As Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas level off, Michigan says fatigue can't be an excuse
The freshman wall.
For Michigan (21-3, 8-3), the wall seems to be finding its two most heavily-used freshmen in Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III.
After busting out of the gate as one of the hottest shooters in the country, Stauskas' 3-point percentage in Big Ten play now sits at just 36.4 percent. Robinson, meanwhile, seems to be feeling the impact of heavy minutes night in and night out, as he's averaging 37 minutes, 8.2 points and 4 rebounds in his last five games.
Robinson and Stauskas have both averaged more than 30 minutes per game through 24 contests this season, fatigue seems natural.
But it can't be an excuse.
"Everyone has the same amount of (games)," said Michigan sophomore point guard Trey Burke, who will lead the Wolverines into East Lansing on Tuesday for a date with Michigan State (9 p.m., ESPN). "Every other team in this league has the same amount of fatigue we do, we're all playing the same amount of games."
On Saturday at Wisconsin, it appeared noticeable.
Michigan coach John Beilein went out of his way to get Robinson rest during the first half, as he played just 11 minutes early after logging 81 of a possible 85 minutes in the team's previous two games.
But Robinson still didn't seem to have his trademark bounce.
He wasn't explosive on the fast break, he wasn't finishing above the rim and he finished with 4 points and 2 rebounds in 33 minutes.
Stauskas, meanwhile, has seen his shot level off in recent weeks -- and is now 5 of 15 from downtown in Michigan's last three games.
Against Wisconsin, he was 2 of 7 from the floor, 1 of 5 from 3-point range. He also has seven turnovers in Michigan's last two outings.
The only freshman that seems to be getting stronger as the season's dog days roll on is Mitch McGary, who didn't see nearly as many minutes as Robinson and Stauskas did through the first half of the year.
Robinson and Stauskas' presence on the floor as scorers is what gives Michigan the potential to go from a good team to a great team.
The Wolverines have two proven scorers in Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., who are still playing at a high level just about every night. But Robinson and Stauskas have the ability to give Michigan an elusive third and fourth scorer, when they're on.
Michigan still has every reason to believe both its youngsters will fight through the wall and regain their early-season form.
But in the meantime, Robinson and Stauskas have no other choice but to live, learn and suck it up.
"This stretch right now with three out of four on the road after five games in 13 days (is tough)," Beilein said. "Student-athletes today have a very difficult schedule.
"(Other teams) have to be fatigued, too."
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