It was obvious against Indiana. Against Wisconsin, too.
It’s obvious if you look at the season stats, or at Bernard
Robinson’s numbers in the Big Ten season so far.

Laura Wong
Michigan wing Bernard Robinson has shot just three free throws since the start of the Big Ten season. (TONY DING/Daily)

Michigan has to get to the foul line more.

When the Wolverines take the floor against Iowa tonight,
they’ll be facing a team that has made 320 free throws this
year. Michigan has only attempted 323 all season. Coach Tommy
Amaker described that differential as “incredible.”

“I do think that we need to utilize the free throw line
better,” Amaker said. “Certainly, if we’re going
to have more success in our conference this year, we’re going
to need that.”

Without getting easy points at the stripe, the Wolverines have
struggled on offense. They are seventh in the Big Ten in scoring,
averaging 68 points per game. Add eight or 10 more points from the
charity stripe each night, and they’d be up near the top of
the league.

Without foul shots, Michigan’s offense comes and goes
based on how well the team shoots from the floor. And it can be
hard to drop in shots at a high percentage for an entire 40-minute
stretch.

In their home loss to Indiana, the Wolverines fell behind by 10
at halftime, shooting a frigid 28 percent and attempting zero foul
shots in the first 20 minutes.

Robinson, who handles the ball a lot for Michigan, has taken
only three foul shots in five Big Ten games. He led the team with
56 attempts during the non-conference season.

It’s something that he’s been very conscious of
lately, but has had trouble trying to overcome.

“I think it’s tougher when you try to go out there
and draw more fouls,” Robinson said. “I think a lot of
things go the other way (when you do that), which maybe has been my
downfall.”

Instead of trying to force a whistle, Robinson said that
he’s going to try and get back to playing his game.

Sophomore Lester Abram agreed that his team shouldn’t go
overboard trying to incite the refs.

“I’ll take whatever the defense gives me,”
Abram said. “I don’t have a mindset to just go to the
basket every time (to draw fouls). If I’m open for a jump
shot, I’m going to take it.”

The next offensive test is tonight against Iowa. It’s a
game that’s crucial to the Wolverines’ Big Ten title
hopes. Every home game down the stretch will be. A team can’t
win the conference title without defending its backyard, especially
if it’s trying to rise up from seventh place, like
Michigan.

“I don’t think we can lose any more home
games,” Abram said. “I think we let one slip away
against Indiana. It’s tough to win road games in the Big Ten,
so you have to take care of your home court.”

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