Michigan's Glenn Robinson III tied his career-best output with 23 points in Wednesday's win over Nebraska. (John T. Greilick / Detroit News)
Ann Arbor — As a freshman, Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III was somewhat quiet and reserved. He played a secondary role last season while Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. had most of the spotlight and carried the Wolverines to the Final Four.
This season, Robinson was selected a co-captain and has a larger role off the court. But in Wednesday’s win over Nebraska, he made a much bigger statement, tying his career-best output with 23 points.
It’s one of the tangible results of Robinson’s work on his shooting mechanics and marked the third time this season he has scored 20 points or more. It also ended a streak of three straight games where he failed to score in double figures.
Robinson’s production (he’s averaging 12 points) is somewhat a barometer of Michigan’s fortunes — he’s scored 12 points or fewer in four of U-M’s five losses. The performance against the Cornhuskers got some special attention in the film session on Thursday.
“We are pumping that up because when he’s involved and he’s scoring, we’re a tough team to guard,” coach John Beilein said. “When he gets offensive rebounds — he had in each of last two times against Iowa — (it’s) get in there and get rebounds.
“We don’t get a lot of extra possessions because we’re not turning people over and we’re not getting that many offensive rebounds. For him to get them, it’s huge for us.”
With the Wolverines (17-5, 9-1 Big Ten) beginning a tough four-game stretch against the other four top teams in the standings, Robinson’s spike in confidence couldn’t come at a better time.
U-M could use another big performance from Robinson on Saturday against No. 17 Iowa (17-6, 6-4)
“He’s just being aggressive and he was knocking down shots. That’s key for him and his confidence moving forward; seeing the ball go in a couple times is good for him,” said Nik Stauskas. “For him, getting in the gym, getting extra shots up and seeing that ball go in multiple times, that’s key for him.
“It helps more when you see it going in during the game; hopefully, moving forward, that continues with him and he can ride off that game a little bit.”
Michigan has won 10 of the last 12 meetings with Iowa, with both losses coming at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Beilein said Robinson’s improvement is more than just mechanics, though. “
“He’s got to offensive rebound and drive the ball north-south more. There are a lot of things that he’s working on and he’s well aware of being more physical offensively,” Beilein said. “Defensively, that’s an issue for probably every young player; offensively he’s got to be more physical — he knows it and he’s trying it.”