2023-24 Season

Game 24: Michigan at Nebraska Recap

This was the fourth of (at least) six road games without Dug McDaniel, and I’m running out of things to say about the process, season, team, and program.

The situation continues to be more embarrassing than the actual on-court result. Not that trailing by 30 points in the first half in a conference game isn’t embarrassing, but the product on the floor is the culmination of a season that has gone entirely wrong.

Watching this group on the road is a reminder of everything that has gone sideways.

Michigan road games aren’t about how well the team performs; they are inevitable. That’s not an excuse; it’s an indictment of a roster and program that isn’t good enough to win road games in the Big Ten. A point guard who is suspended. A defense that isn’t close to good enough. And the realities of a roster that is broken from its top-down talent to its bottom-up habits.

Home games are still competitive fixtures where reasonable basketball discourse applies. Bad game plans, poor execution, shooting variance, ball screen coverages, all regular recap fodder is applicable. On the road, for this team, against any group with a pulse? It’s just about fast-forwarding through the inevitable.

You’d like to think that a gritty defensive performance would be able to keep Michigan in games, but the reality is that this is Michigan’s worst defensive team since Brian Ellerbee. The only path this group has to winning games is out-scoring people. Remember, this team has only won twice this season when it scores under 1.20 points per possession — a comically high number.

The defense is fundamentally broken, and has shown no signs of improvement, and a road game against a team that bombs threes isn’t the fix.

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