Nebraska head coach Tim Miles was disappointed in his team’s loss, but praised Michigan’s offense after the Wolverines walked out of Pinnacle Bank Arena with a double-digit victory.
Miles noted that the Huskers ‘probably deserved it’ when Walton hit a late three-pointer and explained how Michigan’s versatile pick-and-roll offense helped the Wolverines overpower the Huskers at the start of each half.
On what led to the loss
“I would say the start of each half is what really hurt us. They go nine possessions to start the game and get 18 points. Now, just remember this, our goal is less than one point per possession. So, they’re at nine (points per possession), we need ten straight stops to get back under one point per possession. Second half, it’s nine possessions, 21 points. Now you need 13 straight stops. You’re not going to get 23 straight stops against Michigan. We even talked amongst ourselves as coaches at halftime about (switching) our matchups. We didn’t like them. If I have a regret, it’s that. We also talked about handling the middle screen-and-roll a little differently, which we did, and what you saw there at the end, is when we started trapping it with two people on the ball. (Michigan guard Derrick) Walton is so good still being able to deliver a pass. A lot of people can’t do that. But we don’t have the length we used to, either, and so he’d deliver the ball and our ‘help’ man wasn’t in enough. What happened was, our guy was in, and then we made a sub, and then our sub didn’t quite get in and gave up a couple, and you don’t have the timeouts you used to, so you’re screaming at them while everybody else is screaming at the refs, and you’re trying to get them on the line between the ball and the post defender. So your positioning is in, but you’re playing it out. Anytime they did that, (Michigan) turned it over. They had three turnovers, but I bet we had four or five layups, so the risks didn’t pay off and there was no reward. We lost on that end.”
On how Nebraska was able to get back in the game
“I think our kids showed a lot of heart. They fought back. Unfortunately, we’ve lost a lot of games at home this year and they hate that. They want to do well for our fans and they want to win games. I think they just absolutely played with a lot of heart, because it wasn’t our best night. We were a little flat early. We didn’t share the ball. We didn’t get our offensive space where it should be, and then defensively, you can’t give up everything. We gave up 11 3’s, and then their centers got 20 points and they got 40 percent of their missed shots. They got eight offensive rebounds on 22 misses. That’s losing basketball.”
On responding to Wednesday night’s victory
“Anytime you play a team with as much skill and ability to execute like Michigan, you’ve got a lot of fear that could come to fruition. We’d addressed it with them in a real ‘matter-of-fact’ way, but I also don’t believe in the old scare tactic of ‘you guys are going to lose,’ that trick. I don’t know if that works with this generation, but I think it’s a different position for our team to be in. Michigan understands that we’d tie them in the standings if they lose and this is the only time we play them. So this is like a must-win, and an experienced team knows that. We talked about it with our guys where they’d be in the standings if they’d win and where they’d be if they lost. Michigan played really well. I think you have to complement them on how well they shot the ball early in each half, too, because that really got you skittish.”