It was ugly, but No. 2 Michigan gets 'a great win' vs. Nebraska, per John Beilein
ANN ARBOR -- Just about everyone in attendance Wednesday left the building knowing they watched an ugly basketball game.
Michigan and Nebraska both looked sloppy. Both teams missed shots. Neither side ever had any type of sustainable momentum.
Not exactly a memorable game at first glance.
For John Beilein, though, it was quite the opposite. Not only was Wednesday's 62-47 win over Nebraska memorable, it was necessary.
"You may not believe this, but I thought that was a great win," Beilein said after his team shot a season-worst 38.7 percent to move to 16-0, 3-0 in Big Ten play. "You don't necessarily love coaching in them, but when you look back on them, these are the wins that build teams."
Against a relatively weak opponent, Michigan looked frustrated all evening long.
The Wolverines couldn't run, finishing with just two points in transition. They couldn't shoot (3 of 17 from 3) and they weren't able to shake Nebraska until the closing minutes of the game.
Michigan matched its best start in program history with a 16-0 record, but did so in ugly fashion in a game that didn't seem like much fun for anyone.
Well, except for Beilein.
"This was a great win, we had to grind one out," Beilein said with a smile. "My T-shirt is soaked right now and that's not what you like to do, I guess that's too much information. But that was difficult.
"At the same time, it was one that we needed to have."
And even though the victory came against an opponent many believe will finish at or near the bottom of the Big Ten standings this season, it did seem to serve as somewhat of a wakeup call for the players.
Michigan had blasted Northwestern and Iowa by 28 points in each of its first two Big Ten wins, without breaking a sweat.
There was no shortage of sweat after this one, and maybe that's not a bad thing.
"I think we needed this more than anything," Michigan point guard Trey Burke said. "Going into Ohio State on Sunday, and then to Minnesota (on Jan. 17), two tough road games, I think we definitely needed a game like this just to stay grounded.
"It'll help us get better. Nebraska's a good team, they came out and gave us all that they had."
Burke's right, Ohio State and Minnesota are different animals. And on the road, everything changes.
Shoot like that in Columbus, and Michigan's undefeated record will likely go out the window. Do the same at Minnesota, and another loss will probably be on the menu.
Beilein and company understand that, but they also know that they're going to have to grind at some point this season.
May as well learn that lesson now, because there's no promise that a historic start will produce a historic finish.
"That adversity is the good stuff," Beilein said. "In the long run."
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