The Michigan men”s basketball team has been inconsistent this season, to say the least. A four game winning streak is followed by a 20 point loss at Purdue. Another double-digit loss at Ohio State occurs in the same week as Michigan”s most exciting win of the year a 70-69 thriller at then-No. 14 Iowa.

Wednesday night, the Michigan wave crested once again, as it blew the 24th-ranked Hawkeyes right out of Crisler Arena in the first half, only to let them sneak back into the game and almost steal away the Wolverines” 95-85 victory. Michigan (4-8 Big Ten, 10-13 overall) shot 60 percent in the first half and scored 50 points but returned with a much more human 9-for-20 shooting performance in the second 20 minutes.

The question for the Wolverines has become how to maintain a high level of play on a regular basis.

“If I knew, I would coach,” junior forward Chris Young said. “But I don”t know how you get someone to get that type of energy going.”

With the second of four-straight home games at Crisler Arena tomorrow against Minnesota (4-8, 16-9), Michigan will get its chance to put together back-to-back Big Ten wins for the first time this season.

Depleted by NCAA sanctions and injuries, Minnesota will dress just eight scholarship players for tomorrow”s game. The Gophers began the season with 10 on the roster but season ending injuries to Mike Bauer and John-Blair Bickerstaff have crippled the team.

Minnesota has lost two straight since Bickerstaff broke his leg against Northwestern on Feb. 7.

But the Wolverines aren”t taking the Gophers lightly. Currently tied for ninth in the Big Ten, winning this game could mean the difference between playing a team like eighth-place Purdue or sixth-place No. 19 Wisconsin in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

To make matters more difficult, tomorrow night”s contest is the only meeting between these two teams in the regular season meaning neither knows very much about the other.

“We”re a little worried that we haven”t seen them up close,” Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe said. “We”re going to have to cram and watch an awful lot of tape on these guys.”

The other question for the Wolverines will be the status of freshmen Bernard Robinson and Maurice Searight. Although he dressed for the game, Searight did not play against Iowa. Robinson also did not start for the second-straight game.

Coming off the bench “was different, but what can I say, it”s the coach”s decision,” Robinson said. “Everything worked like it was supposed to, so I have no problem with it as long as we win.”

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