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January 9, 2014
What To Watch For: U-M at Nebraska
The Wolverines are heading to Lincoln for a late tipoff (9 p.m. eastern) Thursday night.
1. Shooting: Home vs. Away
This season, there has been a significant dropoff in three-point shooting success away from the comfortable confines of Crisler Center.
Michigan has shot at least 23 three-point shots in all but two of its games away from home this season (13 attempts at Duke, 17 attempts at Minnesota), including a season-high 30 attempts in a win over Long Beach State in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic.
For comparison's sake, the Wolverines have attempted 23 or more three-point shots in just three of seven home games thus far, all comfortable wins (28 attempts vs. South Carolina State, 29 attempts vs. Coppin State, 26 attempts vs. Houston Baptist).
In fact, in the same number of away games as home games, the Wolverines have shot 12 more three-pointers and made 14 fewer three-pointers. At home, they're shooting 45.0 percent. On the road, that number dips to 33.1 percent.
Here are the numbers:
The Wolverines have shot at least 33.3 percent from long range in all but one home game (27.8 percent vs. UMass-Lowell), with a high of 61.5 percent against Houston Baptist.
In four of seven home games, Michigan has shot 44.4 percent or better from three-point range, including a 47.1-percent clip against No. 1 Arizona.
On the flip side, Michigan has shot better than 30 percent from behind the arc just three times on the road, in the same number of games.
In four games - three of which were losses - the team shot worse than 30 percent.
As the numbers suggest, Michigan seems to settle for worse shots or rush their offensive sets on the road.
Nebraska, which opened a brand new basketball arena (Pinnacle Bank Arena) this year, does not have the same raucous environment of Duke or Iowa State, but the Wolverines also struggled to shoot in neutral sites, like their game in Brooklyn against Stanford or at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic.
Michigan has to commit to smart shot selection - and make the ones it takes.
2. Defending Petteway
The Cornhuskers have received an immediate offensive bump from Texas Tech transfer Terran Petteway.
Last season, Nebraska ranked last in the Big Ten on scoring offense, averaging just 58.3 points per game.
This year, with Petteway lighting it up, the Cornhuskers are averaging 11.4 points per game more than they did last year, up to 69.7 - still not great, but definitely a step in the right direction.
Petteway ranks fifth in the Big Ten in scoring averaging 17.3 points per game:
Petteway is a very high-volume shooter. He has taken 181 field goal attempts this year, 58 more than anyone else on Nebraska's roster.
The Nebraska offense flows through him - and if Michigan can siphon off his attempts, as it did with Northwestern's Drew Crawford in the second half of last weekend's 74-51 win, it will be a very good sign.
That being said, Petteway isn't the most efficient shooter out there. He has hit 78-of-181 field goals (43.1 percent), but he is pretty good from behind the arc: 21-of-53 three-pointers (39.6 percent).