Michigan baskebtall’s defense might be the reason the Wolverines make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. It was on full display Friday in the Big Ten Tournament against Nebraska.
Michigan held the Huskers to a 30.2 percent field goal percentage in an 77-58 win at Madison Square Garden. The Wolverines’ stifling defense kept the Huskers — who were hoping to pad their NCAA Tournament resume — off-balanced throughout the game. Michigan jumped out to a 33-15 lead and forced Nebraska into a 1-for-20 shooting stretch in the first half.
The second win in as many days puts John Beilein’s team in Saturday’s semifinals against in-state rival Michigan State (2:00 ET, CBS). The Wolverines, who have won seven in a row, beat the Spartans in East Lansing on Jan. 13.
Michigan had the Big Ten’s best defense during the regular season. The team allowed just 63.6 points per game, the eighth-best mark in the country.
Nebraska, however, put up 72 points and shot 55.3 percent from the field in a 20-point win over Michigan during the regular season. The Husksers were just 4-for-16 on 3-pointers Friday. Michigan hit 11 of its 23 attempts from beyond the arc.
The Wolverines survived in overtime against Iowa on Thursday, but they thrived against Nebraska on Friday. They’re two wins away from a second straight Big Ten Tournament title.