John Beilein: "There’s no team in the Big Ten playing better than Nebraska right now, so we have our hands full on Wednesday.” (Michael Conroy / Associated Press)
Coming off an 8-0 month of January, Michigan took its first loss in its first game after the turn of the calendar.
U-M suffered its first Big Ten loss, falling to Indiana, 63-52, Sunday at Assembly Hall. But the Wolverines are going to have to recover quickly, with the second half of the conference schedule looming.
“We have to bounce back and we haven’t lost in a little bit so bouncing back is more difficult than people think sometimes when the losses hurt so much, because you’re not used to them,” coach John Beilein said on the Big Ten coaches teleconference on Monday.
“We have to bounce back today and tomorrow.”
Michigan (16-5, 8-1) faces Nebraska Wednesday at Crisler Center before playing at No. 17 Iowa Saturday.
The Cornhuskers (11-9, 3-5) are opening eyes in the tightly packed conference standings, winning three of their last four games — all at home, including victories over Ohio State, Minnesota and Indiana.
“There’s no team in the Big Ten playing better than Nebraska right now, so we have our hands full on Wednesday,” Beilein said.
“You look at who they played recently, Indiana just beat us, Ohio State is really good — Ohio State did not lose a non-conference game — and I think those are their last two games. They played very, very well.”
Beilein said the Wolverines studied the Indiana game video on Monday and would begin preparing for Nebraska today. Though the first conference loss stings, they’ll have to be ready for the Huskers, who are emblematic of the topsy-turvy upsets in the conference in the past few weeks.
With a young team, though, the loss could have a lingering effect, if they’re not ready to put it past them, something Beilein and his staff looked to address in team meetings.
“We expect them to get back on the horse and just keep learning,” Beilein said. “I think our staff does a great job of framing up these games so we can grow from them.”
Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell, who had 27 points against Michigan Sunday, drew praise from Beilein on his performance.
“A couple of the shots — ironically, I call them ‘Hardaway shots,’ not from Tim (Hardaway Jr.), but from his father — watching him just create his own shot,” Beilein said.
“It’s a dribble and a half type of move that I’d have to explain, but it’s tough to stay in front of him and stop a long-range jump shot because if you rise up, he’ll cross you and get in if you stay back.
“He created two or three of those. The game plan for them, create two or three of those and we created two or three of those. It was a combination of a lot of those.