON KAUFMAN
Daily Sports Writer
Thursday night, the Michi-
gan men's basketball team will
take on Nebraska in its third
Big Ten game of the season.
Sec-
ond-year B N
coach Tim
Miles,
one of the
Big Ten's -
funniest
and most
lighthearted personalities,
is working to turn around a
Cornhusker team that was pre-
dicted to finish last in the con-
ference in a preseason media
poll. Nebraska (0-2 Big Ten, 8-6
overall) dropped its first two
conference games to Iowa and
Michigan State, both on the
road.
The Daily sat down with
Miles in October at Big Ten
media day to talk about his
return for a second season,
playing in a new stadium and
recruiting.
The Michigan Daily: With
one year under your belt, are
you a little more relaxed going
into this season?
Tim Miles: Well, I don't
know if you can ever relax
going into the Big Ten, but it's
that comforting feeling. The
unknown always worries you,
and now you know what to
expect. But being a lifelong Big
Ten fan, growing up in Big Ten
territory in South Dakota, you
knew how tough the league was
going to be and it was certainly
all that and then some.
TMD: What is the biggest
area you want to build on from
your first year?
TM: We were able to win

five league games and we were
able to win one in the (Big
Ten) tournament (in 2013). We
want to keep showing progress,
and we did it when the league
was at its most difficult. So
just steady progress, I think,
is really important to program
building, especially at a place
like Nebraska, which isn't a
traditional well-known or well-
thought-of basketball power.
In the '90s, we had a great run,
but at this point in time now, we
need to reinvent ourselves and
that's what we're doing. We've
done it with over $200 million
in new facilities that are state
of the art, and now we've got to
get the coaching up to par and
we'll be ok.
TMD: You mentioned the
brand-new stadium. How
excited are you to break it in
and how much does it help with
recruiting?
TM: It definitely helps
recruiting. It's one of those
things that I think shows
progress. It shows commit-
ment. When a recruit sees
commitment and they see how
well done it is, it's an impres-
sive thing. The other thing
that goes right on top of that
is we've sold that thing out. I
mean, we sold it out in about
a month or six weeks of time,
and so it's been sold out since
the spring or early summer for
the whole season. That mat-
ters a lot to people when you
see that sort of commitment by
your fans.
TMD: How hard is it to get a
recruit to come out to Nebras-
ka?
TM: Recruiting is always
difficult. Everybody's got it
tough - that's just part of the
business. Any business where

you're at, when you get to kind
of a certain level and especially
the top level, the competition
is more fierce and your job
becomes more difficult. You
have to find an edge and find
a way. For us, it's finding the
right kind of guys that fit and
that want to be in Nebraska for
one reason or another. Whether
they see the progress and the
development of the program
and they like that challenge,
they see their opportunity for
an impact to come play, or they
like the coaches, or whatever
it might be, we've got to find
them. Because we don't have a
large base of local recruits and
that can be a difficult thing to
overcome sometimes.
TMD: You have a pretty laid
back demeanor. How much do
you rely on your personality to
take you guys out of the Big Ten
cellar?
TM: The personality part is
probably a disorder more than
anything, so we just try to deal
with it. Certainly, the impor-
tant part about recruiting is to
let your recruits get to know
you personally, and that's one
thing -we're not (acting like)
somebody we're not. We just
try to go out and be real guys
and (tell recruits), 'This is the
way were gonna do it, and this
is our plan for you.'"
TMD: What's your goal for
this year?
TM: We want to make the
NCAA 'tournament and win
when we're there, and I've said
that for years - even when
I was at North Dakota State
and we were a Division-I inde-
pendent and ineligible for the
NCAA tournament. I think you
just have a standard, and that's
where it belongs.

Sophomore forward Nik Stauskas is leading Michigan in scoring, averaging 17.8 points per game.

'M' to challenge perfect home mark

By SIMON KAUFMAN
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan sophomore for-
ward Mitch McGary underwent
potentially
season-ending Michigan at
back surgery Nebraska
Tuesday, but
for the rest of Matchup:
the Michigan Nebraska 8-6;
men's basket- Michigan 10-4
ball team, Big When:
Ten play will Thursday
continue when 9 P.M.
the Wolverines Where:
take on Nebras- Pinnacle
ka on Thursday Bank Arena
night. TV/Radio:
Michigan ESPN2
(2-0 Big
Ten, 10-4
overall) hopes to hand the
Cornhuskers their first-ever
loss at Pinnacle Bank Arena,
which opened September 2013.
Nebraska is a perfect 7-0 there,
but the Wolverines will be the
Cornhuskers' first real challenge
in defending their home-court
advantage after playing a fairly
easy home schedule thus far.
Michigan, on the other hand,
faced a grueling non-confer-
ence schedule, including games
against three teams ranked No.
17 or higher in the AP poll.
But the Wolverines have
kicked off Big Ten play against
teams picked to finish in the bot-
tom tier of the conference. Com-
ingoffofwins against Minnesota
and Northwestern, Michigan
will put a four-game winning

streak on the line in Lincoln.
On paper, Nebraska (0-2, 8-6)
shouldn't pose much of a chal-
lenge. The Cornhuskers came
into the season ranked last in the
Big Ten preseason media poll.
But that, of course, doesn't mean
Michigan coach John Beilein is
takingthem - or their two losses
in conference play - lightly.
"They have played a very dif-
ficult schedule overall," Beilein
said in a radio interview with
WTKA-AM. "They started off
with two road games in the Big
Ten. They came out 0-2 against
two nationally ranked teams."
Those programs - Iowa and
Michigan State - downed the
Cornhuskers handily, defeating
them by 10 and 31, respectively.
But both of those games were
on the road, and Beilein knows
full well how difficult it is to win
away from home.
"They're a good team. They
added the point guard position
with a kid from New Zealand
with a lot of game experience,"
Beilein said in the interview.
"(Ray) Gallegos is an incred-
ible shooter. They added another
transfer at the wing that is their
leading scorer right now."
Nebraska's biggest threat is
sophomore Terran Petteway,
who has deservedly earned the
respect of his teammates and
opponents. The 6-foot-6 forward
leads the team with 17.3 points
per game.
Petteway - who transferred
from Texas Tech and sat out last
year - is a dual threat who has

the ability to drive to the bas-
ket or step back for a jump shot,
making him dangerous at the
shooting guard position.
. Gallegos, a fifth-year senior,
has also been productive for the
Cornhuskers, shooting nearly 40
percent from beyond the arc.
On Michigan's end, fifth-year
senior forward Jordan Morgan
and redshirt junior forward
Jon Horford have both stepped
up their play and leadership
after being handed the share
of McGary's minutes since he
opted for surgery. Beilein said
both have continued to improve
as they've gotten in better game
shape. The coach also said he
won't hesitate to use redshirt
sophomore forward Max Bielf-
eldt if either Morgan or Horford
get in foul trouble.
Beilein refuses to admit he's
expecting a victory in Lincoln.
But if the Wolverines can over-
come their road struggles to
play at a high level, they could
blemish the Cornhuskers' home
record.
"Their talent is so much bet-
ter than it was last year," Beilein
said. "(Nebraska coach Tim
Miles) did a great job with that
team last year. Now they have a
really talented team. It's going
to be one of those games where
we're going to have to play abso-
lutely our best to get a win."
NOTES: Beilein said
"everything went well" with
McGary's surgery Tuesday,
adding that the sophomore
would be back in class Thursday.

ALLISON FARRAND/Daily
Freshman guard Derrick Walton and the Michigan men's basketball team are 6-1 at home but 1-2 on the road.

Wolverines welcome Badgers in rematch of 2013 thriller

By SHANNON LYNCH
Daily SportsEditor
In its first conference home
game of 2014, the Michigan
women's basketball team will
focus on strength, not size, to
keep its
three-
game win- Wisconsin at
ningstreak Michigan
alive, as
the Wol- Matchup:
verines Wisconsin 8-5;
look to win M
their first When: Thursday
two Big 7 P.M.
Ten games Where: Crisler
for the sec- Arena
ond cn- TV/Radio:
secutive MGoBlue
season.
But that
doesn't
mean size won't still be on the
Wolverines' minds.
The Badgers pose a challenge
in terms of size for Michigan,
led by 6-foot senior guard Tay-
lor Wurtz and 6-foot-3 redshirt
junior forward Michala John-
son. Wurtz was just named Big
Ten Player of the Week and tal-
lied 27 points in Wisconsin's
overtime win over Illinois last
week, while Johnson is averag-
ing 16.1 points per game.
The Badgers have 10 players

on their roster who stand at or
above six-feet tall.
"We do feel that we are
undersized and we're smaller
than most of our opponents,"
said Michigan coach Kim
Barnes Arico.
Luckily for the Wolverines,
it's not all about height. Fresh-
man guard Siera Thompson,
who stands at just 5-foot-7, is
expected to apply pressure on
Wisconsin (8-5 overall, 1-0 Big
Ten), just like she did against
Ohio State. More importantly,
Thompson's presence has pro-
vided consistency in the Wol-
verines' lineup, which was small
and undecided to begin with.
"Her teammates have a tre-
mendous amount of trust and
confidence in her, and really
believe she can lead our team,"
Barnes Arico said. "She's a
freshman playing 37 minutes
a game for us, going against
probably the other team's best
defender, and handling that
pressure night in and night out."
Junior forward Shannon
Smith, who also stands at just
5-foot-7, will hope to pose an
offensive threat to the Badgers.
Smith has scored more than
20 points in three games this
season and is averaging 15.1
points a game. She also became
the first Wolverine to score

more than 30 points in a game
since the 2005-06 season when
she recorded 32 points against
Detroit Mercy in November.
Michigan (1-0, 10-4) looks to
ride its momentum from Sun-
day after it opened conference
play with a 64-49 win over
Ohio State in which Thompson
scored 18 points, already her
12th double-digit scoringoutput
of the young season.
The team showed off some
newfound free-throw skills,
racking up a season-high 26
makes from the charity stripe,
while shooting 92.9 percent
from the line.
"We did a great job of getting
to the free-throw line," Barnes
Arico said. "We had to handle
some pressure and need to con-
tinue to get better at that, but we
did what we needed to do to be
successful."
The Wolverines' offensive
success has stemmed from its
offensive depth. Four different
scorers are averaging double
digits, including a pair of juniors
in guard Nicole Elmblad and
forward Cyesha Goree.
Despite losing the majority of
its scorers from last season, the
Wolverines are averaging 73.7
points per game, an increase
of 13.6 points from last season.
Additionally, Michigan leads

the Big Ten with a 47.3-percent
field-goal mark, good enough,
for a No. 12 ranking nationally.
Thursday's contest will be
the first of two between Michi-
gan and the Badgers this season,
with the Wolverines hoping to
prevail like they did last year
when they won, 54-53. Wis-
consin shot 100 percent from

the free throw line, so just like
against Ohio State, it will be
important to stay out of foul
trouble throughout the game.
Wisconsin will pose a sizable
threat at Crisler, but unless its
defense can pressure the Wol-
verines into causing turnovers
and missing shots from the
line. Michigan should have the

shooting power to overcome the
Badgers and keep a perfect Big
Ten record.
NOTES: The Wolverines
lead the Big Ten in field goal
percentage (47.3 percent). ...
Michigan is averaging 74 points
per game. ... Wisconsin has
committed 50 turnovers in its
last two games.

ALLISON FARRAND/Daily
Sophomoreguard Madison Ristovski, a question mark in the preseason, averages nearly 10 points per game.

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