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Ann Arbor -- Nobody ever thinks Duncan Robinson is going to miss, especially from 3-point range.

So when he missed over, and over, and over again in Michigan's narrow, 74-69 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday, it caught everybody by surprise, from his fans to his coaches to his teammates.

"Yeah, we kind of joke, point and finger -- he's going to get fired!" Derrick Walton Jr. said, laughing. "We love him, he's our brother.

"He's probably kicking himself more than anybody. You can expect him shooting a couple hundred 3's tomorrow (Thursday)."

That sounds like a great plan, all this practicing.

But Michigan coach John Beilein isn't so sure.

Michigan had a rare off-day Monday, but Robinson still found his way into the Crisler Center gym. And you can bet he was planning on doing it again Thursday, another off-day.

Beilein, though, might have to step in.

"He's gotta pick his spots to practice," Beilein said. "They tell me how many 3's he makes before the game, it's like hundreds.

"He's gotta gauge that. One bad game doesn't make us change the thing very much.

"But he's just gotta be aware of the Big Ten season, the beating on his body. He's boxing out different people than he boxed out at (Division III) Williams, and it's going to take a toll.

"Conserve your off time."

Robinson was 3-for-10 on 3-pointers and 3-for-12 overall against Minnesota. On the season he is shooting a team-best 51.6 percent (64-of-124) on 3-pointers.

Beilein isn't just picking on Robinson, by the way. A lot of the Michigan players are practicing on off-days, and he'd like them to shut that down -- especially after seeing some, in his words, "dead-legged" play at times against Minnesota.

Robinson, a sophomore guard, shot about 60 percent on 3's in nonconference play, and was off to a decent start in the Big Ten.

But the last two games have not been great. He was 2-for-8 on 3's in a loss at Iowa, then had that 3-for-10 effort Wednesday, with many of those missing being wide-open looks that you'd expect him to make in his sleep.

It's tough to say if fatigue is becoming an issue, though most of the misses were just deep, potentially a sign it was just an off-night, not a trend.

In any event, it's all been a bit surprising, this mini-drought.

"Yeah, every time I see Duncan shoot, I think it's going in. We start running back," Zak Irvin said. "Everyone has an off-night.

"I know Duncan's a hard-working guy. He's gonna get back in the gym and get ready for Nebraska (on Saturday)."

Beilein just hopes he stays out of the gym on off-days, for a change.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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