Ann Arbor — To say Michigan senior Max Bielfeldt has played a bigger role this season would be an understatement. After playing in the shadows of Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford the past two seasons, Bielfeldt has emerged as one of the go-to guys off the bench.
With nine minutes tonight against Nebraska, Bielfeldt will have played more minutes this season than the previous two — combined. And, with freshman Ricky Doyle fighting an upper-respiratory infection, and redshirt freshman Mark Donnal struggling to find a niche in the mix, there's bound to be more time for Bielfeldt.
Bielfeldt, an undersized center at about 6-foot-7, had a career-best 18 points against Bucknell. He followed that with a career-high eight rebounds in 22 minutes against Rutgers and nine points and five rebounds against Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky last weekend.
"When you go up against a quality player like Kaminsky and the whole Wisconsin team and guys play well, it helps," Bielfeldt said.
"Then when you play guys that aren't No. 6 in the country, it's a back-of-the-mind confidence boost."
After redshirting, Bielfeldt was mostly a backup and was accustomed to playing on the scout team. And though Bielfeldt has seen an uptick in his playing time, he's still playing on the scout team, more out of necessity than a measure of merit.
"He has to ... with the other two guys, we would not have a scout team," coach John Beilein said. "They're learning our stuff; if they had to learn a different thing (it wouldn't work). He's seen it all and he's best. He's going to know it when he guards it because he just played it."
And, with co-captain Caris LeVert out for the season, Biefeldt has taken up some of the leadership as well.
"He's probably our best scrapper of the three," Beilein said.
Nebraska at Michigan
Tip-off: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Crisler Center, Ann Arbor
Records: Nebraska 12-7 (4-3 Big Ten), Michigan 12-8 (5-3)
Outlook: The Wolverines have won the last six over the Cornhuskers and lead the series 10-2. Michigan is 5-0 at Crisler Center. ... The Cornhuskers have won four of their last five games.