Michigan banged up as it braces for Nebraska
Ann Arbor — Michigan coach John Beilein isn't one to play guessing games, but when he tries to figure out his starting lineup for Tuesday's game against Nebraska, he might have to do exactly that.
Because of a slew of nagging injuries and a quick turnaround from Saturday's loss to Wisconsin, there isn't much time to recover from the wear-and-tear of the conference grind. He hinted that the starting lineup and rotation are still to be decided, pending some health updates.
"I don't want to make excuses and give our opponents any advantage of knowing who could play and who might not play, but we're pretty banged up right now," Beilein said Monday. "We'll see what happens; everybody will have to wait for tomorrow at 7."
When asked if the changes could affect the starting lineup, Beilein added: "There could be."
Point guard Derrick Walton Jr. has been playing through a sprained toe but played 40 minutes in Saturday's overtime loss. Spike Albrecht, who has had issues with an upper-respiratory infection the past couple of weeks, played just eight minutes in the second half and Beilein said Albrecht still could be experiencing some difficulty in dealing with the illness.
Big man Ricky Doyle also has been slowed by the URI issues but saw more time Saturday. As the Wolverines (12-8, 5-3 Big Ten) are coming off an overtime game and getting into the dog days of the season with five freshmen getting extended play, there could be some fatigue issues as well.
"We have to bounce back from that and we put a lot of energy into that. Coming back on two days' rest is not as easy as you would think," Beilein said. "We did very little (Sunday), we're going to have a hopefully very short 90-minute practice today, watch some video and try to visualize what we have to do as opposed to most practices, where we are usually all to it and then we bounce back.
"We're a tired group right now and we're going to find a way to find energy in this game."
Nebraska at Michigan
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Crisler Center, Ann Arbor
Records: Michigan 12-8, 5-3 Big Ten; Nebraska 12-7, 4-3
Outlook: The Wolverines have won the last six against Nebraska and are 10-2 overall in the series, having never lost in five games at Crisler Center. The Huskers have one of the best defenses in the league and have won four of their last five games.